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Roger Wolfson J.D., M.A.

 

Roger Wolfson has risen to positions of prominence in the fields of entertainment, politics, news, and law. He is a professional television and film writer who has written for five network TV series. He currently runs a TV series on Crackle about the U.S. Embassy in Rome, and has sold eight original television series of his own, to studios including Sony, ABC, CBS, Universal Cable Productions, and A&E, and to networks including CBS, Bravo, and Lifetime. He has been staff for four U.S. Senators, written speeches for presidential candidates, been Vice President of Channel One News, founded his own strategic consulting firm, and worked as a civil rights attorney.

As a writer, Wolfson arrived in LA in January of 2003. By July he was a staff writer on Ed Zuckerman and Paul Attanasio's CBS series, "Century City," starring Viola Davis.  His episode, "To Know Her," became the first episode aired after the pilot. Wolfson then wrote for "Law and Order: SVU." During that time, he traveled across Ohio as a surrogate speaker for John Kerry's Presidential campaign. Wolfson went on to write for "The Closer,” where his episode "Fantasy Date" garnered Kyra Sedgewick her first Emmy Nomination. He went on to write for TNT'’s "Saving Grace,” starring Holly Hunter, and USA's “Fairly Legal.”

Wolfson has developed TV series with producers Neal Moritz, Dennis Leary, Charlize Theron, Meryl Poster, Peter Tolan, and “Heroes” creator Tim Kring.  He currently serves as speechwriter for Senators, presidential candidates, public figures, and CEOs. He has written speeches for the Democratic National Convention, for the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, for Ted Talks, and has written funding pitches for major corporations.

Wolfson's first political job after law school was on Senator Joe Lieberman's Governmental Affairs Subcommittee.  Next, Senator John Kerry made Wolfson the youngest Legislative Assistant he'd ever hired, and his first official speechwriter. Wolfson wrote or helped write dozens of speeches for Kerry, plus the first bill in Congress to outlaw cop-killer bullets, and multiple amendments to the Health Care Reform Act and the Welfare Reform Act. 

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Wolfson also wrote Kerry's amendments to the Rescissions Bill that successfully restored $14 million for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services and $100 million for the Safe and Drug Free Schools Program.  Wolfson managed Kerry's successful efforts to win $90 million of funding for Youthbuild. 

Wolfson then became Chief Education Counsel for Senator Paul Wellstone, which meant simultaneously serving as Labor Committee Staff for Senator Ted Kennedy.  Wolfson helped reauthorize virtually every major federal education law, from the $5 billion Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to the $12 billion Workforce Investment Act.  During consideration of the $52 billion Higher Education Act alone, Wolfson developed thirteen major amendments to the law.  He also wrote the first federal funding bill for Charter Schools.

At the age of 32, Wolfson left the Senate, as one of the few staffers ever to work for (at the time) the most prominent Liberal, Moderate, and Conservative Senators in the Democratic Party.  He has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, NBC, and AirAmerica, and has lectured to forty different major organizations, bar associations, unions, and think tanks.  He partnered with Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen and Oscar-nominated songwriter Bird York to create campaign ads.  During the 2006 Writers Guild elections, Wolfson was a strategist for the Writers United” slate of candidates for board, and subsequently volunteering to help media operations for the Guild during the 2007-8 strike.  He also was one of the earliest bloggers for the Huffington Post. 

As an attorney, Wolfson has worked for Littler, Mendelson, the largest labor law firm in the world, and Lieberman, Segalof, and Wolfson, the firm his mother and Senator Lieberman founded. At the time when he served as Vice President of Channel One News, it was the sole news program watched by a third of all American teenagers every school day.  Wolfson has also taught screenwriting at Johns Hopkins University. 

While earning his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Wolfson served as Associate Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Comparative Labor Law Journal.  He earned a Masters in Writing from Johns Hopkins and a Bachelors in Theater from Vassar, with highest academic honors.  He is a graduate of the WGA Showrunners Training Program, and a (currently inactive) member of the bars of New York, Connecticut, Washington, DC, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  

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While living on a ’42' Catamaran, which he sailed most of the way from New York to Los Angeles in 2003, Wolfson began offering a free series of lectures, salons, and concerts to the Los Angeles Community.  In 2011, he migrated those events to an amphitheater he built alongside his house.  The LA Times ran a front page, column one article about his events in June of 2013.

Since 2012, Wolfson has held a volunteer appointment in Mayor Eric Garcetti's administration, as Commissioner of Animal Services for Los Angeles

Gallery

 

  With Bernie Sanders

With Bernie Sanders

  With Senator Cory Booker

With Senator Cory Booker

  Guest speaker Comissioner Wolfson at NKLA's annual Super Adoption event

Guest speaker Comissioner Wolfson at NKLA's annual Super Adoption event

Wolfson speaks on Jay Kuhlman's Morning Beat NBC

  With Peter Eliasberg of the ACLU at the Pasadena Playhouse

With Peter Eliasberg of the ACLU at the Pasadena Playhouse

  Addressing all Senate Democratic Press Secretaries and Directors of Communication

Addressing all Senate Democratic Press Secretaries and Directors of Communication

  Wolfson with Beto O'Rourke

Wolfson with Beto O'Rourke

  Wolfson speaks on the Nutrition for Animal Companions panel at the 2018 Animal Rights National Conference

Wolfson speaks on the Nutrition for Animal Companions panel at the 2018 Animal Rights National Conference

  Wolfson judging Hollywood's annual Voice Awards

Wolfson judging Hollywood's annual Voice Awards

  Wolfson as judge and presenter at the annual Voice Awards

Wolfson as judge and presenter at the annual Voice Awards

  At the DNC with Vice-Chair Keith Ellison

At the DNC with Vice-Chair Keith Ellison

  At the Writers Guild of America Craft Retreat

At the Writers Guild of America Craft Retreat

  Wolfson challenging the Electoral College

Wolfson challenging the Electoral College

  Wolfson gives the opening speech for National Animal Rights Day,   2018 Los Angeles

Wolfson gives the opening speech for National Animal Rights Day, 2018 Los Angeles

  Wolfson with Beto O'Rourke

Wolfson with Beto O'Rourke

  Wolfson speaks on the Nutrition for Animal Companions panel at the 2018 Animal Rights National Conference

Wolfson speaks on the Nutrition for Animal Companions panel at the 2018 Animal Rights National Conference

 

Speaker & Pundit

 

Roger Wolfson has delivered political and policy speeches, legal and mediation-related speeches, entertainment-related speeches, spiritual and religious speeches, and motivational speeches. He has served as a surrogate speaker for the Kerry/Edwards Presidential campaign and several other campaigns, and has appeared live on MSNBC, CNN, Air America, and dozens of local affiliates speaking on numerous subjects.

 
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A few of his Speeches Delivered:

American Association of University Professors  

National Association of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselors

Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance

The National Coalition on Alcohol and other Drugs

The Committee for Education Funding

The Grantmaker Foundation on Community and National Service

The Direct Student Loans Association

The National Youth Leadership Forum (Multiple Keynote Addresses)

National Council of Educational Opportunity Associations

The Education Trust

Federation for Clinical Social Work

The Washington Institute for Jewish Leadership

Close-up Foundation

Presidential Classroom

The U.S. Center for Civic Education's We The People National Finals (as a Judge)

The Leadership Institute (As Temporary Faculty)

The Congressional Young Leaders Council (Multiple Keynote Addresses)

The George Washington University College Democrats

The George Washington University Young Republicans

The American Political Science Association 

The National Association of Partnerships in Education

The National Jewish Democratic Council

The George Washington University School of Law

The George Washington University Hillel

The Mickey Leland Hunger Fellowship Program

The District of Columbia Bar Association

The University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

The Southern California Mediation Association  

The Actors Network

Speechwriter

 

Roger Wolfson has served as a full time speechwriter for sitting US Senators, and a part-time speechwriter for candidates at every level of politics, from state representatives to Governors to US Presidents to heads of foreign nations.  

He has written and revised stump speeches, policy announcements, and national party convention speeches. He has also written commencement addresses for public figures and major speeches for corporate CEOs. He considers every opportunity to address a public audience to be a sacred trust, and is honored to help politicians and individuals connect to their greatest sources of inspiration. He brings to this craft a level of involvement in both politics and entertainment that is matched by few. 

Because most of his work in this arena has been confidential, no testimonials are available here. His credentials are presentable upon request.

 
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Writing Instructor

 

Roger Wolfson, from time to time, takes on writing clients who he believes have enough promise and enough drive to succeed. As his commitment to the Los Angeles community and to the power of the field of entertainment are evident, his goal is to help writers not only find their most authentic voice, but to create features, pilots, spec scripts, and pitches that reflect the very best of what Hollywood represents.   

Because of his Masters from Johns Hopkins in Writing, he is also available to provide guidance on short stories, novels, and non-fiction.

“Having studied with Roger, I cannot recommend him highly enough. He offers a master class that will get you to do the best writing of your life. His no-holds-barred sessions will help you shake bad habits, tune-up fundamental skills and include wisdom you will not find in any classes or screenwriting books. And when you are struggling, you will be fueled by his unyielding passion and high standards.”
— Darren Bernstein, former litigator at Skadden Arps, former White Collar Investigative Counsel for Lehman Brothers
“Roger Wolfson lives by his principles. When he is passionate or excited about a political cause or a performer, he invites everyone he knows to his home to discuss the cause or share in the wonder of the performance. And he does it for free! As a writing consultant, in addition to helping a writer refine his or her craft, Roger has a bigger goal which I applaud: to encourage writers to create commercial entertainments that also SAY something. There is nothing more rewarding for the writer, and nothing more enriching for us.”
— Tom Schulman, Academy-Award screenwriter of Dead Poets Society, Former Vice President of the Writers Guild
“Roger Wolfson is one of my favorite people to practice a killer pitch on or share new scripts with for a fresh eye on your work. He’s insightful, honest and understands the process of what people want to hear and see.”
— Deborah M. Pratt, executive producer and showrunner of the TV series The Net (USA Network) and Quantum Leap (NBC)
“I’ve been writing for 20 years, and I still run every script I write by Roger Wolfson. He’s a seasoned scribe who not only knows all the tricks, he knows how to articulate them in a way that sticks. Writers new and experienced would benefit from his guidance.”
— Aaron Mendelsohn, writer of the Air Bud series of movies, former Member of the Writers Guild Board of Directors
“Before I met Roger, I was confident in how to write, but I lacked a reason why I should write. I used to pursue whatever high concept ideas came to mind, but Roger taught me to unearth an emotional core, a thesis that I wanted to prove, and then he showed me how to turn that into a standout story. Roger didn’t accept anything less than the most emotionally resonant idea I had. Along each step of the writing process, he was there to guide me back to my original intention whenever I digressed and to challenge me to write the best story I was capable of.”
— Clay Prietch, Recent College Graduate and Screenwriter
“Roger’s evaluations are pointed, concise and coupled with suggested solutions. He responds with breathtaking speed without diminishing the merit of his commentary. His focus is clear: inducing the writer to produce a commercially viable script. And unlike most consultants who aver without hesitancy and without practical experience, Roger has the street cred to validate his opinions.”
— Dr. Michael Madden, Clinical Director of the New York Hospital-Cornell Burn Center, Author of "The Seesaw Syndrome"
 
 

Events

 

For almost two decades, Roger has hosted salons on art history, philosophy of the mind, futurism, documentary film making, war correspondents, handwriting analysis, eastern v. western medicine, poetry, the history of jazz, the charter school movement, the high school of the recording arts, running for state office, running for U.S. Senate, running for president, how to live longer, the world according to china, how to be interviewed by the press, and the making and playing of didgeridoos. We've heard from speakers such as the Muslim Chaplain to Guantanamo Bay, documentarian Robert Greenwald, LA City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, former District Attorney Gil Garcetti, and United States Senators Maria Cantwell and Mark Dayton.

The salons have been held at private homes, outdoors at Burton Chace Park, and at the Craft and Folk Arts Museum. Since moving from his sailboat into a house, and subsequently building a movie theater inside the house and landscaping his backyard to resemble a Roman-styled Amphitheater, Roger has moved some of these events to his home. He has held full performances of Shakespeare plays, screenings of cutting-edge documentaries like "Rock the Boat" (about the LA River) and "Dumbstruck" (about the world of ventriloquism). His events have been dedicated to providing local forms of expression and exchange in the Los Angeles community and beyond.  

After the LA Times ran a front-page, column one article about the gatherings, unfortunately, Roger has had to close the guest list and reduce the number of events at his own home.  However, he still holds some of the larger events in alternate venues. 

If you are interested in learning about these gatherings, attending them, performing/lecturing at them, or hosting them, please email and introduce yourself!

Links

Los Angeles Times Article: Amphitheater, Performers, Audience in a Silver Lake Backyard

Impresario Roger Wolfson Brings DIY Theater to L.A. 

Everyone's Cool With Silver Laker's Backyard Amphitheater

 
 Roger moderates a discussion between Mitch O'Farrell and John Choi, candidates for City Council

Roger moderates a discussion between Mitch O'Farrell and John Choi, candidates for City Council

 Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson

 Glee's Stephen Tobolowky at KCRW's Strangers

Glee's Stephen Tobolowky at KCRW's Strangers

 Singer Nadine Risha

Singer Nadine Risha

 Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance Reform

 "Magnolia Memoir"

"Magnolia Memoir"

 "Much Ado About Nothing"

"Much Ado About Nothing"

 "The Taming of the Shrew"

"The Taming of the Shrew"

 Steven Wise of the NonHuman Rights Project

Steven Wise of the NonHuman Rights Project

 Jazz At Sunset

Jazz At Sunset

 Actors taking a bow following a performance of "The Taming of the Shrew"

Actors taking a bow following a performance of "The Taming of the Shrew"

 A production of "The Taming of the Shrew"

A production of "The Taming of the Shrew"

 Outdoor screening of "Dumbstruck" followed by Q&A with filmmakers Mark & Lindsay Goffman

Outdoor screening of "Dumbstruck" followed by Q&A with filmmakers Mark & Lindsay Goffman

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