RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2023
Michael Busza is an LA-based, queer, disabled, Jewish comedy writer who used to work for a lumber company. As a gay kid from Philly with an “invisible” chronic disability, Michael grew up having to explain the unseeable. Now, as a screenwriter in LA, he writes “invisible” characters in ways that reclaim their dignity through humor.
In college, Michael won the TV Academy’s student Emmy for writing the “Best College Series,” and was also a finalist in the TV Academy’s Emmy Directing Fellowship. He was then nominated for the Oxford University Rhodes Scholarship and spoke as graduation speaker for his class at Temple University.
After moving to LA, Michael spent a hot minute working in scripted development for Sony Pictures Television and several hot minutes writing and performing for the Second City Hollywood comedy theatre. During this time, he also became a Diversity Scholar at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) comedy theatre; worked as a production assistant for CBS Studios (NCIS: New Orleans) and Paramount Pictures; and went on to produce the feature film From Zero to I Love You, which screened at festivals worldwide and is now available on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.
Throughout his life, Michael has appeared in medical journals (like a celebrity) and injected more than 200,000 needles (like a pincushion). He is also connected to enough medical devices to classify as part robot, and as a result, goes through life with a personal vendetta against TSA metal detectors.
Most recently, Michael has been featured as one of The Black List website’s Top 15 Half-hour Pilots, made the Coverfly Red List’s Top 15 with two different pilots (comedy and animation), advanced to the Semifinalist round of the 2023 Roadmap Writers’ Diversity Fellowship (Top 25), advanced to the Quarterfinalist round of the 2023 ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship, made it to the Semifinalist round of the 2022 Humanitas “New Voices” Fellowship (Top 25), and has been selected to participate in the 2023 RespectAbility Entertainment Lab.
After an extensive search and interview process, 20 individuals were invited to participate in the Los Angeles Cohort of RespectAbility’s 2023 Entertainment Lab taking place May 1 – June 9, 2023. This 6-week Lab aims to develop and elevate the talent pipeline of disabled entertainment professional working behind-the-scenes in television, film, and streaming, while connecting them with industry professionals and creatives. Participants include people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health, and other disabilities ranging in age the 20’s through the 50’s. The Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award.