Comedy writers Emman Sadorra and Ida Yazdi and drama writers Hernán Barangan, Aurora Ferlin, Amelia Swedeen, Varta Torossian, Tommar Wilson and William Yu have been selected for the 2022-23 class of the NBC TV Writers Program.
The program, formerly known as Writers on the Verge, was created in 2005 to prepare diverse, emerging writers for careers in television, The program is hosted by NBCU Launch , the umbrella brand that houses the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across NBCU’s television portfolio.
The 2022-23 class of eight was chosen out of 2,100 applicants.
Over the next eight months, the new class will develop an original pilot under the guidance of NBCUniversal programming executives. They will also participate in weekly workshops that will include writing intensives, mock showrunner meetings and personal branding sessions. At the conclusion of the program, they’ll be considered for available writing assignments on shows airing on NBCU Television and Streaming networks and streaming platforms as well as USG-produced series.
While the primary objective of the program is to prepare writers to be staffed on a scripted series, the ultimate goal is to develop the next generation of showrunners and content creators, according to NBCU Launch. Recent success stories include alumni Debby Wolfe, showrunner and co-creator of NBC’s upcoming comedy Lopez vs. Lopez for Universal Television; Claudia Forestieri, creator and executive producer of HBO Max’s Gordita Chronicles; and Justin Hillian, showrunner and executive producer of Showtime’s The Chi.
All of the writers from the most recent 2020-21 class have been staffed on series following the completion of the program with several on NBC or Universal Studio Group-produced shows: Cristina Boada on NBC’s The Endgame and now The Blacklist, Hakim Hill on upcoming Peacock and USG’s Hysteria!, Eric Glover on The CW’s Tom Swift, Sujana Gowni on Netflix’s The Henna Artist and now Apple TV+ and USG’s The White Darkness, Julian Johnson on Netflix’s The Beast in Me and now on Peacock and USG’s Bel-Air, Shawn Parikh on NBC’s Night Court, Hussain Pirani on CBS and USG’s FBI: International and Kim Tran on Netflix’s Space Force.
Read the bios of the 2022-23 NBC TV Writers Program class, provided by NBCU Launch, below:
Emman Sadorra is a second-generation Filipino-American queer writer drawn to telling stories about the complexities of identity and finding humor in unexpected places. Sadorra has worked in TV development and been a showrunner’s assistant, working on NBC comedies “I Feel Bad” and “Kenan” as well as ABC’s “Black-ish.” More recently, Sadorra has written for the revival of Nickelodeon’s iconic show “Blue’s Clues & You.” He is currently seeking representation.
Ida Yazdi is an Iranian-American writer raised between Isfahan, Iran and Birmingham, Ala. Her work often explores themes of cultural identity, alienation and otherness. She builds narratives that examine both the humor and pain that comes with starting over in life, specifically through the lens of Muslim and Middle Eastern women. Her pilot, “Andi, Today,” was also featured on the 2021-22 Muslim List, created in partnership with the Black List, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and Pillars Fund to highlight the best unproduced scripts from Muslim writers. Yazdi was accepted into the Writers Guild Foundation’s Writers’ Access Training Program, Women in Film Writers Mentorship Program, and the STARZ #TakeTheLead Writers’ Intensive. The Columbia graduate previously worked as a script coordinator for several shows, including Apple TV+’s “City on Fire” and HBOMax’s “The Girls on the Bus.” She is currently seeking representation.
Hernán Barangan was diagnosed with leukemia as a teenager and while undergoing radiation therapy, fell in love with movies as a way to escape. He graduated from high school and cancer the same year and in the following decade would discover that storytelling is about facing your fears. Since then, Barangan, who is of Salvadoran and Filipino descent, has built a career that spans screenwriting, VR and documentaries. He directed and starred in “Cancer Rebellion,” a documentary executive produced by Roger Daltry of the Who, and interviews 100 young adult cancer patients across the United States. He is repped by Echo Lake Entertainment.
Aurora Ferlin is a writer of Belgian and Rwandan descent who grew up on the outskirts of Brussels. With a background in journalism, she’s passionate about putting a spotlight on marginalized voices. Her work often explores themes of social justice, involving issues of race, crime, class and their intersections. Her feature screenplay, “Vilomah,” was a quarterfinalist in 2020 for the prestigious Academy Nicholl Fellowship, an international screenwriting competition created by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Most recently, she wrote the Lifetime movie “She Went Missing,” which premiered in April 2022, and pilot episodes of “Mahogany Sunset” and “A New Day,” the first scripted podcasts under Hallmark’s Mahogany banner. Her other work includes feature documentary “Jim Brown’s Amer-I-Can Dream,” about NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown and his work with at-risk youth that earned a Best Documentary nominee at the American Black Film Festival. Outside of writing, Ferlin has worked closely with community activists and at-risk youth in Los Angeles to end the cycle of gun violence and youth incarceration. She is currently seeking representation.
Amelia Swedeen was born and raised in Madison, Wisc., where she was known as her high school’s resident documentarian and disability advocate. Swedeen studied Film Production at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, but TV writing quickly became her favorite medium for telling stories that elevate disabled, neurodivergent and queer identities. Swedeen considers herself to be a TV fan just as much as she is a writer, and she once made a live appearance in cosplay on “Talking Dead” (her first and last time in front of the camera). Swedeen has been on the support staff of six shows, most recently the second season of “Power Book IV: Force,” for which she is co-writing the finale. She is repped by Writ Large.
Varta Torossian is a multicultural writer-director with roots in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. She traveled the world with a dance company until landing in New York. Torossian decided to pursue a career in screenwriting despite barely speaking English. In just a few years, she was able to earn two master’s degrees in directing and screenwriting. The AFI graduate went on to write and direct several award-winning short films while her feature scripts have been finalists at Final Draft’s Big Break, ScreenCraft and Cinequest. Torossian has worked across many genres on TV shows, feature films, documentaries and unscripted programming. Her stories always feature misfits, outsiders and renegades who, just like her, straddle many identities. Torossian is currently seeking representation.
Tommar Wilson is a Kansas-born military brat who spent 20 years as an actor in multiple Broadway productions, including “Hamilton,” “Hair” and the vampire musical “Lestat.” He has also appeared on-screen in “Boardwalk Empire,” “Instinct” And “The Good Fight,” among others. As a writer, Wilson creates family drama featuring grounded characters navigating life through heightened, and sometimes fantastical, realities. He is particularly focused on telling stories that center gay Black protagonists, and exploring important issues such as mental health, addiction and the elusive human connection, while leaving plenty of room for joy and humor. He earned a quarterfinalist honor in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ prestigious Nicholl Fellowship for his original feature screenplay, “Up, Up, and Away!,” and has been honored by other fellowships and contests for his pilots “Romance Is Dead,” “Chorus Boy” and other original works. Wilson is a graduate of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, and the UCLA Professional Program in TV Drama Writing. He is currently seeking representation.
William Yu is a Korean-American screenwriter based in Los Angeles via Philadelphia, Hong Kong, Boston and New York. After creating #StarringJohnCho, the viral phenomenon that sparked a global conversation about Asian-American representation, he left his advertising career behind to write subversive stories that wink at you with a hopeful smile. His feature romantic comedy, “It Was You,” was selected to the annual Black List and is currently in development with “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu attached as an executive producer. Yu’s dramedy pilot, “Good Boy,” was selected for the 2020 Sundance Episodic Makers Lab and named to the 2020 CAPE List as a top screenplay by an AAPI writer. He is repped by Bellevue and APA.
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