Writers Mentoring Program provides opportunities
Its goal is to positively impact the presence of diverse writers throughout the entertainment industry and prepare hopeful writers for employment opportunities in television.
The focus is to provide networking opportunities for diverse writers. In its first four years, a total of 28 emerging writers of diverse backgrounds have graduated and 15 careers have been launched.
Members of this coalition sat down with representatives of several major television networks and cleared the air.
"In realizing this important goal [representing all races], CBS has forged important partnerships with many organizations throughout the industry. Diversity is best achieved through a collaborative spirit," Thomas said.
"We came to a memorandum of understanding," Skyhawk added. "One of the agreements was to have access to address our concerns. We said, 'We want you to hire a senior VP person to address these issues.' Each network hired a director of diversity."
The program has successfully advanced the careers of some of the writers--helping them land jobs as staff writers and writers assistants. Only one American Indian has graduated from the program. Currently a staff writer on a leading legal drama, she also teaches at a major university in Los Angeles and recently conducted a class for the current class at the writing program.
"Once graduated, our program participants remain in community with all our prior graduates. In fact, the first seminar meeting is with program graduates who talk about their experiences and give advice on how to get the most out of the program. Creative collaborations between our graduates are also happening," Thomas added, noting that she would like to reach out to other Natives, making them aware of this opportunity.
For more on the subject, see Diversity Lacking in Television.