As The Slate’s Head of Career Development, as well as a frequent creative contributor, Leilani Downer is who The Slate relies upon to ensure that the stories we’re telling can impact the careers of the actors, writers, and directors who work on them. Whether she’s collaborating with WGA screenwriters to tell our stories or creating an original narrative herself, Leilani is always trying to advance the careers of other artists.
After breaking into the industry the hard way- knocking on doors and sending spec scripts to executives- Leilani began her professional career by writing, producing, and story-editing for popular TV comedies such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Growing Pains, Sister Sister, and Hangin’; with Mr. Cooper. Since then, Leilani has been working steadily in Hollywood for a wide variety of networks including Netflix and the Hallmark Channel, and most recently wrote for the Netflix original production Julie and the Phantoms starring Madison Reyes, Charlie Gillespie, and Owen Patrick Joyner.
Despite experiencing industry success, Leilani never strayed from her ultimate mission of creating opportunities for all types of artists. Her unique ability to spot other talented writers in our industry, coupled with her tendency to create opportunities for deserving artists makes her the ideal person to develop the stories we create.
Because Leilani’s writing often allows audiences to connect with ordinary people in extraordinary ways, she penned two shorts for the slate in 2020 which were exclusively cast with our actors: 7-11, the story of a COVID nurse visited during the pandemic by the spirit of a former patient, and Mixtape, a short film about starting over romantically late in life.
Currently, Leilani is finding more amazing writers for the Slate, while continuing to write for film and TV.