Award-winning writer-producer Michael J. Weithorn co-created and served as Executive Producer on the hit TV show “The King of Queens.” Prior to that Weithorn created and executive produced the sitcom “Ned & Stacey,” which ran for two seasons from 1995-97. With Ralph Farquhar, Weithorn created and executive produced “South Central,” an edgy, dramatic half-hour which aired to great acclaim in the spring of 1994. Additionally, Weithorn served as Creator and Executive Producer of the Twentieth Television sitcom “True Colors” from 1990-92.
Weithorn’s writing credits include several sketches for “The Tracey Ullman Show.” He also penned an episode of “The Wonder Years,” an effort that earned the writer-producer an Emmy nomination. Upon the formation of Weithorn’s production company, Hanley Productions, with Twentieth Century Fox, he wrote and produced “The Pursuit of Happiness,” which aired in 1987.
Beginning as a Story Editor and advancing to Supervising Producer, Weithorn spent four years on the hit series “Family Ties.” He received three Emmy Award nominations for producing the hit television series and another Emmy nomination for writing the two-part 1985-86 season premiere, entitled “The Real Thing,” during his tenure with the show.
Winner of the 1984 Writers Guild of America Award for an episode of “Cheers,” Weithorn has always been driven to succeed as a comedy writer. After teaching history at the Brentwood School, Weithorn began his writing career taking a position as Story Editor for the sitcom “Making the Grade.”
A native of Port Washington, New York, Weithorn earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
Secret Handshake Entertainment was founded in 2007 by media professionals Dena Hysell and Joe Gressis. Since its inception, the company has worked on award winning projects for multiple outlets. They are currently in post production on their next feature, HOME RUN SHOWDOWN, directed by Oz Scott and starring Matthew Lillard, Dean Cain, Barry Bostwick and Annabeth Gish. The pilot for Tony Millionaire’s Drinky Crow, on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, premiered to an enormous viewer response and was picked up for 10 episodes. As a company they have done 9 animated series for various outlets including Comedy Central, Fox and Adult Swim. They completed 8 episodes of the privately funded reality show America’s Hottest Honey: The Search for the Next Video Vixen. They are also currently packaging a reality show around acclaimed entrepreneur and chef Kathy Casey and have completed post-production on the pilot of the compelling reality show entitled The Amateur Millionaire’s Club.
(Producer, Principal at Secret Handshake)
Dena Hysell has successfully run multiple entertainment companies, inside the studio system and independently. After beginning her career at Gold Circle Films (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and “White Noise”), she decided to jump to a position that combined her creative and production skills. She moved on to run Just Singer Entertainment (principles Sheri Singer and Steve White). In this capacity, she sourced and brought from concept to completion movies for Disney’s specific mandate including such projects as “Halloweentown 1-3,” “Read It and Weep,” “Cow Belles,” “Go Figure,” and “Now You See It.”
In addition, she worked on the SoapNet’s flagship series “One Minute Soaps.” She then ran the feature side of Slate of Eight, LLC (principle Alan Jacobs; “American Gun,” “Nina Takes a Lover”), where she developed a dozen viable film projects in budget ranges from 3 million to 80 million. Her feature project “Down for Life,” starring Danny Glover and Snoop Dogg, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009, and released theatrically January 2011 to the highest per screen averages that weekend for any limited release. She attended Stanford University (BA, MFA), served on the Board of Directors for Stanford in Entertainment for two years, and was named a 2009 Stanton Scholar and artist representative for The Aspen Institute’s Socrates Seminar on the relationship between business and government. is a graduate (BA, MFA) of Stanford University, served on the Board of Directors for Stanford in Entertainment for two years, and was named a 2009 Stanton Scholar and artist representative for The Aspen Institute’s Socrates Seminar on the relationship between business and government.
(Editor, Producer, Principal at Secret Handshake)
Joe Gressis is a three time Emmy-nominated editor and producer and an award-winning
filmmaker and screenwriter. He has produced and edited pieces for the likes of Cale Boyter, (“A History of Violence,” “Elf,” “The Butterfly Effect,” and many more), Mark Wolper (Penn & Teller “Bullshit,” and “Helter Skelter”), Angus Oblong (“The Oblongs”), Spike TV, Comedy Central, and National Lampoon’s Comedy Night School. He has edited made for TV films (“In the Net,” “The Movement,” “Skin Complex”) that appeared nationally on PAX TV and on selected ABC stations.
He has also produced short and feature documentaries for The Children’s Defense Fund, The Library of Congress, Time-Warner, and the Issues Channel. His short films have won or been official selections of festivals such as the HBO / US Comedy Arts, Montreal, Just for Laughs, Seattle International FF, Palm Springs FF, Palm Springs International FF, San Francisco Gay and Lesbian FF, Seattle Lesbian & Gay FF, the San Francisco Black Film Festival, the Flickering Image Film Festival, Tromadance, Dragoncon Short Film Festival, and the Rehoboth Beach Film Festival.
Glen Trotiner entered the film business by being accepted into the Directors Guild of American Training Program. During the two years, he apprenticed on movies directed by Sidney Lumet, Michael Apted, and Gene Saks. He was hired right out of the Training Program as an Assistant Director on Brian DePalma’s classic film “The Untouchables.” He has since gone on to be the right hand of several A-list Directors, working as their First A.D. on films of all budget levels, set all over the world. He has also helped Produce several independent films, including “Bella,” which received the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival, and “Bernard and Doris,” for which he was nominated for the DGA award. He is proud to add A LITTLE HELP to that list.
He makes his home in New York City, and, even though he still keeps those crazy production hours, he also now serves on the Board of Trustees of the very Training Program that gave him his “showbiz” break.
Austin Wintory began his obsession with film scoring back when he was ten years old, when he discovered Jerry Goldsmith’s scores to “Patton” and “A Patch of Blue.” Now, his obsession having mutated into a career of his own, his scores can be heard in more than 200 productions, including over twenty feature films, such as 2009’s Sundance hit “Grace.” He’s also scored a handful of video games, including the widely acclaimed Playstation-3 game “Flow,” for which Austin received a British Academy Award nomination. In 2008, “Captain Abu Raed,” the world’s first Jordanian film, won the Audience Award at Sundance; Austin’s score was shortlisted as a contender for the 2009 Academy Awards for Best Original Score, and also won him a Hollywood Music Award for Best New Composer. In summer 2009, Hollywood Reporter listed Austin as one of 15 composers “Primed to take their place on the A-list.”
Based in Vancouver and Los Angeles, Thomas M. Harting, CSC has been a Director of
Photography for features and television projects since 1989. His international resume includes features lensed in Europe, Africa, Asia, Canada, and the U.S. His work has been seen at the Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, South by Southwest, and Seattle film festivals, and he has earned over 20 awards, including an Emmy. He is a member of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers (CSC).
Recent feature work has included “3 Needles,” starring Lucy Liu, Chloe Sevigny, Stockard Channing, and Shawn Ashmore (“X-Men”). It was shot in Thailand, South Africa, and Montreal. The film was directed by Thom Fitzgerald with whom Tom has collaborated with four times, including “The Wild Dogs” and “The Event,” starring Olympia Dukakis, Sarah Polley, and Parker Posey. In addition, Tom photographed “Mojave” in New Mexico, starring Rider Strong (“Cabin Fever”) and Erik Christen Olsen (“Dumb and Dumberer”). “Mojave” is an homage to “Deliverance” with a younger, up and coming hip cast. Other notable titles include the indie features “Looking For Sunday” and “Damage,” and the television MOW’s “In God’s Country” with Kelly Rowan and “The Robber Bride,” starring Mary Louise Parker (“Weeds”).
Tom also lensed the PBS documentary “Blink,” about an ex-white supremacist, and “Life After Tomorrow,” a feature length documentary following the women who starred in the Broadway musical “Annie,” including Sarah Jessica Parker of “Sex In The City” fame. He recently completed “Looking For Sunday” and the upcoming thriller “Enter Nowhere.”