The Writers Guild of America West’s has announced its 2019 TV Writer Access Project honorees: 21 diverse writers whose work has been cited by a committee of high-level writers and showrunners in Comedy (Half-Hour) and Drama (One-Hour) script categories. Now in its tenth year, the WGAW’s decade-long TV WAP program is part of the Guild’s ongoing efforts to increase diversity and promote inclusiveness in the entertainment industry.
2019 TV WAP Drama Honorees
· Sabrina Almeida, Die Spinne (The Spider)
· Allen Clary, Orchard Drive
· Anya Leta, Points of Origin
· Lisa Long, Cimarron County
· D.H. Miller, Freshwater
· John-Paul Nikel, Metro
· Adam Rodman, Promises To Keep
· Deanna Shumaker, Long Lost
· Matthew White, Echo
· Jai Tiggett, Black Magic
2019 TV WAP Comedy Honorees
· Cindy Appel, Ride or Die
· Chelsea Catalanotto, Colonize This
· Elise D’Haene, Old Dykes
· Anne Gregory, Fucked
· Chase Heinrich & Micah Steinberg, Grindrs Keepers
· Lena Kouyoumdjian, Party Girls
· Brent Piaskoski, Humor Me…It’s Time For Your Next Act
· Rachel Palmer & David Shecter, For Worse
· Kate Spurgeon, Rx
This year’s 21 TV WAP honorees include eleven writers in the women’s category (including one writing team), four LGBTQ+ writers (including one writing team), two minority writers, two writers with disabilities, and two writers age 55 and older. For more information about this year’s TV WAP honorees, and to access their work, click here.
“Now in its tenth year, the WGAW TV Writer Access Project has recognized over 150 honorees. During this time, the program has witnessed varying advancements – from jumpstarting members’ careers to providing a space for unrepped members to find representation. All too often we hear that writers from marginalized backgrounds can’t be found. The TV Writer Access Project is just one effort in which to address this industry-wide concern,” said WGAW’s Inclusion & Equity Director Tery Lopez.
The honorees will have their work spotlighted industry-wide via the Guild, as well as participate in a series of WGAW-hosted workshops in March designed to equip them with the skills sets and the necessary tools to develop and sustain successful television writing careers.
For TV WAP consideration, qualified WGAW members in five industry-underrepresented categories – minority writers, writers with disabilities, women writers, LGBTQ+ writers, and writers age 55 and older – were eligible to submit an unproduced half-hour or one-hour spec script. Entries were read and scored on a blind submission basis by a panel of judges comprised of Guild members with extensive television writing experience.
Launched in 2009 and administered by the WGAW’s Inclusion & Equity Department, the Guild’s program is designed to identify and recognize outstanding diverse writing talent and provide access to their work to entertainment industry decision-makers, including showrunners, producers, network and studio executives, agents, and managers.
“All too often when people are looking to diversify their staffs and make them more inclusive, they say ‘We can’t find any writers.’ With the TV Writer Access Project, there’s no excuse. For ten years the WGAW has identified and supported talented writers who can crush it in any writers’ room. If you want stars, here they are,” said TV WAP Advisor and Inclusion & Equity Group Co-Chair Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead, Damien), who also runs the Guild’s TV WAP program seminars with fellow WGAW members Leo Chu & Eric Garcia (Prince of Peoria, Supah Ninjas!).
The Guild’s TV WAP program generates tangible results for its participants: “Validation by my WGA peers and being selected as a WAP Honoree was a crucial component to a career resurgence for me. It allowed me to find new representation and, through the workshops, I gained valuable insights on how to effectively market my own story. I also made wonderful new writer friends that continue to provide a network of camaraderie and support,” remarked previous TV WAP honoree Tonya Kong (Marvel’s Daredevil, Arrow).
This year’s TV WAP received 133 total submissions from Guild members: 48 women writers, 34 minority writers, 21 LGBTQ+ writers, 27 writers age 55 and older, and three writers with disabilities.
The program enlisted WGAW members to serve as 70 first-round judges (37 drama / 33 comedy), and 39 second-round judges (22 drama / 17 comedy). Second-round judges included WGAW members/writers David Shore (The Good Doctor, House), Steven Canals (Pose, Dead of Summer), Jane Espenson (Once Upon a Time, Torchwood), and Stacy Traub (black-ish, The Real O’Neals).