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"It’s how Needell ties together the real world with the animated one that sets this short apart..."

- Kelly Kearney, Starry Magazine


"A touching story on the humanity of technology and the many ways we find ourselves, our voice, and each other."

– Matthew Ball, author of The Metaverse


"What really stands out throughout is the complexity of these characters, and the nature of their specific struggles. Everyone gets to be human."

– Sheila O'Malley, 


"It’s a tricky balancing act to take an audience from a terminally-ill mom to an avalanche of insects, but director David Oyelowo (working from Emma Needell’s Black List screenplay) gets all the tones just right..."

– Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

Project 1

view my other projects on vimeo.




EVIL MONSTER DOG is my company, where I create original stories across multiple mediums. I gravitate toward stories that are "evil with a heart": dark in tone, plot, or theme but with a throughline of hope.

I grew up on a solar-powered cattle ranch in rural Colorado. My closest neighbor was 3 miles away. It was beautiful, but lonely. In absence of the "real world," I created my own - with the help of movies, nature, and my imagination. After college, I moved to Los Angeles to create and collaborate on films, television, books, and new media.


When I was 24 years old, my screenplay THE WATER MAN caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who came onboard to produce the project. Since then, I've worked with Oscar-winning directors and producers, including Steven Spielberg and Ava Duvernay, as well as studios and production companies like Netflix, Anonymous Content, Disney, and Gaumont TV. 


In May 2022, I joined the Web3 company Tally Labs as Head of Story, and am the Worldbuilder for our signature story-world Azurbala.

Speaking Engagements




Panel: The Digital Humans Are Ready for Their Close-Up

The film and TV industry has been undergoing a massive paradigm shift in recent years thanks to real-time technology. We’ve seen how game engines have completely transformed filmmaking with virtual production. The next frontier is real-time, believable digital humans. New cloud-based tools are making it possible, for the first time, for anyone to create fully rigged photorealistic digital humans in just minutes – an unprecedented leap for something that was previously specialized, time-consuming, and expensive. This panel will host a range of filmmakers who are utilizing real-time technology and digital humans in compelling and unexpected ways - on projects ranging from films, to VR experiences, to animated series such as Netflix’s ‘Love Death & Robots.’

Click HERE to see the link to this speaking engagement.

Upcoming: March 2023



Fireside Chat with Writer/Director Emma Needell

As an Unreal Fellowship Graduate, Emma used Unreal Engine to write and direct LIFE RENDERED, a short film that recently premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. Emma has embraced real-time technology to the point where she uses Unreal Engine to write and previs her stories. Come and hear about Emma's views on advancing the art of filmmaking with real-time technology.

Click HERE and then navigate to the "Media & Entertainment" section, to see the link to this speaking engagement.

2022 Speaker




The Conference on World Affairs is a year-round unit of the University of Colorado Boulder, offering events without admission fees to the Boulder community, students, and the public. The CWA is a premier forum for discussion of world affairs, attracting a diverse group of experts and engaging panelists from around the world. Our most popular event is CWA Week, taking place in early April each year. CWA Week is a festival of ideas featuring 200 panels, 100 speakers and performers, over 5 days, attracting more than 70,000 in cumulative attendance each year. We also present the CWA Speaker Series where thought leaders in their field join us for a campus visit with an evening discussion open to all.

I spoke on three panels: 1. Crafting the Original Idea 2. Gaming as a Generation 3. Filmmaker Secrets Revealed: Stories from Behind the Camera.

Click HERE to see the link to this speaking engagement.

2022 Speaker



Writing in Unreal: What You Write is What You See

Explore the real-time process of writing in Unreal through the eyes of Emma Needell (Writer, The Water Man) and Vivian Yoon (Writer for studios such as Netflix, Amazon, RYOT Studio), who will illustrate how Unreal Engine strengthened the creative development of their upcoming projects from inception to final draft. The discussion is moderated by Karen Dufilho (Executive Producer, Epic Games).

Click HERE to see the link to this speaking engagement.

2021 Speaker



Anonymous Content

Nicole Romano | 310 558 6000


Darian Lanzetta | 424 288 2000

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