After earning an English degree from San José State University and completing law school at New College of California, School, a public interest law school, San Francisco native Karen Dean moved from Foster City, California to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting and further her martial arts training. Soon after arriving to the City of Angels, Karen utilized her legal background and worked in business affairs for companies such as Creative Artists Agency, Disney and Warner Bros. While at Warner Bros., Karen completed a workshop sponsored by HBO, taught by actor/writer/producer Josefina Lopez (REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES). In that workshop, Karen wrote REMAIN SILENT, a screenplay based on her father’s experience as a San Francisco Police Department narcotics inspector, which included both English and Spanish dialogue, and which touches on Panamanian culture — both of Karen’s parents are from Panama. REMAIN SILENT was instrumental in Karen’s acceptance into the 2004 Guy Hanks and Marvin H. Miller Screenwriting Program at USC (created by Drs. Camille and Bill Cosby), where Karen wrote UNFORGIVABLE, a project inspired by a conversation she had with one of her brothers, a retired FBI agent, involving the FBI and the Triad (Chinese mafia). The research for the script included an actual meeting with Triad members. In that meeting, Karen (a martial arts veteran of over 25 years whose black belts include judo and Within Arm’s Reach (“W.A.R.”, a system designed for executive protection specialists), received specific guidelines that she followed in writing that script.
While continuing to pursue screenwriting, for the past seven years, Karen has worked for the City of Los Angeles as a bilingual housing investigator — about 50% of her tenants are Spanish speakers. In this position, Karen investigates alleged violations (illegal rent increases, illegal evictions, etc.) of rent controlled properties and makes determinations of whether a violation of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) has occurred. The investigative process includes interviewing tenants, landlords, and property managers, conducting property-related research and interacting with attorneys, tenant advocates and various governmental agencies.
Karen is very excited to be a part of ISBL and looks forward to contributing to its continued success.