NEXT @ The Braid Arts Council Fellows 2021-22

Creators of Uncovered

andrew-fromer150x150ANDREW FROMER is a Los Angeles native and grew up as an active member in the Jewish community through Stephen S. Wise Temple. He attended Windward School in Mar Vista, where his acting career began in plays and musicals. After completing his BFA in theater at UC Santa Barbara and an exciting year of living in Israel, Andrew took a dive into filmmaking and has since branched into production by helping prepare for distribution two feature films he has acted in: AMP Creative’s Highway to Havasu (dir. Jeff Janke) and Mockingbird Pictures’ The Sweet Life (dir. Rob Spera). Andrew also edits, directs, and hosts his own podcast on the entertainment industry, SideKickBack Radio, which can be found at He is very excited to be on board for an exciting year with NEXT@theBraid.

VANESSA BLOOM is an emerging writer, educator, and content creator from Orange County, California. Adopted from China in 1999, she grew up in a lively multi-faith family that is steeped in story. Vanessa followed her love of storytelling to college, where she majored in History at CSU Long Beach. While receiving her B.A., she joined the school’s Film Club where she wrote scripts and worked on productions. Upon graduation, Vanessa was hired as an L.A. production assistant. She also directed a documentary-short on The Bolsa Chica Land Trust. More recently, Vanessa reconnected with her Jewish familial background as a cast member of the web series LUNAR: The Jewish Asian Film Project. Additionally, she has served as a mentor for several academic programs reaching high school and middle schoolers. Finally, Vanessa is currently writing a comedy script celebrating her multi-cultural outlook and belief that stories and laughter connect the world.


ARIELLA BLUM-LEMBERG is a writer who graduated with her MFA in screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University in the Spring of 2022. She previously received her BA in English from UCLA, where she participated in HOOLIGAN Theatre Company as the director of the 2019 mainstage winter musical Fame and as a writer/director in three consecutive one act play festivals. Recently, her short play The Man and the Match was a finalist in the Full Circle Player’s New Works Festival. Ariella’s writing is largely inspired by her passion for history and literature. To connect with her Jewish heritage, Ariella began studying Yiddish to explore to the rich history of Yiddish film and theater.

TALYA CAMRAS, a stage manager, is thrilled to be making her debut as a director. She graduated from California Lutheran University with a B.A. in communication and a minor in technical theatre. She has worked with The Braid as a stage manager for Family Matters, Crossing our Red Sea, The Rest is History, and Sweet Tea & the Southern Jew. Other stage management credits include: She Kills Monsters, Measure for Measure, columbinus (KCACTF), The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and SpongeBob the Musical. Talya loves working with The Braid and is so grateful to have been a part of this team!


LEE HANNAH CONRADS (she/they) is a LA-based theater director, raised and trained in the Midwest, whose productions ask big questions, wrestle with paradox, and stage impossible things. Previous directing credits include Roots, an evening of one-acts (Theater of Note), Vinegar Tom, Three Sisters, and The Burial at Thebes (Northwestern University), If We Were Birds and The Naked I: Insides Out (20% Theatre Company Twin Cities), Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (Carleton College), No Exit, Medea and Winter House (The Amber Bastards), as well as assistant directing credits in Chicago at Steppenwolf and Northlight, in Minneapolis at Ten Thousand Things, Mixed Blood, and the Playwright’s Center, and in New York at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Lee holds a BA from Carleton College and an MFA from Northwestern University.


daphna-shull150x150DAPHNA SHULL is a three-time NEXT Arts Council Fellow, literary manager, and writer, born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She received her bachelor’s degree in media production from Florida State University and recently self-published The Quiet Things, an illustrated, original screenplay on Amazon. Daphna works as JWT’s Artistic Associate and as a museum educator for the Zimmer Children’s Museum.

LEILAH FRANKLIN studied Theater at Bard College and at the Acting Conservatory at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. Having grown up on film sets, she went into production as a PA on large productions such as Oblivion starring Tom Cruise and Gangster Squad with Ryan Gosling. As an Associate Producer, Leilah helped manage production and coordinate marketing for the animated short The Birds and The Bees starring Anjelica Huston, Hassan Minhaj, and Sean Astin. She likes working in fast paced collaborative settings and dealing in material seeks to question.


ZOË MANN is from New York City and moved to Los Angeles to study Writing and Producing for Television at Loyola Marymount University’s graduate program. In NYC, Zoë was an actor and attended the Lee Strasberg Institute and the Professional Performing Arts high school. For college, Zoë ended up exploring a different career path at Pace University where she graduated with a BA in Art History. Thinking she was going to become the next female Indiana Jones and study towards a Master’s degree in Archeology, Zoë found herself missing the performing arts and after finding out that it can be 75 degrees in November, Zoë made it her mission to go to graduate film school in LA. After she achieves her Master’s in May 2022, Zoë hopes to work in television development. Zoë’s first love was in small black box theaters in New York and she is honored to be a part of the NEXT program.


MAKENA METZ (she/her) is an LA native who writes fantasy, sci-fi, and magical realism for the page, screen, and stage. She is getting her MFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University and is a proud member of DGA, ASCAP, and the SCL. Recently, Makena’s play Falling Apart While Learning to Cook (A Recipe for an Empty Nest) was selected for a reading in Unstaged Podcast’s Season 3. This past year, her 1 act musical revue Variations on a Theme (Park) premiered digitally in the IAMT 1 Act Showcase and her short pandemic musical Threesome was selected for the 2021 Virtual New York Equity Library Theatre Summer Festival. Makena is an alum of the Institute for American Musical Theatre (IAMT) Creators Program and New Musical Inc’s CORE Curriculum for Musical Theatre Writing. Follow her on twitter or instagram @MakenaMetz, FB @makenametzwrites, and find her work on Coverfly or NPX!