The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) has announced ten Latino writers chosen to take part in this year’s NHMC Television Writers Program: Gabriela Montequin, Jesenia Ruiz, Gene Augusto, Pablo Goldstein, Renier Murillo, Sofía Dávila, Sammy Sarzoza, Belinda Arredondo, Victor M. Dueñas and Brian Otaño. Guided by former NBC vice president of story and writer development, Geoff Harris, NHMC’s five-week, total immersion workshop simulates an actual writer’s room and participants develop an original pilot, practice pitching their writing and learn how to market themselves and get an agent.
Guest speakers including Ed Bernero, creator of Criminal Minds; Jeanne Mau, Vice President of Entertainment Diversity at CBS; as well as an agent at Gersh. The writers also network with entertainment executives at NBCUniversal and ABC during small events and meetings planned throughout the program. NHMC’s TV Writers Program has prepared and connected more than 100 graduates for positions on award-winning and top-rated TV shows airing on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW, BET, HBO, Disney Jr., Hulu and Netflix since 2003.
More about NHMC’s new class of TV writers HERE
“Hollywood’s diversity problem has never come from a lack of diverse talent,” said Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “For far too long, creatives of color have been denied opportunities to be mentored in their craft, pitch their work and have robust representation in the industry. Our program and others serving artists of color seek to open doors for them to create the roles we were meant to play and that have excited audiences across the country. We hope that networks grow their acceptance of diversity program graduates rather than make excuses for shows that misrepresent or underrepresent our community.”
Writers whose scripts show promise will be interviewed and mentored by network executives, with the goal of placing them on a show. NHMC also maintains a database with the work and contact information of all graduates to connect them with hiring staff at networks, production companies, talent agents and managers. Each participant receives a weekly stipend and out of state writers receive a round-trip flight to the workshop in Studio City, California.
The NHMC Television Writers Program, sponsored by NBCUniversal and Disney/ABC Television Group, was created to expand the amount of Latinos working behind the camera, as a way to increase fair and accurate portrayals of Latinos on television. During the 2013-14 television season, Latinos composed only 2.8 percent of writers staffed on TV shows, despite the fact that the Latinos make up 17% of the U.S. population.