Nickelodeon has selected five new participants to join its 19th annual Writing Program, including the program’s first-ever preschool-specific finalist. The Nickelodeon Writing Program offers aspiring television writers with diverse backgrounds from all over the globe the opportunity to hone their skills while writing for both live-action and animated shows. Based in Burbank, participants will develop their skills with hands-on work during the year-long program.
“Nickelodeon is thrilled to welcome this next group of creative minds and storytellers into the program,” said Sherley Ibarra, Director of the Nickelodeon Writing Program. “The expansion to include a preschool-focused writing track displays our commitment to finding and growing new talent in a space where Nickelodeon remains the top destination for kids.”
All participants will have the opportunity to network with executives and show creators, gain hands-on experience writing spec scripts, pitching story ideas, and have access to workshops, seminars, classes and real-world writers’ rooms. The new preschool-focused writing path is a modified six-month program, similar to the international track introduced in 2014.
Established in 2000, the worldwide program was developed to broaden Nickelodeon’s outreach efforts, in order to mine new generations of creative talent and nurture their development for positions on Nickelodeon network productions in Burbank, Calif.
The five 2018 Writing Program participants include:
Halima Lucas: From Stockton, Calif., Lucas honed her craft at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she wrote and directed the award-winning coming-of-age thesis film, Amelia’s Closet. She recently participated in “Break The Room,” a writer’s initiative sponsored by Pop Culture Collab, MuslimArc and Nickelodeon Writing Program alum Sameer Gardezi.
Sarah Allan: Born and raised in New England, Allan came to screenwriting by way of drama. She attended the New York University Tisch Drama Program, previously performed Shakespeare in Hell’s Kitchen and has experience terrifying visitors of Madison Square Garden’s haunted house. Following a chance opportunity, she wrote the tagline for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and fell in love with professional writing.
Crescent Novell: A lifelong writer, Novell was named “Class Writer and Friend” in seventh grade and never looked back. As a writer of poems and songs, she published a chapbook and also performed on college tours as a spoken word artist. Working towards translating these skills to television, she is currently a writer and producer of theater for schools and local communities.
Michael Olmo (Preschool Participant): Olmo is the program’s first-ever preschool-specific program participant. Born into a Puerto Rican family in New York, the importance of reading and writing was impressed on Olmo at an early age. He is a natural storyteller, pursuing a professional screenwriting career, inspired by creating personalized narratives every night for his daughter at bedtime.
K-Ci Williams (International Participant): Williams hails from New Zealand and has always dreamed of “writing his way out” to the United States. As a writer, and a singer, he wants to give a voice to his heritage and tell the stories of his people.
Alumni of the program who have gone on to hold positions on Nickelodeon shows include Jonathan Butler and Gabriel Garza (creators, Bella and the Bulldogs), Karla Sakas (story editor, The Loud House), Jeff Sayers (staff writer, Wonder Park), Tillery Johnson (staff writer, Glitch Techs) and Josh Brown (freelance writer, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Outside of Nickelodeon, many program alumni have gone on freelance and staff positions at various networks, including HBO, DreamWorks, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, Kids’ WB!, ABC, FOX, PBS, Cartoon Network and The CW.
For more information on the Nickelodeon Writing Program, visit @NickWriting on Twitter and Facebook.