CBS has selected six writers to participate in its 2018-19 writer development program.
The Writers Mentoring Program calls for promising scribes to go through an eight-month mentoring program that pairs each writer with a CBS Corp. executive to help them develop a piece of material. The writers also take part in a 16-week workshop designed to teach them the basics of the television biz and give them networking access to talent agents, managers, executives, showrunners and producers.
“We’re passionate about providing exposure, access and opportunity to these talented, deserving writers,” said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, CBS’ exec VP of entertainment diversity, inclusion and communications. “This program teaches the skills necessary for cultivating writers who will one day create and run their own shows.”
The participants were culled from a pool of more than 1,500 applications for the program that CBS has run since 2004. The program has helped launch the careers of more than 75 writers, including several working on current CBS and CW series: Munis Rashid (“S.W.A.T.”), Teresa Huang (“Seal Team”) and Allyssa Lee (“Charmed”).
Here’s a list of the six 2018-19 participants:
Lisa Bao, Drama Writer
Lisa Bao was born in Shenyang, China, and grew up in the Inland Empire, Calif. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California Irvine, and a J.D. from Cardozo Law School. Most recently, Lisa was a 2018 CAPE New Writers Fellow, and is currently a civil litigator by day.
Rashaan Dozier-Escalante, Drama Writer
Rashaan Dozier-Escalante was raised in Atlanta, Ga. She is a former member of the U.S. Army Reserves and a former Senior Physical Security Analyst for several federal agencies. Rashaan holds a B.A. from Kansas State University and is a graduate of the Writer’s Guild Foundation, Veteran’s Writing Project. Currently, she is working toward an M.F.A. in Television and Screenwriting from Stephens College. Rashaan’s action drama pilot, “McKenna’s Callings,” was chosen for the 2018 Producer’s Guild of America Power of Diversity Master Workshop Class.
Aaron Izek, Comedy Writer
Aaron Izek is a comedy writer and director with a background in sketch. Born in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, Aaron fled to Los Angeles and graduated from USC’s film school and playwriting program. Previously, he’s written for The CW’s “Fan Talk” online and put up multiple shows with the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) and the comedy group The ScubaGuyz, while also working on video sketches which have been featured by CollegeHumor. Aaron’s had multiple scripts get “second rounded” by the Austin Film Festival and is currently developing a live-action show with Nickelodeon, all while continuing to write, direct and perform regularly around Los Angeles.
Corey Moore, Drama Writer
Corey Moore was born and raised in Detroit, Mich. and graduated from Wayne State University. He’s an award-winning journalist who has lived in Washington, D.C., New Orleans and Los Angeles, where he reported for KPCC: Southern California Public Radio and NPR. Throughout his years of working the breaking news beat, Corey would devote his spare time to creative storytelling. He has placed in coveted screenwriting competitions, including the Academy Nicholl Fellowships and the Austin Film Festival, which named Corey one of its 25 screenwriters to watch in 2018.
Christina Piña, Drama Writer
Christina Piña was born in Miami, Fla., where she was raised by a family of Cuban immigrants. She graduated from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts with a BFA in Writing for Screen and Television, and was a recipient of both USC’s Mary Pickford Scholarship Award and the Bernard R. Kantor Award. Most recently, Christina was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Sundance Episodic Lab.
Dimitry Pompée, Comedy Writer
Dimitry Pompée was born and raised in Manchester, NH by Haitian immigrant parents. He holds a BA in political science and a BS in public policy from James Madison University, as well as a master’s degree in legislative affairs from The George Washington University. Before moving to Los Angeles, Dimitry worked in government relations for the United States Navy and the United States Postal Service in Washington, D.C. In 2016, his satirical article, “Make a Smart Choice at the Polls This Primary Season in 7 Easy Steps,” was published on The Second City Network.
(Pictured: Top row: Lisa Bao, Rashaan Dozier-Escalante and Aaron Izek. Bottom row (L-R): Corey Moore, Christina Piña and Dimitry Pompée)