Nickelodeon has identified 10 participants for its Writing and artist programs, designed to develop the next generation of creative voices from underrepresented communities. Driven by the ViacomCBS Global Inclusion Office and aligned with business objectives Content for change initiative, for its 22nd annual writing program, four aspiring television writers will have the opportunity to hone their skills while working at the Nickelodeon studio and six emerging artists will develop their craft during the 10th annual artist program.
The news follows the second year of remote programming, which marked the most successful year in the history of Nickelodeon’s Creative Talent Development & Outreach team. All five artists in the 2021 Artist Program have been assigned to Nickelodeon productions and all four writers have been assigned to projects on ViacomCBS.
“Nickelodeon’s long-standing writer and artist programs continue to provide budding creative minds with the tools to help them launch their careers and deliver inclusive stories that reflect the voices of our diverse audiences,” said Marva Smalls, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Inclusion, ViacomCBS and Executive Vice President, Public Affairs, Kids and Family Entertainment Brands, ViacomCBS Media Networks. “As part of ViacomCBS’ Content for Change initiative, these programs also affirm our commitment to ensuring an equitable and inclusive pipeline that removes barriers to entry for underrepresented storytellers and continues our work to change the face of creation. of content.”
This year’s addition of peer mentorship enhances the overall impact of the program, providing participants with invaluable one-on-one mentorship, as well as a deeper introduction to Nickelodeon’s culture and inclusive work environment.
As part of the writing program, all participants have the opportunity to network with executives and show creators, gain first-hand experience writing screenplays, pitch story ideas, and assist to workshops, seminars, courses and to experience working in writers’ rooms. These writers will develop their skills with practical work during the one-year program.
Writers will be paired individually with Nickelodeon Linda Halder (Senior Manager, Live-Action Development), Mary Harington (Executive Producer, Early Childhood Development) and Conrad Montgomery (VP, Animation Development), who will work with them on professional development, writing, and networking at the studio.
The participants in the writing program are:
Born and raised in Big Peach State Georgia, Kobie Scott has always been linked to animation. He was accepted to Georgia Southern University, planning to become a writer in the video game industry, but quickly realized that television writing was more his speed. He bought books on screenwriting and story structure, and took animation classes that gave him a better understanding of the art form and eventually carpal tunnel.
lauren monroe (she) is a fat, queer, neurodiverse writer who grew up in Atlanta with a nerdy mom who cosplayed at conventions, taught high school English, and instilled a love of fantasy storytelling. Now, Monroe happily writes colorful fantasy worlds for children with queer, nuanced perspectives from diverse bodies and brains.
Hannah Suria is a writer and performer from Orange County, California, and the proud daughter of immigrants (a mixed mother from Singapore and a Tamil-Sri Lankan father from Malaysia). Writing ceased to be a hobby and became an integral part of her life when, as an aspiring actress, Suria quickly discovered that roles for women who looked like her were rare.
Franck Paiva (he/they) is a tall gay and queer person from Seattle. Growing up in the early 2000s, they struggled to find a plan for the rest of their lives in popular media. Newly based in Los Angeles, Paiva writes comedies with heart, with a particular interest in LGBTQ history and expanding the range of body types audiences see on screen.
During the six-month Artist Program, budding artists will learn from lead artists and practice their craft working on an animated series at various stages of production. Artist program tracks include storyboarding, general design, or CG generalist. The CG track was first offered last year to serve many of Nickelodeon Animation Studio’s current and upcoming CG productions.
Artists are paired with Nickelodeon Artistic Mentors to guide their production experience, including: Ashley Kliment (Artistic director, The noisy house); Jeff Chozon (Artistic director, Transformers) and jermaine jose (Artistic director, Transformers); Kimberly Mills (storyboard director, Fat Nate) and Vypac Voeur (CG Chief Generalist, Fat Nate); Chris Graham (supervising director, Santiago of the seas); and Sica Von Medicus (CG Supervisor, Max and the Midknights).
Participants in the artist program are:
Cherrie Wang (Storyboard Track) spent his whole life doodling on everything he could get his hands on. Her family didn’t understand the world of art and animation, so Wang attended the University of Southern California, where she earned her degree in computer science and engineering. She taught herself screenwriting via the internet and recently returned to Los Angeles to pursue her vocation full-time.
Katarina Perez (CG track) is a Mexican-American artist born and raised in Houston, Texas. When she was introduced to a 3D animation class in high school, she was captivated by all that one could do in three-dimensional space. This prompted her to pack her bags and move to Dallas to pursue a bachelor’s degree in animation at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Born in the Greater Los Angeles area to immigrant parents from El Salvador, Roger Hernandez (CG Generalist Track) could always look to his parents as pillars of support, and despite limited resources, they got him through college where he pursued his dream in CG animation at Cal State Northridge. Although very much a CG generalist, his primary focus is CG modeling. Sculpting 3D models is his passion and his goal is to share his vision and talent through his art.
Emily Monjaraz (general design track) began her career illustrating children’s books and doing graphic design for toy companies that encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM. Her mission is to create content for children to learn to harness their superpowered differences as well as create stories and characters that represent the world she grew up in.
Booker Jackson (Storyboard Track) is from Sacramento, Calif., and was captivated by animation from an early age after seeing a fun behind-the-scenes segment from Nickelodeon about a day in the life of an artist in history. Jackson is passionate about diversifying the world of animation and mentoring those who come after him.
David Lu (General Design Track) hails from Vancouver, Canada where he spent his formative years watching a variety of cartoons which influenced him to become an artist. Convinced by his family that art was not an option, Lu traveled to the Bay Area to write code in exchange for cold hard cash. However, Lu’s artistic desires have not been fulfilled, so for the past two years he has focused on building his portfolio to break into the animation industry and live his childhood dream. to create cartoons.
Program alumni who have held positions on Nickelodeon shows include May Chan (co-executive producer, The astronauts), Sarah Jacques (artistic director, Santiago of the seas), Anna Hill (screenwriter, The noisy house), Ahn Bui (BG Painter, Most median position), Samuel Pagán (CG generalist, Rugrats), Carl Edward Mongan (Storyboard Revisionist, Camp Koral), Angel Hobbs (editor, This girl is lying) Marisa Torres (background painter, Santiago of the seas), Jonathan Butler and Gabriel Garza (co-creators, Bella and the Bulldogs) and more.
Outside of Nickelodeon, many of the program’s alumni have held independent and network roles, including Showtime, HBO, DreamWorks, Netflix, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, Disney+, Kids’ WB!, ABC, FOX, PBS, Cartoon Network, and the CW.
For more information on the Nickelodeon Writing Program, visit @NickWriting on Twitter and @NickWritingProgram on Instagram and nickwriting.comor @nick_artists on Instagram and nickartist.com for the artist program. The next submission period opens on July 1 and ends on August 1, 2022.