Disney General Entertainment Content Writing Program Names 2021 Participants
Created in 1990 in partnership with the Writers Guild of America 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. Now in its 30th year, the program is widely recognized as one of the entertainment industry’s most successful of its type, with a nearly 100% hiring rate for more than a decade. It has served as a launching pad for many successful writers across the industry.
The 2021 writing program participants include the following:
- 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 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.”
The program has kickstarted the careers of many established and 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 show 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 Sugar”), 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”).
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 was the first of its kind to provide salary and benefits to its participants. Starting this year, all program writers will receive a bump to their weekly salary prior to staffing on a series. Additionally, all program writers who staff on a DGE scripted series will be compensated at WGA scale.