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The odds of a pilot script being sold and produced are incredibly small. What if you absolutely must see your story come to life? This week we meet Corinna Mendis, who despite having no film schooling or previous experience, independently produced and shot her own spec pilot!

Corinna Mendis, a native New Yorker, grew up wanting to become an actress. When her parents threatened to cut her off, she put creative pursuits on a shelf, and dug herself in to university studies. Two bachelor’s degrees and two Master’s degrees later, she found she couldn’t stop writing, especially about the trials and tribulations of the homeless population at a homeless center she volunteered at in Long Island, New York.

She pursued books, classes, seminars, and any resource she could find, to learn about the television writing process, including classes with Larry Brody, author of Television Writing from the Inside Out.

Rather than try to sell her pilot in script form, Corinna decided to produce it herself! With Larry’s encouragement and support, she spent $25,000 of her own money to produce “Not In My Neighborhood,” a single camera half hour TV pilot shot in the same homeless shelter where she volunteered.

Corinna learned a tremendous amount in the process… so much so, that she encourages anyone who is currently thinking about film school to consider instead following in her footsteps, and learning through doing.

The entire pilot “Not In My Neighborhood” is available online: CLICK HERE

Or, you can see a trailer for it here: CLICK HERE

Corinna’s Twitter: @CorinnaMendis

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Author: Gray Jones

Graham “Gray” Jones is a seasoned TV editor/writer located in Valencia, California (on the northern outskirts of LA). He has an honors Screenwriting BFA from York University, where he graduated with distinction in 1994.

He hosted one of the world’s leading TV-themed podcasts, "Chuck vs. the Podcast," about NBC’s Chuck, and currently hosts the "TV Writer Podcast," in partnership with Script Magazine.

He runs several companies, including,, and Check them out!