Disney General Entertainment has selected the 12 participants for its 32nd annual Writing Program.

The one-year initiative offers promising young writers the chance at staff writing assignments on a DGE series. Participants are also provided with mentorship, professional development opportunities and access to DGE’s network of executives, producers, showrunners and alumni.

The program also provides participants with salary and benefits, and writers who are staffed on a DGE scripted series will be compensated at WGA scale, according to Disney.

“The Creative Talent Development & Inclusion team is proud to launch this extremely talented group of writers into the next phase of their career,” said Tim McNeal, senior vice president of Disney’s CTDI team. “The flagship Writing Program is one of the critical ways CTDI connects creative talent to opportunities across Disney and continues to fuel our company’s staffing pipeline specifically for emerging, diverse TV writers. We look forward to seeing this cohort shape the next generation of producers and showrunners.”

Disney Writing Program alumni include many prominent and award-winning series creators, producers and showrunners such as Zahir McGhee (“Queens”), Saladin Patterson (“The Wonder Years” and “Dave”), Peter Saji (“mixed-ish”), Anthony Sparks (“Queen Sugar”) and Ayanna Floyd Davis (“The Chi”).

Last year’s participants secured writing jobs on shows such as ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” “Queens,” “Station 19,” “Maggie,” “The Conners” and “Home Economics,” as well as Disney Branded Television shows “Raven’s Home,” “Big Shot” and “BUNK’D,” among other shows.

Here is the full list of 2022 participants:


Amanda Mercedes, “13 Reasons Why” writers’ assistant (Belmont, N.C.)

Ariana Quinonez, “Roswell, New Mexico” writers’ assistant (Bakersfield, Calif.)

Carlton Gillespie, sports and live events producer (Oxnard, Calif.)

J.D. Shields, podcast and interactive games writer/narrative designer (Decatur, Ga.)

Jeff Qiu, “Locke & Key” writers’ assistant (Glendora, Calif.)


Austin S. Harris, ABC Current Programming assistant (Willingboro, N.J.)

Kelly Eisenbrand, development intern/freelance journalist (Moorpark, Calif.)

Kris Crenwelge, “Spirit Rangers” animated series staff writer/standup and improv comedian (Katy, Texas)

Mattie Bayne, “Never Have I Ever” writers’ assistant (Baltimore, Md.), who was also named Disney Branded Television’s Eunetta T. Boone Comedy Writer Scholar.

Mithra Alavi, development coordinator/writer/filmmaker (Johnson City, Tenn.)

Randall Valdez-Castillo, “Mythic Quest” writers’ assistant (San Antonio, Texas)

Steph Garcia, “The Catch” writers’ PA/unscripted programming consulting producer (Elizabeth, N.J.)

(Pictured: Top row, from left: Mattie Bayne, Randall Valdez-Castillo and J.D. Shields; middle row: Steph Garcia, Austin S. Harris, Amanda Mercedes, Carlton Gillespie and Kelly Eisenbrand; bottom row: Ariana Quinonez, Kris Crenwelge, Mithra Alavi and Jeff Qiu)