Guild taps scribes for pilot program for minorities

The Writers Guild of America West has tapped a quintet of scribes for its Feature Access Project, a pilot program aimed at pushing the scripts of minority writers for possible development.

The five members, who competed in the guild’s pilot diversity screenwriting program, are Chuck Hayward for “Potluck,” Dwayne Johnson-Cochran for “Bibi,” Vivian Lee for “Eve at the Bar,” Zak Shaikh for “The Ignoble Rise of Lord Rex” and Paula Yoo for “Popular Science.”

“Our diversity programs introduce the industry to very talented WGA writers that may have been previously overlooked and also make the point: Good writers of all walks of life write good material and deserve to be hired based on their talent,” said Katherine Fugate (“Valentine’s Day”), an adviser to the program committee and a WGA West board member.

“By highlighting a strong pool of diverse candidates, we hope the program will be an important resource for executives who are acquiring or developing feature film scripts,” she added.

Each of the five will be paired with an established feature writer who will serve as a career mentor.

WGA West director of diversity Kimberly Myers said that the decision to target minority writers in the pilot program was based partly on data in the guild’s 2011 Hollywood Writers Report.

“Statistically, minority writers are the most underemployed group of writers in feature films,” she added. “In fact, in 2009, the employment of minority writers in feature films declined for the first time in a decade — from 6% to 5% of all writers employed in this segment.”

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