Nickelodeon has selected 10 participants for this year’s annual writing and artists programs. Chosen by the ViacomCBS office of global inclusion, four up-and-coming TV writers and six aspiring artists (one more than last year) will get to sharpen their skills at the Nickelodeon studio.
The four writers are Kobie Scott (pictured top right), a Georgia Southern University grad with a major in writing and linguistics and a minor in animation; Lauren Monroe (pictured top right), a queer and neurodiverse writer who creates fantasy worlds for kids with queerness and nuanced perspectives on diverse bodies and brains; Hannah Surie (pictured bottom left), a writer/performer from a mixed-race family who wants to write more roles for women who look like her; and Frank Paiva (pictured bottom right), a queer comedy writer in LA who’s focused on LGBTQ history and body positivity.
All of the writing program participants will get the opportunity to network with Nickelodeon execs and content creators as they write scripts, pitch story ideas and attend workshops, seminars and classes during the year-long program. They’ll be individually paired with the following mentors: Linda Halder (senior manager of live-action development), Mary Harrington (executive producer of preschool development) and Conrad Montgomery (VP of animation development).
This year’s artist participants are: Cherrie Wang, a USC computer science and engineering grad who is pivoting into a storyboarding career; Katarina Perez, a Mexican-American artist with a Bachelor of Animation degree from the University of Texas in Dallas; Roger Hernandez, a CG-focused artist with a passion for sculpting 3D models; Emily Monjaraz, a former children’s book illustrator and toy graphic designer who wants to create stories and characters for kids that represent the world in which she grew up; Sacramento’s Booker Jackson, who aspires to diversify animation and mentor next-gen talent; and David Lu, a Canadian coder looking to live his dream of making cartoons.
Wang and Jackson both chose to take advantage of the program’s storyboard track; Perez picked the CG track and Hernandez the CG generalist track; and Monjaraz and Lu opted for general design.
During the six-month program, they will learn about various stages of production from lead artists at Nick including Ashley Kliment (art director on The Loud House), Jeff Chozon and Jermaine Jose (who both art-directed transformers), Kimberly Mills (storyboard director on big nate), Vypac Voeur (lead CG generalist from big nate), Chris Graham (supervising director on Santiago of the Seas) and Sica Von Medicus (CG supervisor on Max & The Midnights).
Alumni from Nick’s writing and artists programs now work on shows such as Middlemost Post, That Girl Lay Lay and Kamp Koral. And others have landed freelance and staff jobs at companies including DreamWorks, Netflix, Disney+ and Cartoon Network.