Disney General Entertainment has selected 12 up-and-coming creatives to be part of in its 2022 Writing Program. The one-year initiative offers mentorship and professional development to help writers secure their first TV staff writing assignment on a DGE series.
Drama participants include Amanda Mercedes (writers’ assistant on 13 Reasons Why), Ariana Quiñónez (writers’ assistant on Roswell, New Mexico), Carlton Gillespie (sports and live events producer), J.D. Shields (podcast and interactive games writer) and Jeff Qiu (writers’ assistant on Locke & Key).
And participants working in the comedy genre include Austin S. Harris (current programming assistant at ABC), Kelly Eisenbrand (development intern/freelance journalist), Kris Crenwelge (staff writer on Spirit Rangers/standup and improv comedian), Mithra Alavi (development coordinator/writer/filmmaker), Randall Valdez-Castillo (writers’ assistant on Mythic Quest), Steph Garcia (writers’ assistant on The Catch/unscripted programming consulting producer) and Mattie Bayne (writers’ assistant on Never Have I Ever).
Bayne was also chosen as the recipient of Disney Branded Television’s Eunetta T. Boone Comedy Writer’s Scholarship for diverse and aspiring comedy writers, established in 2020 in honor of the late writer/producer.
In its 32 years of operation, the writing program has provided a launching pad for the careers of many writers, producers and showrunners, including Saladin Patterson and Peter Saji. Participants from the 2021 program secured staffing assignments on series such as Raven’s Home, Big Shot and BUNK’D.
The program offers a salary and benefits for participants, and all those who get hired to write on a DGE scripted series will be compensated at WGA scale. The DGE Writing Program is managed and run by Liz Kelly, senior manager of DGE creative talent development and inclusion.