The new TV writers residency program, which was launched in February, offers a paid, eight-month residency program to a group of writers who have each previously been staffed on series and want to create their own drama series for cable and streaming. The writers are paired with experienced showrunners and/or executive producers who act as mentors.
The goal of the new venture is to creatively and financially support TV writers from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences, and for each participant to generate a market-ready, straight-to-series project.
The first class writers of will be comprised of Iden Baghdadchi (“Marvel’s Agents of Shield”), Brian Buccellato (DC Comics’ “The Flash”, “Batman”), Jalysa Conway & Rebecca Murga (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Letter”), Desta Tedros Reff (“Sorry For Your Loss”), Jovan Robinson (“The Code”), Susan Cohen & Sydnie Suskind (“How to Beat Your Sister-in-Law (at everything)”), Robert Taylor (“Spirit Riding Free”), and Tracy A. Whitaker (“Blindspot”).
“We’re thrilled to have found such a dynamic group of ambitious creative voices and to have the commitment of so many accomplished writer-producers who will be their mentoring partners,” said Elsie Choi, former head of development for Mad Rabbit and executive director of the Rideback TV Incubator. “Along with MRC, we’re eager to help our creators bring their ideas to life in new series that reflect their backgrounds and contribute to the cultural zeitgeist.”
They will be mentored by the following showrunners/EPs: Amy Berg (“Counterpart,” “Caper,” “Eureka”), Jeremy Doner (“Damages,” “The Killing”), the duo of Susanna Fogel (“The Spy Who Dumped Me,” “Booksmart”) & David Iserson (“Mad Men,” “New Girl”), Doug Jung (“Big Love,” “Banshee,” “Star Trek Beyond”), Melissa Scrivner Love (“Fear the Walking Dead,” “Person of Interest”), Glen Mazzara (“The Walking Dead, Damien,” “The Dark Tower”), and Charles Murray (“Luke Cage,” “Sons of Anarchy”).
Writers and Mentors (referred to as creators and producers, respectively, in the program) will work both in pairs and as a group in the writers’ room during the program.
“Rideback and MRC are putting their faith in voices who aren’t heard from nearly enough and allowing them to flex their muscles from ideation to execution. The creators are coming to us with strong points of view and a lot of life experience. I love that they don’t have to wait for the industry to decide when they deserve an opportunity to tell their stories. The Incubator allows them to reach out and grab it for themselves,” said Berg.
The class of creatives will work out of Rideback Ranch, a new creative campus in LA’s Historic Filipinotown. The incubator’s curriculum will focus on story and character development in a writers’ room style, beginning with the ideation stage of development. Kiri Hart, who established the Lucasfilm Story Group overseeing “Star Wars” development and now acts as a consultant for Lucasfilm, will also provide one-on-one sessions with each writer.
The program kicks off May 1 and runs through the end of 2019.
(Pictured above: the inaugural 2019 incubator class. Top row, left to right: Robert Taylor, Susan Cohen, Sydnie Suskind, Jovan Robinson, and Tracy A. Whitaker. Bottom row, L to R: Rebecca Murga, Desta Tedros Reff, Iden Baghdadchi, Jalysa Conway, and Brian Buccellato.)