EXCLUSIVE: Disney General Entertainment Content has revealed the 13 individuals for its 2021 writing program and has named the recipient of Disney Channel’s Eunetta T. Boone Comedy Writer’s Scholarship, which was established last year in honor of the late writer/producer for diverse and aspiring comedy writers.
Created in 1990 with the WGA West, Disney Creative Talent Development & Inclusion’s one-year writing program offers advanced professional development with the primary goal of helping to secure participants’ first staffing assignment via Disney General Entertainment Content series.
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Now in its 30th year, the program is held in high regard, with a nearly 100% hiring rate for more than a decade. This makes the program an ideal launching pad for talented writers and their careers — and with Disney no less.
“The Creative Talent Development & Inclusion team is proud to launch this extremely talented group of writers into the next phase of their career,” said Tim McNeal, vice president, Creative Talent Development & Inclusion (CTDI). “The flagship Writing Program is one of the critical ways CTDI connects creative talent to opportunities across Disney and continues to be our company’s staffing pipeline specifically for emerging, diverse TV writers. We look forward to seeing this cohort shape the next generation of producers and showrunners.”
To sweeten the program more, it’s the first of its kind to provide salary and benefits to its participants and starting this year, all program writers will receive a bump to their weekly salary prior to staffing on a series. As an added bonus, all program writers who staff on a DGE scripted series will be compensated at WGA scale.
Read the 2021 writing program participants and the recipient of Disney Channel’s Eunetta T. Boone Comedy Writer Scholar below.
Brittney Jeng, Kung Fu script coordinator (Yorba Linda, California)
Leah Gonzales, The Chi writers’ PA (San Jose, California)
Paola Tapia-Limon, Inventing Anna script coordinator/former reality TV producer (Tijuana, Mexico)
Tristan Thai, segment/doc/on-air promos producer (Monterey Park, California)
Valeska Rodriguez, Grand Hotel writers’ assistant (Miami, Florida)
Ceda Xiong, All Rise script coordinator/stand-up comedian (Los Angeles, California)
Chas, Central Park showrunner’s assistant (Vallejo, California)
Mike Lee, Emmy-winning TV creative producer (New York City, New York)
Shelley Dennis, animated TV series writer/former fashion model (Clayton, Oklahoma)
Sidney Butler, grown-ish writers’ assistant (Houston, Texas)
Victor Duenas, East Los High development assistant (South Gate, California)
Ama Quao, Outer Range writers’ assistant (Murfreesboro, Tennesse)
Jai Joseph, Mom showrunner’s assistant (Kenner, Louisianna) – ** Disney Channel’s Eunetta T. Boone Comedy Writer Scholar
The participating writers of the 2020 program secured staffing assignments on ABC shows The Rookie, black-ish, American Housewife, The Goldbergs, For Life, Stumptown, Station 19, Call Your Mother, A Million Little Things and Home Economics; Freeform’s Love in the Time of Corona; and Disney Channel’s Raven’s Home and Gabby Duran and the Unsittables.
The program has helped established careers of award-winning writers, producers and showrunners for hit shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Little Fires Everywhere, Godfather of Harlem, Dave, Power, Snowfall and more. It also was the starting point for an impressive roster of creators and co-creators including Peter Saji (mixed-ish), Veena Sud (The Killing, Seven Seconds), Jordan Cahan (Black Monday), Reggie Bythewood (Shots Fired) and Erica Montolfo-Bura (Zoe Ever After); showrunners Dailyn Rodriguez (Queen of the South), Anthony Sparks (Queen Suga), Ayanna Floyd Davis (The Chi) and Aseem Batra (I Feel Bad); and alumni with production overall deals at DGE, including Saladin Patterson (Dave) and Zahir McGhee (Harlem’s Kitchen).
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