EXCLUSIVE: Hillman Grad the new class for the 2023 Mentorship Lab.
Organized by three distinct tracks, this year’s emerging creatives include AJ Dinsmore, Dralla Aierken, Dylan Correa, Jair Majid Kornegay, MenuEtte Silver, Naki Franklin, and Omar Nava for the writing track; Elle Yun, Janis Peebles Valdez, Jason Armani Martinez, Josca Moore, Mark Antony Howard, Priscilla Walker, Shawn Roundtree Jr., and Simran Jehani for the acting track; and Christine Murrain, Jason Young, Reese Dizon, Sharon Xiang, and Victoria Garabedian for the executive track.
Mentorship Lab instructors Carolyn Michelle Smith (co-Director of Acting Track), Behzad Dabu (co-Director of Acting Track), and Michael Svoboda (Director of Writing Track) said, “The Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab is different because we believe that community comes first. Yes, we strive to help our mentees hone their craft and expose them to people in the industry, but at the end of the day it’s the people standing next to them that will make the biggest impact on their life.”
The eight-month, tuition-free program, founded by Lena Waithe and Rishi Rajani, and led by Executive Director Lacy Lew Nguyen Wright and Senior Vice President Justin Riley, offers mentees the opportunity to enhance their creative skillset through personalized instruction from industry professionals, creating additional pathways to bring more people from diverse backgrounds into entertainment, both in front of and behind the camera.
It provides a robust slate of workshops and educational resources, along with opportunities for networking and professional development, offering instruction on topics including television writing, screen acting, and executive development.
Writing mentees have gone on to be staffed on HBO’s The Sympathizer, Hulu’s We Were The Lucky Ones, and Showtime’s The L Word. This year, acting mentees can be seen in Netflix’s upcoming drama Griselda, and Showtime’s The Chi. Exec mentees have been hired as executives at Sunny Hostin’s Roots & Wings, Working Bird Inc., and FlynnPictureCo.