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Claudia Johnson

Affiliated Divisions:

John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television

Writer/Director Claudia Johnson’s documentary feature, The Other Side of Silence: The Untold Story of Ruby McCollum, won Best Florida Documentary at the 2012 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival and the Gold Jury Prize at Seattle’s 2013 Social Justice Film Festival. She and her writing partner, Matt Stevens, wrote the feature adaptation, Ruby, optioned by Invitation Entertainment with Blair Underwood attached as actor/producer.

Claudia is the author of the widely adopted textbook Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect, now in its 4th edition, and co-author (with Matt Stevens) of the first book about the art of collaborative screenwriting, Script Partners: The Secrets of Their Success (And Yours). The 2nd ed. is forthcoming in 2016 from Focal Press.

A nationally recognized advocate for free speech, she received a Pulitzer nomination for her memoir Stifled Laughter: One Woman's Story About Fighting Censorship, which chronicles her five-year-long battle to reinstate literary classics to the classrooms of rural North Florida. She was awarded the inaugural PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award, “presented annually to a U.S. resident who has courageously fought, in the face of adversity, to safeguard the First Amendment right to freedom of expression as it applies to the written word wherever it may be threatened.”

She received her M.A. in literature from U.C. Berkeley, her M.A.in folklore from Indiana University, and her Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from Florida State University.

A longtime member of the WGA, she is also a member of the founding faculty of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts, where she taught screenwriting for 20 years. She now teaches screenwriting in the Writing for Screen & Television program at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.