TV Writer Contest

Behind the scenes of Memory Lane week 1


Winner of the TV writer contest – Rachel Taenzler


Rachel Taenzler is a writer and a comedian. Pre-pandemic, she performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and with their touring company. She was a finalist in the 2020 PAGE Awards with her comedy pilot “Unlisted.” She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her boyfriend and a life-size cardboard cut-out of Jeff Probst.

We sat down with the winner of the first Mad Wife Productions TV writer contest Rachel Taenzler to ask about her career, screenwriting journey and Memory Lane.


  1. Rachel you won the TV writer contest to earn a writing spot on Memory Lane. We would like to know a bit more about you. Can you summarize your screenwriting career up to the point you won the contest?

Rachel: I’m a comedy writer based in Brooklyn. I trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NY, and I’ve written several pilots as well as screenplays and spec scripts. Prior to this contest, I was really working on making my portfolio as strong as possible.

  1. Have you attended film school or other educational programs for screenwriters?

Rachel: I did not go to film school. I studied creative writing at NYU, but I didn’t learn screenwriting until after college. I’ve been very fortunate to work with several great pilot-writing teachers.

  1. What inspires you to write?

Rachel: Writing is how I process the world around me. As a comedian, and especially as an improviser, your brain gets wired to pick up on strange little things you notice day-to-day, and writing allows me to wrangle all those things together.

  1. Do you have a specific genre you write in or are open to all genres?

Rachel: I love writing comedy. The script I submitted to this contest is a flat-out comedy about a floundering actress. However I’m open to all genres, for sure. I’m interested in writing fully formed people, especially women–the funny, the sad, and everything in between.

  1. If you could name one film or TV series you wished you had written, what is it and why?

Rachel: Eighth Grade, written and directed by Bo Burnham. It’s such a naturalistic coming-of-age story, and both the comedy and drama are so rooted in reality. Also I’m going to throw in When Harry Met Sally, because it’s a perfect script.

  1. Considering other screenwriters or filmmakers, who inspires you the most?

Rachel: Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle are really doing something incredible with PEN15. It’s so funny and smart and incredibly real. I’m also really inspired by Michael Schur, who allows his comedies to have heart while still being super freaking silly and funny. One day, I’ll write an Infinite Jest spec script for him. It’ll be 400 pages long.

  1. Will Memory Lane be your first produced credit?

Rachel: It will!

  1. Why did you submit to the contest and what does winning the contest mean to you?

Rachel: I’ve been submitting to screenplay contests for a few years. This one stood out because the prize involves a pilot actually being produced. Winning it was such a dream, and I can’t believe I’m going to get to see a script I wrote get filmed, and so quickly!

  1. How do you hope this will propel your screenwriting career?

Rachel: I hope this is just the beginning for me. My ultimate goal is to write for television, and I am currently seeking representation.

  1. Being the recipient of this award and being hired to write the pilot episode of Memory Lane, what do you want to say to other writers who are considering submitting their screenplay to other Mad Wife Productions contests?

Rachel: Do it! It was great working with MJ and the Mad Wife Productions team, and it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day.


Memory Lane will go to production on May 8, 2021. Mad Wife Productions is looking for the next undiscovered screenwriter by partnering with Reno-Tahoe Screenwriting Contest. The winner of the short script contest will get their script produced and the winners of the feature and TV pilot contest will get proof of concept scenes produced:

Finalists (in alphabetical order):

Cam Bros by Chelsea Hazzard

Charity Is Dead by Aaron Easterbrooks

Dark Matter by Olga Holtz

Filmi by Proma Khosla

Willowwood by Christopher Locke

Congratulations to our winner Rachel. She will be writing the pilot episode of Memory Lane. Stay tuned for an interview with Rachel to share her experience. Thank you to everyone who entered!

We have more opportunities coming this year to become a produced writer!



The semi-finalists of the TV writer contest!

(in alphabetical order)

A Darker Shade of Blonde by Jennifer Snow

Assisted Living it UP by Amanda O’Connor

Cam Bros by Chelsea Hazzard

Charity Is Dead by Aaron Easterbrooks

Dark Matter by Olga Holtz

Dreamer by Jordan Bonn

Filmi by Proma Khosla

Fly Times by Justin Bellow

Into the Fire by Adam Fidler

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: “The Gang Makes a Porno”    by Jay Servedio

Jerusalem by Michael Fine

Kidney Beans by Paul Skinner

Playing the Palace by Alex Williams

Safe Harbour by Jon Smith & Ian Masters

Strangers in the Night by Randy Vampotic

The Fairy Knight – Pilot by Samuel Tracton

The Wild by Corinna Jill

Total Witches by Christine Lawless

Unlisted by Rachel Taenzler

Willowwood by Christopher Locke

The 5 Finalists and the Winner will be announced soon!

Mad Wife Productions is out to find the next big TV writer!

  • The winner will be hired to write the pilot episode of a new half-hour TV show called Memory Lane that goes to production in May 2021 and will be filmed in Reno, Nevada.
  • Justine Reyes from Tru Talent Agency is the casting agent for the show.
  • The winner will work with the producer and creator of the show to write the first draft of the pilot screenplay based on an existing outline.
  • Memory Lane is a dramedy that centers around Joanna Lane, a director of a retirement community, as well as the residents and employees as they live their daily lives in a community that is anything but retired.

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