Program Director: Ron McCants
Program Manager: Jerrica Long
Advisory Board: Nichelle Tramble Spellman (TRUTH BE TOLD), Malcolm Spellman (FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER), Latoya Morgan (THE WALKING DEAD), Aaron Rashaan Thomas (S.W.A.T.), Charles Murray (#TRUTH), Amy Aniobi (INSECURE) and Ben Watkins (HAND OF GOD).
Each One Teach One’s mission is to guide writers through professional hurdles to retain and increase any earned momentum while helping to shape careers. We recognize that sometimes getting new writers staffed is the first step, but the much harder task is maintaining a job and moving up the ladder. Hence, the focus is on our participants building sustainable careers, realistic businesses and production companies and strategies to promote longevity in the industry.
Currently, this is a referral only program. Our advisory board has identified black writers who would want to mentor and/or be mentored in Each One Teach One. Additional participants will be identified as the program grows by other upper-level writers. We’ll administer a comprehensive survey to the referrals to place them with mentors. We will pair emerging professional writers (script coordinators, assistants, producers, etc.), writers currently staffed on TV shows, and extraordinary writers who have been out of work with upper level writers who can help them navigate their current career status and future aspirations. To participate in this program, each mentee will also be paired with a second writer at a lower level than them to mentor.
To us, a mentor is someone who understands the value of opening doors, developing new talent and forming meaningful relationships that expand beyond this networking opportunity. It is the responsibility of the mentor to share their experience and invest in writers with potential to help build a community of writers who pay it forward. We want mentors to seek out future creators and feel free to partner with them – perhaps sell projects with mentees. Why? Because the benefits that they’ll see in their career will positively impact the strength of our overall community. It will accelerate their careers and may put them in a decision-making position. And, if we’ve done our job right, they will be beholden to our community and lift up others by hiring them.
We define mentees as professional writers of African descent who propel their relationship with the mentor and can articulate their career aspirations and brand. They seek to develop a sustainable career in television and/or film with a minimum of 17 pensionable years to receive health care during retirement. We require mentees to want to learn how to develop and produce content from writers who aspire to be at their level.
The mentee must drive the relationship with the mentor. There should be no fear when communicating with your mentor or asking for help to mount a career of any kind. Therefore, we require mentees to touch base with their mentor at least once a week at the beginning of the relationship so they don’t feel that they’re wasting the mentor’s time. And while we’re working to create an environment where black writers feel comfortable, mentees should not expect mentors to do anything for them except guide them. Eventually, if a symbiotic, professional relationship develops, they can come to expect other things from their mentor – but that is based on the relationship they built over time. Mentees should never ask a mentor to read their material – who has the time? Should a mentor believe reading a mentee’s work would be beneficial, s/he can totally ask and even give notes, but again, this is not a writing development program, it is a career building initiative.