Applications for The Disruptors, the annual fellowship for emerging television writers of color who identify as either trans, gender nonbinary, undocumented / formerly undocumented, or disabled, are now open for the 2022 program season. Taking place from August - November this year, The Disruptors will offer mentorship, compensation, community, and a virtual and in-person space, when it is safe to do so, for fellows to create the materials they need to enter the industry.
According to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, 91% of television show creators are white, and 81% are men. The Disruptors began in 2020 to shift this landscape to include creatives of color from different backgrounds and to normalize narratives that have historically been underrepresented in television, starting with investing in these screenwriters from the very beginning of their careers.
Co-created by undocumented artists Julio Salgado and Kat Evasco, The Disruptors is a program of The Center for Cultural Power and was designed to address a critical gap in the Hollywood talent pipeline and provide training, support, time, and connections for Black, Indigenous, and writers of color, who otherwise don’t have access to these critical resources at the start of their careers. Masterclass instructors and mentors include Shantira Jackson (Big Mouth, The Amber Ruffin Show), Zackery Alexzander Stephens (Our Flag Means Death, Q-Force), Victor Dueñas (East Los High, BUNK'D), Zenzele Price (WeCrashed, Kindred), and Jennifer Yale (Dexter, Outlander). This year’s partners supporting the program include Final Draft, Popshift, and Young Entertainment Activists.
“We are thrilled to be announcing our third iteration of The Disruptors fellowship. As new research continues to offer insights into the lack of diversity in media – highlighting the demand for underrepresented content creators in front of and behind the camera, The Disruptors seeks to mend the gap to create a sustainable pipeline of talented emerging television writers of color and provide those breakthrough opportunities,” said Julio Salgado, Program Manager at The Center for Cultural Power.
In its third iteration, the three-month-long program will select 10 LA-based television screenwriters to participate. Each fellow will receive a $6,000 stipend. During the program, each fellow will:
- Be paired with a mentor who is currently working as a writer in the industry.
- Attend masterclasses with experts on drama writing, comedy writing, crime drama writing, and pilot pitching.
- Workshop a pilot for the duration of the fellowship.
- Receive writing structure and storytelling coaching to assist in their pilot development.
- Pitch their pilot for a panel of industry experts.
- Participate in a two-day virtual showcase attended by showrunners, producers, agents, representatives, and other industry experts.
“Diverse communities often struggle to break into the industry, which is why we equip our fellows with the tools for success – being paired up with a mentor who will help them workshop a pilot of their own, a supportive community of BIPOC voices, and a stipend. Over the past years, we have seen how beneficial this program has been for the fellows as they walk away with professional and personal growth and the instruments to improve the representation and portrayal of BIPOC communities in media,” said Julio Salgado, Program Manager at The Center for Cultural Power.
Applications are open through June 3, 2022. The application and more information can be found at https://www.artistdisruptors.org/.