On Tuesday, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group introduced that it’s launching a brand new Animation Writers Program, geared toward uplifting underrepresented voices in movie and tv.
The writers chosen for this system’s inaugural cohort are Shari Coleman, Kiana Johnson, Senibo Myers, David Ngo and Joe Winters. Each was chosen for one in every of three writing tracks: a Film Track, or one in every of two TV Tracks catered in the direction of totally different demographics (Preschool ages 3-5 or Kids ages 6-11).
The Universal Animation Writers Program was conceived by NBCUniversal’s Global Talent Development & Inclusion staff, the purpose being to determine and develop an inclusive group of expertise who can construct upon the Studio’s dedication to telling tales with distinctive narratives that enchantment to and replicate the huge range of its audiences.
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The first 5 writers within the one-year paid program will profit from skilled improvement, in addition to an immersive expertise of the Studio’s manufacturing course of, by means of workshops, seminars, sponsorship, and govt, filmmaker and showrunner- led roundtable discussions. They can even have the chance to collaborate carefully with inventive execs at DreamWorks Animation and Illumination, as they develop their materials, in addition to enterprise items and manufacturing entities affiliated with UFEG and NBCUniversal together with Universal 1440 Entertainment, Universal Studio Group and the Entertainment Group.
“DreamWorks has always been a place to build the dreams of unconventional heroes. This endeavor requires diverse voices from unique backgrounds. Thank you to the Global Talent Development & Inclusion team for building the Animation Writers Program and shining a light on underrepresented talent,” stated Margie Cohn, President of DreamWorks Animation. “We are excited to dig in and begin working with this promising group of writers.”
“Identifying and nurturing first time filmmakers and talent has always been a central pillar of Illumination’s process,” added Chris Meledandri, Founder and CEO of Illumination. “We look forward to collaborating with the extraordinary group of inaugural participants in the Animation Writers program to develop new and innovative animated projects.”
The Universal Animation Writers Program is the second of its variety from UFEG, which additionally boats a long-running writers program for live-action. Notable alumni of the Universal Writers Program embrace Juel Taylor (Creed II), who’s at the moment growing a venture with Universal and Lebron James’ The SpringHill Company; Sarah Cho, a workers author on the upcoming Hulu and Universal Content Productions sequence The Girl from Plainville; and Leon Hendrix, co-writer and exec producer of Cointelpro, a drama sequence in improvement at Peacock.
Additional information on members within the 2021 Universal Animation Writers Program will be discovered under:
Shari Coleman (TV, Kids 6-11)
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, although a self-proclaimed “child of the world”, Shari Coleman is actually a baby at coronary heart. Growing up having been impacted by quite a few animated reveals and films, Coleman goals to create tales that’ll give a voice to the unseen and the unheard. Being lucky sufficient to do a little bit of worldwide volunteering in her highschool years opened her eyes to new cultures, experiences and the wonders of the world we dwell in. Her profession started when she instantly realized on the peak of faculty app season that she in truth didn’t need to pursue drugs and would pursue movie as a substitute. A call, to notice, that made her father lower than thrilled. Yet, rising up biracial gave her sufficient expertise in constantly redefining folks’s expectations and perceptions of her to show him fallacious. Attending CSU Northridge, Coleman did simply that. Within the excellence of receiving her B.A. in Film Production, she was awarded with the titles of Hollywood Foreign Press Association Scholar and Fellow in addition to the chance to direct her first brief movie, Home, which is able to run the competition circuit this summer season. She was additionally lucky sufficient to work the Cannes Film Festival and be personally beneficial to the Academy Gold program (now Gold Rising). Coleman at the moment has TV credit for Disney Channel’s Bunk’d and an editorial credit score for AMC’s Creepshow Animated Special.
Kiana Johnson (TV, Kids 6-11)
A local Texan, Kiana Johnson has spent a majority of her life touring up and down I-35. Born and raised in San Antonio, she graduated in 2018 from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Radio-TV-Film with a spotlight in Screenwriting. During her time at UT, Johnson co-founded the Black Film Student Association with two associates to supply a safe-space and studying group for folks of shade. Her awards embrace advancing to the second spherical in AFF’s 2019 Comedy Spec Category, and successful ‘Class Clown’ on 5 separate events from unaffiliated organizations. After commencement, Johnson bagged groceries to fund her life in LA, writing and studying in her spare time. A queer, Black girl, Johnson loves to put in writing characters that replicate the magic and variety of the folks she’s met. She adores fantasy, sci-fi, and Whataburger, and maintains that it’s higher than In-N-Out.
Senibo Myers (TV, Preschool)
Senibo Myers is a author who likes to discover distinctive friendships between characters of various backgrounds, experiences, and identities, together with folks, animals, and even inanimate objects. He holds a B.A. in Digital Cinema/Screenwriting from DePaul University, an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is a proud #GirlDad. His writing was introduced within the Tisch Dramatic Writing Fellowship of New Works and the Black is the New Black Play Festival, which he co-produced. Myers was a Finalist for J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot Mentorship Program and a Semifinalist within the PlayStation Emerging Filmmakers Program. He’s labored at Nickelodeon, MTV, Spike TV, DreamWorks, and ABC. He has written for the MTV Movie Awards, People’s Choice Awards, and America’s Best Dance Crew. For Myers, storytelling is an all-you-can-eat buffet, and he’s bought his sweatpants on.
David Ngo (Film)
David Ngo is a present screenwriter, former tv govt, occasional school lecturer, generally filmmaker, all the time a mum or dad, frequent script advisor, perpetually Vietnamese American, infinite popular culture fanatic, and constant podcaster filling out his bingo card of an leisure profession. Ngo’s work has taken him to fellowship within the NBC “Writers on the Verge” program, dishing superstar information at E! Entertainment, educating keen minds within the Asian American Studies division at Cal State Fullerton, directing a documentary a few magnificence pageant for seniors, photographing motels, writing copy with out spoilers for streamers, pondering in the event that they’ll make Saved by the Bell: Retirement Home in the future, and looking for the most effective untold tales he can uncover on his podcast, The Best Story I Never Told.
Joe Winters (TV, Kids 6-11)
Growing up in Northern Virginia, Joe Winters all the time had an inkling they had been slightly totally different from the opposite youngsters at their Catholic college. It wasn’t till they had been known as “gay” (and subsequently Googled what “gay” was) that they started to know that distinction. Once they got here to phrases with and began to discover their sexuality, life felt an entire lot extra sophisticated, particularly once they had been put into remedy due to it. It was throughout this time of uncertainty that they clung onto animated fantasy reveals to assist transport them away to far off lands the place it was okay to be totally different. When they couldn’t be in these fantastical worlds, they discovered solace in theatre. This finally led them to Virginia Commonwealth University, the place they obtained their B.F.A. in Theatre Performance. After graduating school, a sequence of unlucky occasions landed Winters in a deep despair. Luckily their time in theatre led them to find the world of Drag, and “Zelda Peaches” was born. Drag not solely helped to save lots of their life, but in addition to simply accept their non-binary id. Finally snug with who they had been, they got here to the conclusion that as a substitute of being in different folks’s tales they might moderately create their very own. They wished to put in writing the sort of reveals they wanted as a child – edgy, animated fantasy-comedies highlighting queer identities and psychological well being struggles. With that information, they flitted away to Los Angeles the place they studied TV Writing at UCLA. Since then, they’ve worn many various hats on numerous productions, together with the chance to intern at Hey Qween!, a revered queer speak present. Their writing has additionally been acknowledged by The Script Lab, ScreenCraft, Launch Pad, and Final Draft’s Big Break.