Barbara Nance: Screenwriter & Professor at USC School of Cinematic Arts

My NativeAdVantage:


Barbara Nance is a professional television writer, and professor.  Among her writing credits are Threshold (CBS), Blade (Spike), Flashforward (ABC), In Plain Sight (USA), and House of Lies (Showtime).  Beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, Barbara will be a Professor of Practice at the University of Southern California’s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts, primarily teaching one-hour dramatic television writing courses.  For the 2015-2016 academic year, she was a visiting screenwriting professor at Florida State University. She is also a proud and active member of the Writers Guild of America and serves on numerous committees.  Additionally, she acts as a mentor to new Guild members and has volunteered as a mentor the past three years for the Military Veterans Writing Project.

Prior to her writing career, Barbara was a software engineer and was part of a ten-member team that designed, wrote, and tested a software program that was the precursor to  She also lived in Paris for five years where she graduated with a B.A. in Computer Science from The American College in Paris.  Subsequent to that, she worked at the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) as a software specialist where she implemented their internal e-mail system.

What do you do best?

Stay in touch with my friends.  Help people figure out solutions to problems. Organize stuff… I’m pretty anal-retentive.

What makes you the best?

This is a tough question because, as an Army brat, I was raised that “the best” is never achievable, yet it’s always something to strive for.  So, I can’t say I’m “the best” at anything.  Plus, it feels a bit full of myself to claim that I’m “the best”.  I can, however, say that I try my hardest at everything that matters to me.

What are your aspirations?

If I was writing in my journal and being completely honest, I’d say that currently, I have two aspirations – one is to create and run a one-hour drama on television that makes an impact and is positively received by viewers.  The other is to be a scratch golfer.  

Biggest Success?

Becoming a TV writer.  It was a goal that took me ten years to achieve, but I did it, and I’m very proud of that.  It’s probably one of the reasons I started teaching.  If I can help a young person shave a couple years off of their journey to become a writer, then all of my experience is worth something.

Most Challenging Moment?

The death of my mother.  She was my inspiration and my best friend.  I miss her every day.

Favorite Motto?

“No one cares and no one’s counting.”  Otherwise put, live your life and do what you want, because no one else is analyzing, dissecting, and judging your life the way you are.  Give yourself a break.

Favorite People?

People I know?  That wold have to be my amazing friends.  I’m insanely fortunate to have a gaggle of phenomenal, quality human beings to call my friends.  People I don’t know?  Louis CK, Ricky Gervais, Nora Ephron, Audrey Hepburn.

Favorite Places?

Paris.  The entire country of Italy.  And any golf course.

Favorite Products?

I’m not much of tech person.  Funny, considering that I have a degree in Computer Science.  It’s too cliché to say I can’t live without my phone, because honestly, I could.  I’d have a harder time giving up my cool, lightweight, indestructible Lenovo laptop.  

Current Passions?

Golf.  Poker. The insatiable quest to find the next all-engrossing novel to curl up with and spend an entire weekend getting lost in it.