July 6, 2022

SCA Alumnus Prentice Penny is Giving Back!

By Benjamin Pola

Emmy-nominated producer, writer, director, and SCA alumnus, Prentice Penny ‘95 returns to SCA to help usher a new wave of writers of color into the entertainment industry. Under his multimedia production company, A Penny For Your Thoughts Entertainment, Penny has launched The First Up program, which aims to give BIPOC writers from SCA a unique opportunity to develop their skills as professional writers.
The First Up will begin in the summer of 2022, with three SCA students of color who are in their final year of their undergraduate or graduate studies selected to participate in the year-long program. Students are not required to be enrolled in classes in the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television to apply, but should have the goal of entering the industry as a professional writer.
The program is designed to provide BIPOC writers with opportunities to have their work seen and to gain real-world work experience. The selected students will work directly with executives from A Penny For Your Thoughts Entertainment to develop an original film or TV project, navigating all stages of the development process along the way.
The program will culminate in pitches to networks and studios through Penny’s overall deal at Disney/Onyx Collective which includes all the subsidiaries under the Disney umbrella including Hulu, FX, Disney Plus, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, ABC, Fox, ESPN, Fox Searchlight, National Geographic, and 20th Television.
In addition to running The First Up program, Penny will also create a database for participating students’ work, similar to Franklin Leonard’s “Blacklist,” which will allow agents, managers, showrunners, and executives to access the projects.


Candidates must be a student of color in their final year of their undergraduate or graduate program at the School of Cinematic Arts with an anticipated graduation date of December 2022 or May 2023.


Applicants must submit a PDF of their writing sample (TV half-hour, TV hour-long, or feature-length screenplay) no later than August 1st, 2022 to: ApfytFirstUp@gmail.com

Please put your Name, Program, Graduating Year, and Name of Sample in the subject line.


Students will be notified if they’ve made it to the next round of the application process by August 10th, 2022.

If your submitted sample is selected for the next round, the applicant will pre-record a 5-minute or less pitch of their show idea. Students need to submit videos no later than August 17th, 2022.

The pitch should include the following: premise, tone, characters, arc, and how they see the series. Please note if the student desires, they can submit their pre-recorded video when they submit their writing sample.

Applicants will know if they are selected to participate in the program by August 24th, 2022.