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WE ARE THE STORYTELLERS

Our Writing Program is one of the best in the biz. Consider the facts: alum have gone on to create their own Nickelodeon shows and write for all sorts of TV series and films. While in the Program, writers meet our series creators, work in writers’ rooms, attend storyboard pitches, show tapings and more. Oh, and they write a lot too, all while being provided a salaried position for up to one year!

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Important Submission Dates

Applicants that were not selected will be notified by mail, by the end of October. Please note: notification dates are subject to change.

HOW TO APPLY

You must be 18 years or older to participate. You must possess and present evidence of identity and United States employment eligibility (valid for the duration of the Program). If you have previously applied to the Program and have not been selected, you are welcomed and encouraged to apply again. However you are required to submit a different spec script for each new submission period.

script preparation

Script Guidelines

All applicants must submit a writing sample. Appropriate Spec Scripts must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Must be Comedic; either Live Action or Animation
  • Based on a half-hour television series that is currently on-air and being produced for primetime network or cable (series must have been on-air for at least one season)
  • Typed in standard Final Draft (or equivalent) script format
  • In black ink
  • In 12pt courier style font
  • On 8-1/2 x 11, 3-hole punched white paper
  • With only two brass fasteners (top & bottom)

The Following Materials Will Not Be Considered:

Feature-length screenplays, hour-long dramas, reality-based comedies or dramas, pilots, treatments, outlines, plays, short stories, books, graphics, magazine/newspaper articles, poems, headshots, audio/video tapes, digital media, loose-leaf pages or non-U.S. content.

Please note: Submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines will not be considered.

Complete Application

Application Form

Download your application form here. There is no application fee.

If you are unable to download the forms, contact us at info.writing@nick.com to request one. Include your name and mailing address (including zip code). Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.

ASSEMBLY SUBMISSION

ASSEMBLY DIRECTIONS

Application materials should be clipped to the front of the writing sample and not bound within material. All spec scripts must include a cover page listing the show name and show title, along with your name, address, and telephone number (please do not put your name on every page).

SUBMISSION MATERIALS TO INCLUDE

  • Two copies of one spec script (this applies to both individual writers and writing teams)
  • One-page resume
  • Half-page biography
  • Completed and signed application form
  • Completed and signed submission release form and Schedule A (included with application)
SEND SUBMISSION

SEND COMPLETED SUBMISSION PACKET TO:

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
ATTN: Nick Writing Program
231 W. Olive Ave.
Burbank, CA 91502

Thank you for applying to the Nickelodeon Writing Program. Good luck!

- Nick Writing Program -

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is the Program a full-time program?

Yes, the Program is a full-time position with expected one year duration; however, employment is on an “at will” basis. Due to the intensive nature of the Program, you may not hold other employment or be enrolled in school on a full-time basis during the Program period if it will interfere with any aspect of your time commitment to the Program.

Is it necessary to have professional writing experience to apply for the Program?

Although professional writing experience is not necessary (i.e. having worked as a writer), a strong writing background is encouraged.

If I work for Nickelodeon or other Viacom employers am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, all Viacom employees are eligible to apply for the Program.

Will you confirm receipt of my application package and spec script?

Due to the high volume of applicants, we are unable to provide that information. However, to ensure proof of mailing you may wish to send your submission by registered mail or other similar services.

In the case of a writing team, what should our submission include?

Along with two copies of your one spec script, each partner must include a separate application (which includes a Submission Release Form & Schedule A), a separate bio and a separate resume, all in one package. Please do not send two separate packages.

Can I submit my own original idea for a pilot, a play, or a poem?

No. Original material will NOT be accepted. You must submit a spec script of an already existing television comedy series. All other submissions will be returned to the applicant – unread.

Can I submit my feature spec script?

Spec scripts can only be for half-hour comedic television series. Feature length specs will not be accepted and will be returned to the applicant – unread.

Can I submit a script for an hour long comedy series?

Only half-hour spec scripts are currently accepted.

Can I submit a spec script based on a show that is currently on air, but is in syndication (i.e. Fresh Prince of Bel Air)?

No, all spec scripts must be based on half-hour comedies that are currently being produced for primetime network or cable.

I have a couple of spec scripts that I think are really good. Can I submit more than one spec?

No – an applicant may NOT submit more than one spec. An applicant must submit (2) copies of ONE spec script.

Does my spec script have to be based on a Nickelodeon show?

No, your spec script is not required to be for a Nickelodeon show, nor does it need to be kid-friendly.

Does my script need to be in any particular format?

Yes. Scripts MUST BE TYPED and presented in the standard, industry-accepted format for sitcoms. Handwritten submissions will not be reviewed. Should you have questions about which formats are acceptable, there are publications as well as many additional online resources available. The computer program “Final Draft” is also a great aid in assisting in formatting your script.

What length should my spec script be?

The standard length for a half hour comedy is on average 35 pages.

Can you provide me with examples of scripts, show bibles, treatments, etc?

Unfortunately, for legal reasons, we are unable to provide you with any network materials.

I have a background in animation. Can I include my resume reel with my paper resume? Also, do you accept artwork, such as storyboards, along with written submissions?

The Nick Writing Program is completely based on writing in both animation and live action. There are no drawing requirements as part of the submission process as writing is the focus of our program. Therefore, you should not include your resume reel nor should you include any storyboards.

Can I also send in my headshot and acting resume along with my required application materials?

No, we are a writing-focused program. We do not need headshots or an acting resume. If any such materials are included with your application they will be returned to you unread.

Must I submit a resume even if I have not worked as a professional writer?

Yes. As a part of the review process, all applicants must submit a work resume and an autobiographical summary. Applications that do not include both of these items will not be considered.

If I wanted to submit a spec script based on a show that is broken into two 11-minute segments within one half-hour, do I need to submit a spec with two segments as opposed to one?

No. If submitting a spec based on a show that follows this format, please submit only one 11-minute spec.

Will I be able to receive feedback on my submission?

Due to the high volume of submissions to our Program, we are unable to provide you with such feedback.

How many writers are hired each year?

It varies, but we can accept up to four per year.

If accepted into the Program, when do participants begin?

Writers begin the Program in October.

Will I need to relocate to LA if I am accepted? Are moving/housing costs provided?

The Program takes place at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, CA. Yes, writers who are accepted will need to relocate to the LA area. Roundtrip airfare and one month’s accommodations are provided. However, all transportation (once in LA) and any moving costs are the individual writer’s responsibility.

Current Writers

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Nora Sullivan
2014/2015 Writing Program
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Lauren Ciaravalli
2014/2015 Writing Program
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Alan Van Dyke
2014/2015 Writing Program
Nora Sullivan
2014/2015 Writing Program

As a child growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Nora tortured her supportive family with countless plays she wrote and performed in the living room. Classics included Cinderella: The Girl Who Loved Cheese and Beauty and the Beast: On Ice! Except the Ice is a Mattress! It’s possible her family members didn’t love every minute of her performances, but they cheered her on anyway, and always made her feel like her stories were worth telling. So, she kept on telling them.

While Nora always cast herself as the lead, outside of the living room circuit she tended to land background dancer roles. It was a childhood of laughter and ill-fitting multi-colored unitards. But whether she was playing “Evil Snowflake #5” or “part of the whale that eats Jonah” (Catholic school), Nora always came up with an elaborate backstory to get into character. Somewhere along the line, she realized she liked coming up with the stories better than acting them out, and so she decided to become a writer.

Raised on a steady diet of Simpsons episodes, Nora knew very early that television should be a big focus of her life, and so it became the focus of her stories. While at soccer practice, she used to plot out entire episodes of Friends in her head. Admittedly, the episodes she came up with usually revolved around an 11-year-old Catholic schoolgirl inexplicably joining the friend group. Also admittedly, Nora didn’t score a lot of goals, but she mostly chalks that up to her lack of athletic ability.

While in college, Nora joined the Princeton Triangle Writer’s Workshop, writing musicals about plucky princesses, college admissions, and a very inconvenient apocalypse, which toured across the country. She had a great time putting together lyrics and sketches, but her favorite stories were still happening on TV. She loved following characters week to week, through years of adventures. Series finales broke her heart, and it was hard to say goodbye to the fake people that had become a part of her life. Friends suggested that maybe Nora cared too much, but she thought differently. Maybe she cared just enough to actually do this for a living.

So Nora went to USC and completed a MFA in Writing for Screen & Television. She wrote a lot, slept a little, and learned a ton from industry professionals and her fellow writers.

Nora is thrilled to be part of the Nickelodeon Writing Program. She’s still the girl who wants to tell stories to families in their living rooms. Only this time they’ll be TV shows instead of one-woman musicals. Nora hopes that someday, she’ll create a show that distracts kids everywhere during soccer practice.

Lauren Ciaravalli
2014/2015 Writing Program

Lauren was born in New York City one minute prior to her twin brother. They spent their early years fighting over what they should watch on TV. Luckily, they could both always agree on Nickelodeon. The twins spent many hours in their suburban living room pretending to be Reggie and Otto from Rocket Power, Cat and Dog from CatDog, Norbet and Dagett from The Angry Beavers, Ren and Stimpy from… you get the idea.

All this imaginary play paid off when Lauren started her writing career at the ripe age of thirteen. She was attending a private all-girls school at the time, so naturally Gilmore Girls was everyone’s favorite TV show. During the winter hiatus, Lauren and her friends were devastated to be deprived of their weekly dose of Lorelai and Rory, so Lauren went home and wrote her own episodes of the show. She brought the scripts to the dining hall where very official table reads were held at lunch. Lauren was officially hooked to storytelling.

In high school, Lauren redefined the age-old label “theater geek” by being the only theater geek who wanted to write, not perform. She directed plays, attended Shakespeare Camps, and competed in statewide one-act playwriting contests. When Lauren wasn’t helping out at musical rehearsals, she would cast drama club kids in her short films and hosted a series of table reads of her plays and screenplays in basements all across town.

Lauren studied Film & TV at NYU where she spent four glamorous years braving cold, rainy outdoor movie shoots, spending sleepless nights in the editing lab, hauling equipment up subway steps and subsisting on a diet of cold coffee, stale bagels and snickers bars. Film school was such a fun and creatively empowering experience, Lauren wished it was a soap opera so that it could go on forever. However, college came to a finale, and just like a hit TV show, it opened the door for a new, spinoff adventure. Upon graduation, this die-hard New Yorker moved to LA to pursue television.

Lauren survived the trenches of “Hollywood assistanting” during a yearlong job in the TV department at a talent and literary agency. She then worked as the showrunners’ assistant on a broadcast drama where she finally got to attend a table read in a production office and not a basement or school cafeteria.

When Nickelodeon offered her the chance to explore her dream of writing comedy for young people, she jumped at the chance. Lauren hopes to create characters and shows that inspire young people with overactive imaginations to be themselves and tell stories too.

Alan Van Dyke
2014/2015 Writing Program

Alan really doesn’t like writing about himself in the third person, but he’ll do it just this once. He was born in Shelby, North Carolina, because there is no hospital where his parents lived in Cliffside, NC (Population: 611). He would go on to live in Charlotte, Raleigh and Winston-Salem - always moving just in time for the local sports team to finally get good right as he left.

At age 5, Alan received full marks on a preschool evaluation for knowing the difference between up/down, near/far and big/small, but his teacher noted “we are still working with him on real/imaginary” (that work continues to this day!) For the next few years his attention was divided equally between attempting to catch small animals, creating elaborate dioramas with his Ninja Turtle figures, and spending perfectly nice afternoons with his eyes locked on Nickelodeon programming. To this day, most of his views about the world were directly shaped by The Adventures of Pete and Pete.

By age 10 - coinciding with the release of Jurassic Park - Alan’s dream was to write a novel that would be adapted for the screen. It only took him 8 years to realize he could cut a step out of that process by just writing a script himself. (This is good, because his 4th-grade attempt at a novel, about three dinosaurs who arrive on earth inside a meteor - and the plucky 4th-grader who saves his town from them - would have been very difficult to adapt.)

Alan chased that dream straight into the Screenwriting program at UNC School of the Arts, where he worked on over 60 student films and still managed to leave without hating movies. In fact, he loved writing enough to pack up three days after graduation for the move to sunny Los Angeles.

Before finding safe harbor in the Nick Writing Program, Alan worked as an advertising proofreader, a pizza cook, a laser tag referee - excuse me: “Game Master” - and a studio tour guide. Here at Nickelodeon, he feels like a kid in a candy shop - no, a kid in a candy FACTORY!

“Now it’s my turn to make some candy,” he chuckles to himself, looking out at the shiny candy machines. “Now it’s my turn.”

Read Bio

Writing Program Alum

2000/01 2001/02 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14
Sheela Shrinivas
Karla Sakas
Jeff Sayers
Courtney Lilly
2000/2001 Writing Program Alum

A graduate of Columbia University, Los Angeles comedy writer Courtney Lilly began his career as a journalist for the Providence Journal-Bulletin. In 2000 he won a Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship, moving him out to Los Angeles where he has written for shows such as Fox’s ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, UPN’s EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS and TBS’s MY BOYS. He is currently a writer and Supervising Producer for Fox’s “The Cleveland Show.”

Christopher Moore
2000/2001 Writing Program Alum

Christopher holds a BA degree in Radio Television and Film with an emphasis on Screenwriting. He also holds a second BA degree in Psychology from Cal State-Northridge.

Christopher received his big break in the screenwriting world when he won the Nick Writing Fellowship, where he was put under contract for one year to write two films.

His original screenplay God’s Child was optioned by Public I Entertainment. He has since adapted this screenplay into a self-published book, which has sold over 15,000 copies in one year.

He is currently working on a project called Da’ Street with Double Dutch Entertainment, which is currently being developed for Lions Gate Entertainment. Christopher is represented by Brad Rosenfeld at Preferred Artists, Talent Agency.

Ken Kwok
2001/2002 Writing Program Alum

Ken Kwok is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated photojournalist from the Bay Area. After eight years in journalism and working at newspapers around the country, he enrolled in the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television and graduated with an MFA in Screenwriting. In 2001, Ken was selected as a Nickelodeon Writing Fellow where he joined the writing staffs of “Taina” and “All That 8″. He has also written for the Nickelodeon show “Romeo!” Last season, Ken was a staff writer on the John Wells produced “Jonny Zero” for Fox.

Ken lives in the Pasadena area with his wife Christina and two daughters Emily and Hannah.

Dwayne Colbert
2003/2004 Writing Program Alum

Having worked in animation production for seven years prior in both TV and feature production, Dwayne was more than happy to move over to the creative side of the process when he was chosen as a fellow for the 2003-2004 Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship. That is, until he actually started writing. He soon realized that it doesn’t matter if you’re a writer or a P.A., making cartoons is difficult, but he still enjoys the collaborative environment.

During his stint as a fellow, he wrote two produced episodes of the currently Nickelodeon shows, “My Life as a Teenage Robot” and “The X’s,” respectively. Since the fellowship has ended, Dwayne and his writing partner, Shahrzad have recently penned another produced episode of “My Life as a Teenage Robot” and have new projects in various stages of development.

Shahrzad Safai
2003/2004 Writing Program Alum

Shahrzad Warkentin was born and raised in sunny Culver City, CA, where from an early age she knew she was destined to be a writer. After all, what other job would allow her to make stuff up for a living? She went on to study the ancient art of Screenwriting with Jesuit monks at Loyola Marymount University.

After spending a year working at Nickelodeon as a 2003-2004 Writing Fellow, she went on to co-write episodes for two Nickelodeon shows. She currently resides with her husband in Santa Monica, CA where she continues to toil away making stuff up.

Her hobbies include freestyle luge, sword swallowing, and training Bolivian circus bears to ride unicycles. She dedicates her work to her loving husband, her parents, and of course the big man upstairs… Elvis Presley.

Jessica Lopez
2003/2004 Writing Program Alum

As a child, Jessica Lopez dreamed of being one of Charlie’s Angels. Specifically, she wanted to be just like Farrah Fawcett, who in her eyes was a triple B: blonde, buxom and beautiful. She remembers studying her every move for the entire hour-long episode. By the end of the show’s run, she admits that she had those hair-flipping, booty-shakin’, karate-chop moves down to a T. As she grew a little older, however, she realized that though she could pour a bottle of peroxide in her hair, get plastic surgery and pack on the make-up she was just never going to be Farrah. This experience helped Jessica realize that there are very few Latinos on TV for other Latinos to look up to. And this has fueled her passion to write for film and television as she aspires to write more realistic roles for Latinos. Born and raised in Oxnard, California, Jessica is a graduate of the University of Southern California. After graduation, she secured a job as a staff writer for Lowrider Magazine. If there was ever a place to inspire a sitcom or a film that was it. Jessica completed a treatment for a sitcom pilot based on her experiences as the only female staff writer in the male-dominated world of lowriders. Eager to write the bigger story, Jessica has since adapted her experiences into a screenplay, Lo-Writing, which was selected by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers to be performed as a staged reading in Tucson, Arizona by the American Repertory Academy.

Aaron Amerling
2004/2005 Writing Program Alum

Aaron graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in East Asian History. Contrary to popular belief, and the promises of his professors, there were no big Asian History firms back east. Fame and fortune in the History biz on hold, Aaron quickly found a job in television. Within a short period of time he was writing and directing cheesy national commercials and infomercials.

Aaron graduated this semester at the top of his class with a Masters Degree in Film and Television from San Diego State University. While in school Aaron received SDSU’s highest award for scriptwriting. A comedy television spec earned Aaron the acclaimed Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship, beating out thousands of other writers. A short written by Aaron was a winner in the screenwriting category at the 2004 BestFest, the largest student film festival in the country. Aaron has also received the National Academy of Television Art and Sciences highest honor for students who show “promise” in television production, and was awarded it at the 2004 regional Emmys.

Rachel Ross
2004/2005 Writing Program Alum

They say everyone remembers their first love, but Rachel has three: story, teaching, and Troy from 1st grade. As a tiny girl, Rachel would string letters together on a page, illustrate it (usually horses with 10 legs) and “read” her writing. To anyone who knew her, it was painfully clear—she had the bug and there was no known cure. The prognosis was good with the proper treatment: Lots and lots of pencils, paper, and time alone to write.

Too many years to count later, Rachel still has the fever. In 2002, the pull of writing was strong enough to yank her away from three years of teaching 4th grade. She packed up and moved across two states to attend Chapman University as a graduate student pursuing an MFA in Screenwriting. She won a talent award/fellowship from Chapman, was a finalist for the Institute for Humane Studies Film and Fiction Scholarship, was nominated to be a Hayde Filmmaker-in-Residence Scholar, and finally was picked to be a Nickelodeon Writing Fellow. For Rachel, it has been a dream come true to work with network executives and be immersed in the culture of animation and television writing, and she looks forward to continuing to hone her craft. As for Troy, well, you know how it goes in first grade. Two out of three ain’t bad.

Kymberli Winter
2004/2005 Writing Program Alum

Kymberli discovered early on that writing was a powerful means of self expression. She would leave poems by her mother’s bedside apologizing for her behavior, because no, she did not want her mother’s head to “explode.” (No wonder Kymberli thought herself a seasoned poet by the age of seven; these notes were given on a daily basis). Not limiting herself to poetry, Kymberli took to songwriting at the age of nine and was shocked when “Blackjack” didn’t make the charts. Constantly seeking creative avenues, she ventured into acting, but then realized no other art form provided the same creative freedom of writing. With nothing more than fortitude, foolhardy naïveté, and her love for children and writing, Kym formed her own publishing company to self-publish a series of children’s books. After marrying and having two nunions of her own, Kymberli went back to school to simultaneously earn her B.A., Liberal Studies and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. On the verge of graduation, Kym still longed to pursue her creative talents when a friend informed her that yes, there was a way she could utilize both her educational background and creative skills – The Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship Program. The heavens parted and the angels sang, leaving Kymberli feeling more hopeful than when she wrote “Blackjack,” only to have her spirits sink when she realized the Program’s deadline was in two days. Faced with the momentous task of writing her first TV script, all while going through finals (she didn’t want to lose her Summa Cum Laude status), Kymberli wrote like she had never written before. Finishing “Bubblicious,” the title of her Spongebob Squarepants script, left Kymberli with such satisfaction. One could have knocked her over with a feather when just days prior to accepting a teaching position, she was notified of her acceptance as a Nickelodeon Writing Fellow. Now…she’s at a loss for words.

Sameer Asad
2005/2006 Writing Program Alum

Raised in Yorba Linda, California, also known as the birthplace of Richard Nixon, Sameer grew up in one of the most cultured, diverse, and progressive cities in the world. Partaking in the high arts of popsicle stick crafts and thumb paint, it was quite evident that Sameer had found his niche at an early age. In high school, that fervor to express himself only grew stronger as he dazzled his friends with his short stories and expository speeches. Having lost many friends, and consequently not being invited to parties from there on, Sameer took his extra free time to start pursuing his writing career.

Graduating suma cum laude with double honors from USC in Cinema-TV and Classics, Sameer knew his hard work would translate into success in the real world. Being unemployed for three months, Sameer started stealing his roommates possessions and sold them on eBay. After making $1.62, Sameer retired from the business of online auctioning. He camped outside Nick Studios and started panhandling. Ever since, he’s been squatting in the Writing Fellow’s Office. No one quite sure knows why he’s still here… but they’re too afraid to ask him to leave.

May Chan
2005/2006 Writing Program Alum

Born and raised in the mean suburbs of L.A., I grew up watching a lot of TV. I mean a lot of it. From Ren and Stimpy to I Love Lucy to Jeopardy, I watched it all. I decided at a that when I grew up, I would get a job where I could watch TV all day. Or work as a grocery store cashier. What can I say; the beep-beep scanners fascinated me.

Unfortunately, there was no “cashier” major in college. So when that dream was dashed, I decided to pursue a career in film and television. I took out a huge student loan to watch movies and party by the beach at UC Santa Barbara. It was there that I learned writing was my niche. After my four years was up, I left school with my B.A. degree in one hand and my promissory notes in the other.

I worked a few production assistant jobs, trying desperately to get my name in IMDB. I finally found a steady job working as a closed-captioner for television. You know, when you’re at a bar, and the TV is on, and words pop up on the screen? Yes, someone does type that. And no, I’m not a fast typist.

So I finally found that job where I get to watch TV for a living! Hooray! But alas, that was not enough, so I continued writing spec scripts, one right after another. And one fine day, after two years of typing someone else’s words and on the brink of carpal tunnel, I get a call from Nickelodeon. And the rest is history. Or is it just the beginning?

Ron Holsey
2005/2006 Writing Program Alum

Ron started out writing a humor column for his high school newspaper. He transitioned his ability to make fun of the Spice Girls into writing for a comedy musical revue while in college. He’s a recipient of Northwestern University’s Stephen B. May Scriptwriting Award and a research grant to study Belgian cinema in Brussels, where he spent a summer living with a Belgian communist (whose mother made delicious waffles.)

His stage plays include “The Best Christmas Murder Ever” (winner, Carolinas Contemporary Playwrights Festival, 2004, Baltimore Playwrights Festival, 2005) and “The Fabulous Dr. Butterscotch” (Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art, 2004). His short screenplay, “Normal People” was one of three finalists in the IFP-Chicago production fund and he is a recipient of a citation from the American Advertising Federation for copywriting.

A native of the Washington, DC area, Ron grew up on Nickelodeon, from “Pinwheel” and “Today’s Special” to “Salute Your Shorts” and “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.” His favorite cartoons are “Ren and Stimpy” and “The Mysterious Cities of Gold.”

Ron loves great poetry. He is also very partial to tea.

Jessica Gao
2006/2007 Writing Program Alum

Born in Beijing, China, and raised in just about every city in the San Gabriel Valley, Jessica moved around a lot during her childhood.

Thankfully, she was able to stay in one place during her middle and high school years in West Covina, which gave her the time and space to go through several embarrassing yet awesome teenage phases. To this day, she maintains that Covina has the best thrift stores and secretively guards their locations with her life.

In an attempt to avoid any instances of reading and writing, Jessica majored in Art at UCLA. By the second quarter into this troubled relationship, Jessica realized she kind of sort of hated Art and most of his friends. But her mama didn’t raise a quitter, so she stuck it out and received a B.A. in 2004. Along the way, she organized two comic book conventions through the UCLA Campus Events Commission, thereby adding “Huge Nerd” to her growing list of titles. Though she claims to have never cheated on Art, rumors of a torrid affair with Sociology have plagued her since.

After a year or two of living “the crazy life,” (which apparently to Jessica meant working at a convenience store, an entertainment marketing agency, running away to live in England, managing an art gallery and then returning to America as a fabulous temporary office worker) she hung up her walkin’ boots and settled down with her childhood sweetheart – Writing. The two have immediate plans to make script-babies as soon as possible.

Itai Grunfeld
2007/2008 Writing Program Alum

Itai failed Chemistry. A lot.

After flunking the midterm for a second time during his repeat year of Chemistry 101, Dr. Lefkovitz asked Itai what he wished to do with his life that would not require an even remedial understanding of the basic principles of high school Chemistry. Itai thought long and hard and then, with as straight a face as he could muster, responded, “I want to be a writer.” After the laughter subsided and the pity set in, Dr. Lefkovitz awarded Itai a passing grade of sixty-five.

Shocked that it worked, Itai used the same self-deprecating pity ploy to get out of Geometry, Economics and even Sex Ed, until he found himself in NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program. Unable to convince his writing teachers that he really wanted to be a Chemist, Itai was finally forced to start writing.

Upon graduation Itai left home (at the insistence of his parents) and moved to LA. Wasting little time, Itai quickly established himself as a young aspiring writer: leasing and insuring a Honda civic, obtaining a telemarketing position and spending his weekends manning the box office and cleaning the bathrooms at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.

When asked for advice by other aspiring writers, Itai strongly advocates mimicking the following three steps from which he has never deviated: (1) get a name no one can pronounce with no direct translation other than Japanese in which it means “ouch”, (2) be born in Israel, move to London, then to the Bronx followed by Brooklyn and make sure you get three passports out of the deal, and, above all else, (3) fail chemistry. A lot.

Kerri Grant
2007/2008 Writing Program Alum

Kerri was born in Jamaica and when she was 11 years old, settled in New York where she began writing really bad poems shortly thereafter. She got better and really liked writing so it only makes sense that when she went to The George Washington University known for its International Affairs program, she declared accounting as her major.

She stood by accounting publicly, wearing the navy blue suits, nurturing its payables, keeping its Securities and Exchange Commissions secrets. While in dimly lit corners of her bored and confused out of her mind, mind, she wrote. She was careful to keep writing hidden, only appearing with it on napkins and post-it notes and in journals.

Then came the day that she had to admit that she’d been consorting with metaphors, then later… characters and dialogue. She left accounting, threw away her watch (purely for the effect) and never looked back.

A stumbled upon advertising class led to a lucky internship in the field of, what Kerri understood only as “Not-Advertising,” or a TV station called Nickelodeon. A slew of bizarre characters (fictional and otherwise), a long love affair with writing and a very expensive vial of “let Kerri into the fellowship” potion later, has led to her current role as a Nickelodeon writing fellow. Now writing appears with Kerri openly in registered software and sometimes can even be heard out loud. She hopes they have an official coming out very, very soon.

Ed Valentine
2007/2008 Writing Program Alum

Ed grew up in New Jersey, but don’t hold that against him. Most recently he hails from NYC, and he’s now thrilled to be in sunny California.

Ed has been writing steadily since age 5. His first word was “tree,” but he’s written many other cool words since, such as “rutabaga” and “marmoset.” After graduating from Boston College, he was lured away from writing by stints as an NBC page, a puppeteer, a fourth grade teacher, and a writing instructor at NYU. Throughout all these jobs, though, he was secretly seeking the chance to make his living as a writer.

So he threw himself into evening playwriting classes and wrote plays featuring crocodile-faced presidents, boys with lobster hands, and figures from Americana such as Lizzie Borden. In time he won awards, saw his work performed across the U.S., and was even named by The Dramatist Magazine as one of “50 Writers to Watch” (which took the sting out of not being named one of People’s “50 Most Beautiful”).

Ed enrolled full-time at NYU to pursue a Masters in playwriting, only to find himself invited to come play with the smart, savvy TV folks there. He began to write television specs and won an award for Excellence in Children’s TV. Ed’s application to Nickelodeon’s Writing Fellowship found favor, and, well: here he is!

He sends a shout-out to his partner, a violinist, who’s holding down the fort in Manhattan. When Ed’s not writing, you can find him trying to spot dolphins in the sparkling Pacific. He’s absolutely delighted to be at Nick – this is a dream come true.

Ivory Floyd
2008/2009 Writing Program Alum

Many moons ago, Ivory was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, thus making him a cheese-head for life (to this day, Brett Favre is still a touchy subject). Unfortunately, Ivory wasn’t born with fangs or claws, which made him an easy meal for badgers, so his family decided to move to California’s Inland Empire, eventually settling in a funny sounding town called Rancho Cucamonga.

Ivory had always feared math and numbers in general, but loved writing classes, so after graduating from the University of California Irvine, he moved back home to Rancho and over the next two years, commuted to LA where he performed script coverage for a number of independent production companies. In his off time, he worked any job under the sun back home, ranging from Substitute Teacher to Abercrombie and Fitch sales person. Abercrombie and Fitch. Not Fun.

One day, a friend of Ivory’s emailed him a link to the Nickelodeon Fellowship Program and he managed to get all the way to the finals, but his arch-nemesis Professor Nervous popped him his patented Fear Ray and before you knew it, Ivory was back in Rancho drowning his sorrows in cookies and video games. By the way, he is now VERY good at Tekken.

After a month of self-pity, Ivory was determined to show the world what a kid from Rancho can do. So he re-dedicated his focus to writing, applied for the Fellowship the following year and after dodging yet another Fear Ray, was blessed enough to be chosen as a Fellow. Today you’ll find Ivory in Burbank, California, where he hopes his love of monkeys, ninjas, and professional wrestling will lead him to a successful writing career.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, his family and friends rock. They rock hard.

Jenny Cho
2008/2009 Writing Program Alum

Jenny Cho first blinked her eyes in Silver Spring, Maryland, a few hours after her father’s car broke down at the I-495 exit and her mother had to book it to the hospital on foot. Even then, Jenny learned that timing was everything. Like when her mom and dad bought a huge television set (good timing) and the last Betamax VCR on sale (bad timing), so that Jenny could make friends with Bugs Bunny and Scooby Doo after school.

When Bugs was cancelled, Jenny took up oil and acrylic painting and found a second home in the museums of Washington, D.C. While majoring in art history at Georgetown University, Jenny traveled to Taiwan to meet her long lost relatives. Her uncle’s family raised pigs in Kinmen, a small island four miles off the coast of China. The relatives were rather unimpressed with Jenny, who was useless at cooking and spoke Mandarin with a valley accent. Her experiences in Asia, especially the ones that involved pig feed and flatulence, inspired her to write stories about growing up in different cultures. Many of her favorite cartoons share her love of pigs and flatulence, as well as jokes about other things. But fear not, Jenny understands that there’s more to life than fart jokes. That’s why she applied to film school. She was accepted in the MFA program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she wrote her tail off and landed a book deal during her second year at school. After applying for the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship back in February and trying not to think about it for several months, she couldn’t believe it when she got The Call.

She thanks her mom and dad for allowing her to watch television, especially cartoons.

Bobby Tedder
2008/2009 Writing Program Alum

Bobby Tedder hails from Atlanta, which is currently posing as L.A.’s southern twin: one can see the resemblance in the mind-numbing traffic, flashy celebrity photo ops and a beautiful convergence of cultures. Much of his story’s exposition takes place in South Carolina – where he grew up and developed that whole writer-as-identity thing.

Bobby recognized that his fascination with the written word was more than a passing flirtation in fourth grade. Unlike with division and multiplication tables, he did not have to be dragged kicking and screaming to complete those creative writing portions of language arts tests. (He sends a well deserved shout-out to an overactive imagination and thought process manifesting itself in pictures). Thus – cue the violins – the love story began.

Fast forward – kill the violins — to Bobby’s college period. Strangely enough, he initially enrolled at Francis Marion University as a psychology major. Chalk that up to an unrelenting curiosity about people, those complicated yet simple ants of the universe. Bobby’s Eureka! moment; however, came after only a couple semesters: Examine the human condition the best way you know how, he said to himself while cramming Freud down his throat on the eve of a midterm. (Say goodbye to psychoanalysis-related indigestion; that pink stuff in the bottle could only help so much). Bobby switched his major to mass communication, which he later parlayed into an internship and full-time gig with a local daily newspaper.

Throughout his six-year journalism career, Bobby reported on everything from presidential politics to troubled professional athletes in need of a hug. Awards for excellence in columns and feature articles from both the Georgia and South Carolina press associations were career highlights. It is also during that time that he encountered a myriad of contemporary issues and situations confronting youth and their authority figures. The seed that would ultimately become a prospective children’s entertainment career was planted here, as vague ideas targeting audiences of all backgrounds begat more detailed ones and so on. Thus, the television specs began to flow outward. A Nickelodeon viewing veteran, he jumped at the chance to essentially “come home” by way of the writing fellowship.

Lo and behold, everything fell into place. Being that Bobby feels at home wherever, the move to Southern California is a welcome change. In addition to pouring the essence of his creative being wholeheartedly into the fellowship, he is also intent on making tofu and grits the next big thing on the West Coast breakfast circuit. (Sounds disgusting, but so did crunchy peanut butter and grape jam at first.) On a more personal note, Bobby has an affinity for music – with a play list that includes everyone from Big Boi to Bono – and is trylingual. The latter just means that he will try to master any language; four whole semesters of Spanish preceded his current attempt to conquer French.

He sends another shout-out to his extremely supportive wife back in Atlanta and his 11-year-old nephew in South Carolina – a smart young cat who’s managed to teach him about life all over again. Bobby can honestly say that there is no place he would rather be than here, in the land of enduring cartoons and kid-centered sitcoms. Laissez les bon temps roules! (translation: Let the good times roll.)

Stacie Craig
2009/2010 Writing Program Alum

Stacie was born to write, since she couldn’t sing, dance, or mime. She originates from Los Angeles, which is where she started her love affair with writing. She wrote her first novel at the tender age of 6, All About Stacie. Then making her theatrical debut at 7, in a play she wrote, starred in and directed, Magic Shoes.

When Stacie was 9 her mother decided to move to Southern Illinois, which is no where near Chicago. Growing up in the Midwest helped Stacie develop her keen sense of humor, because everything is funnier in Illinois. All through high school and college Stacie did the normal tour of duty, as far as writing was concerned – poems, essays, and standards. Then in graduate school she reunited with her soul mate, theatre.

Stacie attended graduate school at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. There she mastered the craft of playwriting and drinking coffee at night. She also discovered she had a passion for television, especially during finals week. It was this passion and her Mustang that drove her back to Los Angeles with dreams of stardom and Oscars.

Back in Los Angeles, Stacie began working in the glamorous world of television in entry level positions. She was a production assistant, art department assistant, writers’ assistant and casting assistant. Her ability to assist is still unmatched, even by today’s standards. Stacie worked in the entertainment industry in almost every capacity, except writer. Which is why after the birth of her son, she gave up her Hollywood career. Stacie became a public school teacher in South Central Los Angeles.

Although Stacie had given up on working in show business, she never gave up her dream of becoming a writer. In between raising her son and teaching school, Stacie continued to write scripts. She was a mother and a school teacher that had no social life, so she and television became friends again. She began writing for children and loving it. Writing became fun again and something that she enjoyed.

These days Stacie finds herself at the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship not assisting, but actually writing. It’s hard for her to believe, after 8 years in the entertainment industry and 5 years of public school teaching, Stacie is another Hollywood overnight success story.

Gabriel Garza
2009/2010 Writing Program Alum

Baby Gabriel was born in Houston, Texas. He must have been a funny looking kid, because his parents gave him the middle name “Alejandro,” thereby making his initials “G.A.G.” Gabriel didn’t mind this though, as he had not yet gained the ability to spell or recognize tease-promoting name traits.

Most of his young life was spent either in his quiet suburb or visiting relatives in the farmland of South Texas, where he learned to drive a tractor and eat tamales with every meal. As exciting as his life was, he most looked forward to going to bed every night. While everyone else in his house slept, Gabriel laid awake, remembering the dinosaurs, robots, and oh so many lasers he had seen on television earlier in the day. He tried to guess what would happen next in their stories and loved imagining new ways to play with them all.

Life was good, until his parents conspired to kidnap him and move to Southern California. Believing this meant he would have to become a surfer, he emphatically voiced his disapproval. Yet, his parental units could not be swayed and he soon found himself dropped into a predominately Asian neighborhood, underneath the bright California sun. In his new surroundings there were strange foods, a million languages, and lots of funny looks whenever he wore his cowboy boots to school. His only solace was television, nap time, and the only class he enjoyed – English.

Then, one dark and gloomy day in high school…

Gabriel received notice that he’d been rejected from Honors English. The devastation was too great for his theatrically-inclined teenage heart and he woke in the midst of a restless night to shout, “Forget you, Mrs. Montgomery!!! What do I really want to do in life?!” (Note: teacher’s name changed for her own protection.) Instantly, Gabriel thought of the time spent laying awake every night, letting his imagination run wild with all the wondrous things he’d seen on television. He went on to attend film school at Chapman University, where he fell in love with what he saw as the heart of his imagination: writing.

After graduating, he interned at a television production company. He read stacks of scripts, took copious notes, and brewed the best coffee any executive had ever tasted. Soon he was hired as a development assistant and then later as the writers’ assistant on a television series, where he witnessed the birth (and conception, eww) of television episodes on a daily basis.

Sadly, the show was canceled after its first season and Gabriel spent the next year and a half struggling to find a new job. However, he preferred to think that he worked for the government and they paid him to stay home and write. So, he wrote as much as he could and on one bright and sunny day Nickelodeon called with some awesomely awesome news.

Gabriel could not be happier working anywhere else in the world. In many ways, he feels his life has come full circle in a better way than even he could have imagined. He now spends most of his time dreaming up the dinosaurs, robots, and lasers that other children will recall while drifting off to sleep at night.

Jonathan Butler
2009/2010 Writing Program Alum

Born in Buffalo, NY to an ordained minister and a graphic artist, Jonathan thought he would one day find his niche in a combination of his parent’s occupations. Unfortunately it would seem the Sistine Chapel was already painted by some guy named after one of the Ninja Turtles. Undaunted, Jonathan immediately implemented Plan B and moved to a moisture farm on a barren outer rim planet where he yearned to one day join the Rebellion and fight the evil Galactic Empire. When he found out that Rebels actually, like, get shot at and stuff, he decided to become a plumber instead.

After graduating from vocational high school Jonathan left home to volunteer, helping construct schools for international missionaries (where he fell in love with the philanthropic spirit). Upon returning home he started a company testing drinking water, but knew even then he was headed down a path of external inertia instead of his own passion – writing.

Jonathan’s fist published work was a poem which in turn led to writing song lyrics that resulted in a 2004 Billboard Best New Artist Award, but the real prize was realizing the structured economy of poetry was a natural segue into screenwriting. Over the next five years Jonathan voraciously consumed every bit of tutelage he could on the craft. In 2008 he moved from NY to Venice Beach to be closer to ‘Da Biz’ and hopefully write for a newfangled invention called ‘telly-vision’. He wrote a spec for the Fellowship in between Downward Dogs and Sun Salutations during a yoga retreat in Mexico and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jonathan plans to soak up the Nick experience like a talking sponge (wait! – cool idea… has that been done?) so that he can one day give back more than he has received to future Fellows. He also looks forward to broadcasting his newfound mind control powers over the airwaves to influence the malleable minds of kids to NEVER grow up, and maybe one day create a small army of SuperSoaker toting foot soldiers who will take over the world one drenched parent at a time.

But that’s more of a five-year plan.

Kiyong Kim
2010/2011 Writing Program Alum

Kiyong was born in Korea and grew up in Los Angeles. In school, he paid attention in English class, but turned most other classes into his own personal art class and never got caught because it looked like he was just taking really good notes. He drew cartoons of his friends, his one eyed Physics teacher, and once turned in three pages of cartoons for a Calculus test. He went on to art school in Boston to study Illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art, but also took creative writing classes at Emerson College and started to find his voice as a writer.

After school, Kiyong moved back to Los Angeles and worked as a web designer, aka pixel pusher, to pay the bills. He realized the tragedy of being good at something you didn’t like. To maintain his sanity, he took classes in animation, character design, filmmaking, and writing. Writing became his passion above all else. He would write at work, and again, never got caught because it looked like he was just working really hard, but in reality, his goal was to get laid off so he could collect unemployment and have some serious time to write. He told one of his bosses “If we have layoffs, I call dibs.” Unfortunately, that never happened, so he had to continue to write and make movies on nights and weekends.

He wrote his first short script “Brobot”, a somewhat autobiographical story where instead of a kid telling his little brother he’s adopted, he tells him he’s a robot slave. It placed 4th in the Slamdance Screenwriting Competition, and the thought of one day becoming a screenwriter didn’t seem impossible anymore. He studied directing and his short film “Edit>Love” was one of the winners in the Intel Indies Contest by Atomfilms. He also wrote and directed several other short films that have played at festivals and have been picked up for distribution. After making some short films, he wanted to focus on writing and was excited by the medium of television because characters on TV rarely change, which is kind of like how he views people in real life.

His first TV script was for The Office, which he submitted to the Fellowship. He made it through as a Finalist but was a little too nervous in the group interviews and didn’t get selected as a Fellow that year. He felt like Rocky I, where Rocky fought Apollo Creed in the end and although he didn’t win, he didn’t lose either. It was a personal victory, validation that he was good enough to go toe to toe with the champ. So instead of giving up, Kiyong immediately went to work on another script, took some writing classes, and studied improv where his teacher told him the same thing his ex-girlfriends told him, that he needed to listen better and commit more.

After a year of hard work, he got to the point of being a Finalist again. But this year was Rocky II, and (spoiler alert) Rocky wins! Kiyong was accepted into the Fellowship and couldn’t be happier. Now that he’s a Fellow, he’s excited he gets to tell his friends that when he’s watching TV, it’s for “research”. He plans to learn as much as he can, and is hoping to take everything he’s learned to make himself the best writer he can be.

Kevin Arrieta
2010/2011 Writing Program Alum

Born with large ears that stuck out on his small head, Kevin was forced to grow a very thick skin. Luckily for him, he was born into a family with the most hilariously inappropriate humor in the world; a family that would not only laugh at a funeral, but would turn the eulogy into some sort of comedy roast. Nothing is off limits. So, when kids in school called Kevin, “Dumbo,” “Big Ears,” or “Will Smith,” it didn’t bother him. The only things that got under his skin were, of course, beautiful girls and fresh out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies and boy, does he love fresh out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies.

Growing up in Queens, Kevin not only spent his time deflecting name-calling with his bulletproof skin, he also spent it trying to decide what he wanted to become. Torn between becoming a professional baseball player or an action hero, Kevin decided to do neither and settled for studying business, a “useful” line of work, in high school. As part of the “Future Business Leaders of America,” he secretly hated it and feared his destiny of a joyless cubicle job, a fear that came from watching the film Brazil too many times.

Anyway, that all changed when Kevin’s high school English teacher read some comedy sketches he wrote for an assignment and encouraged him to apply for a writing program in college. So, he applied on a whim to the Dramatic Writing program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Some may call it fate or just plain luck, but he somehow got in.

At Tisch, Kevin studied the craft of writing for film and television and received training from many awesome professors who helped him develop into the writer he is today, but he knows he still has more to learn. While in college, Kevin was not only writing his butt off, but to help pay off his college loans, he was also an NYPD Cadet. He didn’t have a gun but that was probably a good thing. After graduating from college, he had the choice of becoming a real police officer, in which case he would grow an amazing mustache and chase bad-guys around, or following his dream of becoming a writer… Kevin chose the latter, which meant working at an Italian restaurant in Queens and teaching himself how to animate so he could make his very own cartoon web-series.

Still hungry to learn more and grow as a writer, Kevin later applied to the Nick Writing Fellowship. After a month long interview process, he got in and is now a part of the 2010- 2011 Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship! Kevin plans to make the most of this awesome opportunity because he knows the “kid Kevin” loved watching Nickelodeon cartoons and would be so proud of his decision to become a writer. Now, all he has to do is kick butt and take advantage of this opportunity!

Brian Stampnitsky
2010/2011 Writing Program Alum

Brian’s mother likes to say that she found him under a tree; then she laughs and her son rolls his eyes. As a child, the young nerd Stampnitsky dreamed of becoming a dentist, rabbi, or talk show host. By high school, he had grown into a sitcom-obsessed, comic book-loving, introspective misfit and endured four years of what can best be described as the longest and most awkward episode of “Freaks and Geeks.”

Finally, his reward for graduating with his sanity intact was to head up to Vassar College. There, he came out of his shell, co-founded a comedy troupe, and managed to successfully flirt with a few girls. It was around this time people starting calling him “Stampy.” Oh, and he also listened to a lot of crappy music, but nobody’s perfect.

Next in the saga, he headed to New York, where he continued to write and perform comedy. During the day, he spent a lot of time temping, which helped him perfect his skills at collating, distributing mail, and, most importantly, sitting at a desk and appearing busy.

The pull of moving to the West Coast became too great, so he (or really “I” – it’s awkward writing in the third person) packed up and hit the road. Endless possibilities were in front of the now adult Stampy, so he threw himself into this excitement by spending a lot of time staring at a blank computer screen wondering how to write a script.

Eventually (a very long eventually), gigs in the business of show started to present themselves. Three seasons on Spike’s late night dude-fest “MANswers” was followed by a short but memorable stint working for the hardest working man in show business, Ryan Seacrest. But, writing for funny characters, who said funny things, either with or without slime, remained Stampy’s dream

Making it into the fellowship has reconnected him with the sitcom-obsessed, comic book-loving, introspective misfit he once was… and he’s psyched about the possibility of entertaining other introspective misfits.

On his first day in the Nick Writing Fellowship, he wore SpongeBob boxers. No one knew. Shhhhh…

Tina Tompson
2011/2012 Writing Program Alum

Tina has spent most of her life in San Diego with brief cameos in Los Angeles and Maryland. She comes from a crazy Mexican-Irish-Italian family with a passion for cooking, fighting and telling stories. Tina inherited her love of storytelling from them, as well as one of the other traits, but won’t tell you which one!

As other kids played outside, Tina wrote plays and recorded herself saying all the parts in funny voices. She got her first experience “pitching to the room” when she wanted the neighborhood kids to join her in the quest to make the best movies ever—never mind that they had no money and no camera. None of her E.T. and Olivia-Newton John rip-offs got made, but that didn’t squash her desire to one day work in the “industry”.

It wasn’t until eighth grade that Tina learned that middle-schoolers didn’t write dialogue. Her punishment for turning in a dialogue-heavy essay was being promoted to Advanced English with the other freaks that actually liked answering essay questions.

She would continue to write through high school where she won an award for an impromptu non-fiction piece on the environment. The award came with a $50 savings bond, so Tina was technically a “professional” writer at the age of 17. Not thinking that she would ever earn more than that $50 for writing, Tina went off to college where she changed majors five times before quitting.

After years in an illustrious career of office temping, she was watching Project Greenlight when Tina realized that an outsider like herself could earn a living as a writer. She immediately started writing feature scripts and joined a writer’s group to get feedback. Tina promptly learned that her writing wasn’t as genius as she thought it was and started the fun process of rewriting. Luckily, an actor in the writing group liked her non-genius level writing and encouraged her to submit plays to a local theater.

Tina observed the drunken college crowd at the theater and wrote a frat-boy comedy that was an immediate hit (at least to the audience members that were not passed out!). This led to Tina getting cast in plays, short films and improv groups even though she wasn’t an actor. The experience of performing convinced Tina that her money would be better spent on screenwriting software than headshots.

A much more talented improv actor, asked Tina to write for his Second City group in LA. After brainstorming character and story ideas together, Tina wrote three sketches for the group…and they actually liked them! Encouraged, Tina decided to submit her eighth feature script to the Feel Good Film Festival where it made it to the semi-finals.

Throughout her “writing career”, Tina kept running into (not literally, no writer’s were harmed in the making of this bio) the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship booth at various events. Each time, she rejected the idea to write a TV spec for the contest since the shows she had written specs for in the past were immediately cancelled. Last year, the fellowship booth followed her to an industry job fair and Tina finally gave in. This past February, she crossed her fingers that Raising Hope would stay on the air and she wrote a script for the show to submit to Nickelodeon.

Since being chosen as a Nickelodeon Writing Fellow, Tina can now justify her obsession with iCarly, Big Time Rush, Fairly Odd-Parents and T.U.F.F. Puppy by calling it research and hopes her friends will stop making fun of her (but, doesn’t expect them to)!

Sasha Stroman
2011/2012 Writing Program Alum

Born in Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican mother and an American father, but raised by a Cuban stepfather, Sasha grew up surrounded by a motley cast of characters who have given her enough zany writing material to last a lifetime. During the first five years of her life, her maternal grandmother fed her a steady diet of rice, beans, and telenovelas, just like every other kid in the barrio, but when Sasha’s formal education began at a local American school, the scene quickly changed. At school, every subject was taught in English and every student tuned in to American television, listened to pop music and watched Hollywood movies. All of her new and highly Americanized classmates aspired to be Punky Brewsters or Ferris Buellers, not members of Menudo.

As a latchkey only child, everything Sasha learned about life, she first learned from television. Unsupervised and with free reign over the family tube, she watched it all, from You Can’t Do That on Television to The Kids in the Hall. A devoted indoor kid, Sasha received her first lessons in comedic storytelling during a sweltering tropical summer spent stuck to the couch and dreaming of snow while watching reruns of classic sitcoms like Leave it to Beaver, Mr. Ed and Dennis the Menace as part of Nickelodeon’s “Christmas in July” marathon.

As a teenager, some might say Sasha took her TV obsession too far, when much to her mother’s chagrin, Sasha dyed her hair (and the bathroom sink) a deep shade of crimson just like Angela Chase did in My So-Called Life. Eventually, the hair color faded away, and while the same cannot be said about the bathroom sink, neither can it be said about but Sasha’s love of television.

A passion for movies, television and writing has been the constant thread in Sasha’s life, rivaled only by her current Los Angeles obsession with raw kale, taro froyo and Umami Burger. Believing that every experience fuels her writing, Sasha has worked in widely different industries. She mastered Zen and the art of T-shirt folding during an after-school stint at the Gap, as a production assistant she was given the keys to the mac-and-cheese kingdom by the Barefoot Contessa herself, as a journalist she once flew to Canada to interview Catherine Zeta-Jones about face cream, and as an advertising copywriter she penned a thrilling infomercial about the Swine Flu vaccine.

Sasha holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and cocktail party conversation from Columbia University in New York, and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. She is ecstatic about joining the Nickelodeon family and is currently debating another hair color transformation to match the network’s signature orange hue.

Travis Braun
2012/2013 Writing Program Alum

“If you’re not first, you’re last,” is not only the famous line from “Talladega Nights,” but the mantra of Travis’ family. Travis grew up on a 100-acre ranch in Texas, where his family built racecars instead of raised cattle. His father is a race engineer for IndyCar teams and his brother is a NASCAR driver. When Travis pointed out that there were other positions, such as second, third and even fourth place, he was banished from the family business.

So at age nine, Travis wrote a novel, which cleaned up on the award circuit, including “the best book ever written” from his grandma Peggy. It achieved the unprecedented commercial success of $150, all of which Travis wisely invested in a cool new Lego set and membership in the “Power Rangers” fan club (he went as the white ranger for Halloween that year).

When Travis’ parents carefully broke the news to him that he couldn’t live on $150 (they shouted “find a real job!”), Travis summoned his Zord and committed his life to saving humanity from the evils of Rita Repulsa. Unfortunately, she quickly defeated him since he didn’t care enough about first place, and Travis had no choice but to attend journalism school at Franklin College in Indiana.

In 2008, Travis found himself on the sports desk of USA Today where he earned 30 byline articles and two on the cover of the sports section. He would have earned 35 and four on the cover if it weren’t for a bank of TV monitors stationed right outside his cubicle. At least that’s what his parents tell him. Travis had always been easily distracted by television, because it was kind of his favorite thing in the whole entire world. But he didn’t realize you could actually write for the medium until a chance encounter with real living television writers at a broadcast news seminar in New York.

Travis moved to sunny Burbank, California, in 2010, adjacent to Nickelodeon Animation Studios, and awaited his acceptance into their writing program. He had grown up watching reruns of “Doug,” “Rugrats” and “CatDog,” and couldn’t wait for his first day. Unfortunately, his acceptance letter was lost in the mail — two years in a row. What luck! Undeterred, Travis set out to learn everything he could about kids TV, so he got a job researching heinous murders on CBS’s “Criminal Minds.” That did the trick, earning him a spot in the writing program.

The key to Travis’ success has been to embrace mediocrity. He now lives by a much more inclusive philosophy, and that is “If you’re not last, you’re first.” If only his family knew that. Thankfully they are too busy winning races to read this page.

Ethel Lung
2012/2013 Writing Program Alum

Ethel is a great piano player. But not for the reasons you may think. It really has nothing to do with the fact that her mother was one of the original Tiger Moms. Actually, she has three people to thank for this: Jack, Janet and Chrissie. According to Ethel, she was always an obedient child. But one of the few rules she would break was staying up past her bedtime and sneaking behind the living room couch to watch Three’s Company (dubbed poorly in Chinese). She knew she truly loved the show because watching it would result in the punishment she hated the most – practicing piano for two hours. Her secret goal, in her 8-year-old mind, was to write a show as awesome as Three’s Company…and to have boobs as big as Chrissie’s. She’s been writing stories and acting like Chrissie ever since, although the latter was not encouraged by her parents.

Ethel doesn’t know where she really “grew up” because her parents were indecisive on where to settle down…or they were secretly following Phish. Thus, before the age of 14, she lived on two continents and in five different cities. Her family eventually made Houston, Texas their home, the birthplace of Texas toast. She stayed true as a Texan and went to Texas Tech University and eventually worked in Dallas as a low level buyer for a high-end retailer. She had an impressive collection of pant suits, a promising retirement fund and massive happy hour bills, but she was not happy. Her childhood aspiration started speaking to her in her dreams, “Move to L.A. Do what I say or the shark will eat you.” She feared sharks, so she moved. She had a strong feeling that she’d have a promising career in acting. Her feeling was wrong. So she decided to pursue the one thing that has always been there, her love of writing. Her feeling was right this time…thank God!

In 2008, she met her beautiful and talented writing partner, Tiffany. Ethel and Tiffany were accepted to the Fox Diversity Writers’ Initiative in 2010 and this October, they received THE phone call from the man in the clouds, I mean Nickelodeon. Ethel can’t wait to go to Ikea (just around the corner from Nickelodeon) after work to enjoy the delicious $4.99 Swedish meatball meal. But what she is most excited about is what she’s about to embark on this next year in the Nickelodeon Writing Program. Ethel is a mother of twin boys and she hopes that one day, they will be even greater pianists than their mother.

Aminta Goyel
2012/2013 Writing Program Alum

Aminta is the odd-ball of the 2012-2013 Nickelodeon Writing Program as she is the only writer who does not hail from Texas. In fact, Aminta was born and spent most of her formative years in the urban jungle of Mumbai, India, where she had to access American TV shows through the local smuggler. Watching Full House and Who’s the Boss on bootlegged VHS tapes, mutilating her Barbie dolls while dreaming up weird post-apocalyptic scenarios for them to be in, and cross-dressing her kid brother, pretty much sums up Aminta’s early years. Fortunately, none of these events required too much therapy in later life. As a teenager she developed an incurable crush on Hawkeye from M*A*S*H* and found herself writing short stories and poems, and dreaming up ways she could get Alan Alda’s attention.

After surviving too many years in an uber-strict post-colonial Indian school and a short stint in a British boarding school, Aminta went off to Cornell University where she directed theater, worked as a movie projectionist, and spent a summer on an archaeological dig in Greece. It was also here that she took her first screenwriting class and plunged headfirst into a complete love affair with film—a romance that shipped her off from the snows of Ithaca to the sunny climes of Los Angeles. She went on to complete her MFA in Production from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, and during her time there she directed a number of shorts, including her thesis film which was shot in the jungles of India and featured a live tiger (Sidenote: Trying to get an eyeline out of a tiger requires using a puppy as eye bait and is not as fun as it sounds).

During this time she also wrote a sitcom pilot, the writing of which tickled her fancy for a career in television. Over the years, the tickle turned into a full-on fetish, and Aminta is delighted to be a part of the Nick Writing program where she can finally talk to herself in character voices and no one will think she’s weird.

Some of Aminta’s past jobs have included working as an assistant to a literary agent, producing political documentaries, and making videos for a teen-centric non-profit, for which she wrote a number of commercial spots that have aired on networks like VH1, Fox, MTV, Channel One, and have featured celebrities like Aziz Ansari, Nick Cannon, Olivia Munn, Victoria Justice, Demi Lovato, and others. She has also written and produced some pretty oddball web videos (S*** Apathetic Girls Say has over 80,000 views, mmmkay?)

If Aminta was not a writer she would have been a cowboy. You can often see her sporting her purple cowboy boots as a reminder of what her life could have been like.

Tiffany Lo
2012/2013 Writing Program Alum

Tiffany was born and raised in Houston, Texas as an only child who needed undivided attention from everyone all the time. Therefore, she had a habit of embellishing every story she told, including this bio. Growing up, her favorite place to get attention was at her parents’ dinner parties where she would perform a range of impressions from the friendly clerk at the 7-11 (inspired by the friendly clerk at the 7-11) to the Texas cowboy (inspired by J.R. Ewing). These always got laughs. She didn’t know if it was pity laughter or real laughter, but she didn’t care. She was hooked – making people laugh was her most favorite thing ever.

Despite her parents’ wish of Tiffany becoming a doctor or an electrical engineer, she took her love of funny to Los Angeles, where she attended the University of Southern California and pursued a career in acting – “just for fun” she would tell her mom and dad. But after years of waiting tables, assistant gigs, dog walking, self-loathing and auditioning for Asian dental commercials, she realized that being a failed actor was not fulfilling. She wanted to create original stories and characters inspired by the ridiculousness of her life and those in it, none of whom were doctors or engineers. Sorry, Uncle Huang, M.D., she appreciates that you save lives, but you’re not inspiring. Thus, she shed her acting cocoon and metamorphosed into a full-blown butterfly writer and has never flown back.

For the past five years, she’s been writing with the lovely and highly organized Ethel Lung who Tiffany often likes to pretend is her sister because they look alike from certain angles. Their first accomplishment took place on a rainy day in 2009. After a forty-seven minute debate about what to wear, they went in to Nickelodeon to pitch their first project together as a writing team. Even though they did not sell gold, they refrained from ugly crying and kept writing. Then, in 2010, they were accepted to the Fox Diversity Writers’ Initiative.

Now, Tiffany is so excited and honored to continue her journey with Ethel in the Nickelodeon Writing Program. She hopes that this experience will come full circle with Nickelodeon and they can finally release the bout of ugly crying they’ve been holding back…but this time, the happy kind.

Sheela Shrinivas
Sheela Shrinivas
2013/2014 Writing Program Alum

This short biography will attempt to make Sheela Shrinivas seem as interesting as possible, drawing inspiration from such classic memoirists as Barack Obama and the guy who invented the ball pit at Chuck-E-Cheese.

Along with her older brothers, Sheela was raised in Oakville, Missouri. She was brought to the Midwest by her lovely, hysterical immigrant parents, because most parents like to bring their kids places. Sheela absolutely crushed the Greater St. Louis elementary school spelling bee scene; sometimes during full moons, she can still hear the letters howl.

As a lonesome, mustachioed child, Sheela expressed her love of television by staging episodes of her favorite sitcoms in her bathroom. She followed that hairy whimsy with an equally rewarding career as a teacher and nonprofit worker, living in places like Madrid, New Delhi, and New York City. She discovered during her quarter-life crisis that her dream job was to be a TV writer; she realized she might actually be able to do this after she saw a “Written By” credit for a name so Indian it would make Gandhi cringe.

So she moved to Los Angeles, where she was lucky enough to study with some of the greatest writers and showrunners in the biz (aka business). She received her MFA in Screenwriting from USC in 2013, then worked as a Writer’s Assistant before getting the opportunity to be in the Nick Writing Program.

Sheela is overjoyed to be here. Her goal is to create the same memorable television for more viewers than were in her bathroom, and to add to the ever-growing list of fictional muses who have become like extended family. Her current heroes are B.R.G. and Bill Haverchuck.

Karla Sakas
Karla Sakas
2013/2014 Writing Program Alum

Karla was raised in a log cabin on the outskirts of Washington, DC. She and her four siblings enjoyed many a quaint log cabin pastime, like gathering around a crackling television set to watch Nicktoons marathons. For Karla, Nick shows provided more than just entertainment – their zany characters and scenarios directly inspired her first forays into writing. So directly, in fact, that some of her early works are word-for-word retellings of Rugrats and Hey Arnold! But it was a start.

By fifth grade, Karla began branching out into more original material. She got her first big break writing the book for the class musical, Bytes of Conflict, a high-stakes drama about a missing floppy disk. Though her tragic tale garnered more laughs than tears, the experience ignited Karla’s interest in dramatic writing. She set about filling dozens of notebooks (and floppy disks) with skits, sketches, and full-length plays.

As much as she loved scriptwriting, fifth-grade Karla wasn’t really thinking about her career. Even a decade later, halfway through undergrad at James Madison University, Karla hadn’t yet realized that writing could be more than her favorite hobby. Then one semester, she signed up for a playwriting course, where everything finally clicked. The first time one of her scenes got a laugh (for something that was actually supposed to be funny) she was hooked. She signed up for every writing class her school offered and set her sights on LA and writing for television.

Prior to getting into the Nickelodeon Writing Program, some of Karla’s past work included puppeteering a talking cat, writing dialogue for TV sea lions, and wrangling small mammals (substitute teaching). As a part of the Writing Program, she feels like she’s living the dream – especially now that her writing has advanced beyond copying Rugrats verbatim.

Jeff Sayers
Jeff Sayers
2013/2014 Writing Program Alum

Jeff was raised out of steel in the swamps of Jersey. Actually, he grew up in Roseland a suburb right outside of New York City, but either way he’s damn proud of it! From an early age Jeff fancied himself a storyteller. His parents had this other term for it, which was liar, but he considers them interchangeable. Jeff likes to gives props to his insomnia for nurturing his love of television as he endlessly tortured his little brother with midnight viewings of Frasier and Seinfeld. At twelve he took his first crack at writing original material, a concept he had thought up for an epic book detailing the forces of good and evil battling it out in a vast universe under the sea. But when he sat down to write it he got two pages in and realized he had just lifted Star Wars and set it under the Atlantic Ocean. Jeff continued to branch out his creative writing in junior high where he wrote music and played in a band with his two best friends, both of which went on to sign major label deals when he left the band, thus showing Jeff’s true talent as a musician.

Then, one day in the 9th grade, while watching an episode of The Sopranos that was being filmed in his neighborhood, he came to the realization that there are people who have full time jobs as television writers. To him that sounded like the coolest career in the world, so he set out to take as many creative writing course that his school offered, which at the time turned out to be…two. Undeterred he offset the lack of courses by trying to convince his teachers to let him take non-fiction projects and give them a little twist. Who wouldn’t want to see George Washington riding into the Battle of Trenton on a Sherman Tank instead of his horse?

Jeff went on to attend Drew University, and despite taking writing courses in college he graduated and became a corporate lackey, doing a quick stint on Wall Street and spending late nights and weekends working on his writing craft, something that kept him sane. As time went by he felt his writing was becoming stronger but wasn’t sure if it was quite there yet. So, like many other fearless, aspiring television writers before him, Jeff chose the most expensive back up plan in the world and went to law school. While law school had many positive effects on Jeff’s writing (structure, lying…sorry storytelling), it also gave him the opportunity to continue to write over breaks, and during the week when he probably should have been studying.

After getting some much needed advice from working television writers – who were alumni of his high school – Jeff decided that the best way to see where he stood in the pantheon of television scribes was to submit to the Nickelodeon Writing Program. After writing a script on some highly questionable material, Jeff played the waiting game for months, finally seeing that 818 area code come up on his phone. A few cross country flights and eleven some odd interviews later, Jeff is a writer in the Nickelodeon Writing Program! He is so pumped to be at Nick that he re-watched the Are You Afraid of the Dark DVD he bought off of E-bay in college (which still scares the crap out of him) and has been blasting “Hey Sandy”- the theme song from The Adventures of Pete and Pete – on repeat. Jeff would like to thank his family for being ultra-supportive of his career choice and give a special shout out to his friends and better half back in the Jerz!

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