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NBC has named its 2018-19 Writers on the Verge class. The six-month program, now in its 13th year, is one of the network’s Talent Infusion Programs that aims at developing diverse talent onscreen and behind the scenes.
“I cannot understate the importance of giving talent writers from diverse backgrounds the tools to take their careers to the next level,” NBC Entertainment and Universal Television senior vp programming talent development and inclusion Karen Horne said Friday in a statement. “Our track record of preparing our Writers on the Verge to be staffed on a wide variety of series underscores our program’s effectiveness in increasing the pipeline of skilled diverse writers.”
Horne and independent story and script consultant Jen Grisanti, a former CBS/Paramount and Spelling Television executive, will guide the class in developing pilots. The young writers also will learn how to pitch effectively, receiving feedback on both their scripts and their pitches from network executives, showrunners and agents. Each participant also will be individually mentored by an NBCUniversal programming executive, and at the end of the program they will be considered for writing assignments on an NBC series.
The last two WOTV classes have yielded the following staffed writers: Mnelik Belilgne (Apple’s animated Central Park), Melanie Boysaw (ABC’s Black-ish), Allyssa Lee (The CW’s Charmed), Eugene Garcia-Cross (Disney Channel’s Gabby Duran & the Unsittables), Rayna McClendon (Syfy’s Deadly Class), Eileen Shim (Hulu’s Light as a Feather) and Mellori Velasquez (NBC’s The Enemy Within).
The 2018-19 Writers on the Verge are:
Bernard Badion, most recently an assistant to Fresh Off the Boat co-executive producer Sanjay Shah. Badion, who has an MFA from Loyola Marymount, also has worked as a writer’s production assistant on Netflix’s One Day at a Time and a production assistant on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.
Edward Excaliber, who graduated from the AFI Conservatory in 2016 and was a member of the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s 2017 TV Writers Program. The Miami native, who is of Puerto Rican and Italian descent, specializes in comedy and has written stage plays, feature and short films, and pilots.
Pamela Garcia Rooney, who taught high school English before she also was selected for the NHMC’s TV Writers Program. Now a full-time writer who draws upon her Mexican-American heritage, Garcia Rooney, who is represented by Paradigm and Brillstein, resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters. The Laredo, Texas, native earned a BA in English and MA in school counseling from the University of Texas Austin.
Joanne Lee worked in finance, digital media and nonprofits before moving to L.A. to pursue comedy writing. The second-generation Korean American and New York native, who is repped by APA, was a 2018 Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment New Writers Fellow and wrote a freelance episode of Disney Channel’s Andi Mack.
Marissa Lee currently is a writer’s assistant on Netflix’s Madam C.J. Walker and previously worked as a writer’s assistant on Starz’s Counterpart. The Princeton alumna is repped by Industry.
Tiffany Shaw Ho also participated in CAPE’s New Writers Fellowship and was a finalist in the Slamdance Screenplay Competition. The Maryland native studied economics at Cornell and then went on to receive an MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in addition to studying painting in Taiwan. Shaw Ho, who is repped by Gramercy Park, recently wrote a freelance episode for an upcoming Netflix international original series.
Sara White is a former travel writer (co-authoring two Off Track Planet guides) and current showrunner’s assistant on CBS’ upcoming Blood & Treasure. The California native, who received her MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, has lived in New York as well as taught English in Taiwan and Thailand and studied Balinese theater and dance at the Indonesian Arts College in the Balinese capital of Denpasar.
Margot Ye earned a business degree from the University of Pennsylvania and then worked at a talent agency, production company and post house before enrolling in UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. The first-generation Chinese American and South Florida native’s short film Out of the Blue, supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, earned a DGA Student Film Award, LACMA’s Young Director Art of Film Award and three UCLA Spotlight awards for best narrative, best screenplay and best visual design. She also has produced multimedia content for media/tech companies including Hulu, Google, Niantic and Headspace.
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