NALIP's Latino Writers on the Rise


After surveying the industry for final installment in our Latino Writers List Series, we present a group of writers that we believe are well on the rise, having pushed through the industry doors. They have written for leading shows from "Grey's Anatomy" to "Dora the Explorer!", and are about to pen the next hit! Stay tuned for what next, as we expect to see these Latino content creators move up within our Latino Writers List next year.

“NALIP's recognition of these skilled content creators is a reminder of the important contributions that diverse writers make to the entertainment industry.” Tery Lopez, WGAW, Director of Diversity

With this year’s diversity successes, we ask you to take a look at our complete Latino Writers List series your next staffing season.


Davah Avena


Davah writes television that makes us love, laugh and think about the human condition.  She staffed on MEDIUM, WICKED WICKED GAME and WATCH OVER ME.   She developed at SONY under a blind pilot deal and has also sold pilots to ABC FAMILY and NICKELODEON.  Currently, she is using her comedy and drama chops to write for EAST LOS HIGH, a HULU Original Program that explores the young Latino experience in East Los Angeles.   

Rep: AGENT, Brad Rosenfeld, Preferred Artists

Ernie Bustamante


After graduating from Stanford University, Ernie worked on the presidential campaign for then-Senator John Kerry. This experience naturally led to a career in comedy. Since then, Ernie has written projects for FOX, ABC Family, Nickelodeon, and a pilot entitled, Behind the Seams, for ABC with Eva Longoria attached as Executive Producer. Ernie has also been a staff writer on "Rob, Liv and Maddie", and wrote a freelance episode of "Lab Rats".

Rep: Brillstein Enertainment Partners

Dan Dominguez


Daniel Dominguez first staffed for television on the hit show "Oh Sit!" for the CW network in 2012. That year he also sold, created, wrote, and produced "Oishi High School Battle" a hybrid live-action/animated web series to Defy Media, one of the largest digital media companies in the world. "Oishi High School Battle" has since gone on to garner almost 40 Million views over three seasons, a world-wide following, a spin-off series, and a Streamy nomination for Best Animated Series on the Web. In 2013, while the second season of Oishi was wrapping up, Daniel staffed on his second TV show "Crash and Bernstein" for Disney XD, and found time to produce another digital series for Defy, this time a fully animated children's show named "16-Bit High School" which has over 7 Million views and counting. He currently has a feature length horror script optioned by Station 3 films and is in development on a half-hour original comedy pilot with NBC/Universal. 


Maria Escobedo


Maria is a native New Yorker with a BFA from NY’s School of Visual Arts. She studied screenwriting at NYU, playwriting at The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, and earned a TV Writing Fellowship from ABC/Disney. Maria was a writer on GREY’S ANATOMY, and developed VALERY, an original TV series pilot for Nickelodeon.  She has also written original movies for Lifetime, Disney Channel, and wrote the A&E/Biography Channel Documentary on the artist Diego Rivera. In the children’s market, Maria has written for Nick Jr’s "Dora The Explorer"!, "Go Diego Go"!, Disney Jr’s "Special Agent Oso", Peach Blossom Media’s Shapes, and is co-writing Patty Pawz: Pet Detective, a young readers book series. On the feature side, Maria wrote and directed the independent film, Rum and Coke, which garnered critical and popular attention at international film festivals worldwide, was released on DVD and is available on Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. Maria is very proud to have worked for two of the most influential women in television: Shonda Rhimes and Dora the Explorer!  Maria is currently pitching a TV series with producer Ed Bernero ("Criminal Minds", "Third Watch").

Maria has been chair of the Latino Writers Committee at the WGAW for the past 3 years.

Rep: Michael Lewis & Associates, Marilyn Atlas Management

Ben Lobato

Benjamin Daniel Lobato grew up in south San Diego, his family residing on both sides of the border and the law.  He spent six years in the Army as a Military Police Officer, and three years in the elite Joint Counter/Narco-Terrorism Task Force.  His Television Writing credits include Gang Related (FOX), The Unit (CBS), Against the Wall (Lifetime), and the Peabody Award winning, Justified (FX), for which he received a WGA Nomination along with the writing staff for Best New Series.

Also an award winning filmmaker and playwright; his short film Mariposa Canyon was a regional competitor at the annual Student Academy Awardsâ, and went on to screen at dozens of film festivals, garnering numerous awards and accolades, including the Imagen Award for Best Short Film, The Best Director Award at the Latin USA Film Festival, and the Audience Choice award at the Denver International Film Festival.   Furthermore, Lobato’s play Soldier in the Eclipse was a winner of the Fifth Annual National Hispanic Playwriting Festival; and he was a recipient of the Goldberg Playwriting Fellowship.

He holds an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and B.A. degrees in Creative Writing and Media Arts from the University of Arizona. 

Rep: WME, Echo Lake Management

 Jessica Lopez


After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree from USC, Jessica worked for six years at Lowrider Magazine. If there was ever a place to inspire a sitcom or a film, Lowrider 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 adapted her magazine experiences into a comedy 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. Since then, Jessica -- who became a mother at the age of sixteen -- has pitched her unique experiences as a single mom to be hired on mother/daughter comedies such as NBC’s “Kath & Kim” and FOX’s “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.” She has also written

for Nickelodeon’s “Dora and Friends: Into the City” as well as Disney’s hit shows “That’s So Raven,” “Cory in the House,” and most recently “Jessie.”

Rep: Sheree Guitar Entertainment 

Sierra Ornales


Sierra Teller Ornelas, an award winning sixth generation Navajo weaver, grew up in Tucson, Arizona. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Arts from the University of Arizona. There she worked diligently as a contributing writer and producer for Comedy Corner, the longest running weekly college sketch comedy show in the country. After graduation she moved to Washington, DC to work as a program assistant at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. In 2009 she participated in the IAIA Summer Television & Film Workshop and the National Hispanic Media Coalition Fall Television Writers Program. Ornelas is known for her work on "Happy Endings" (2011), "Surviving Jack" (2014) and "The Hustle" (2013).

Davy Perez


It seems fitting that a writer fascinated with the supernatural, and darker toned dramas would be born on Halloween night.   The third of seven children, Davy is a native of East Los Angeles.  Performing for his siblings would eventually lead to Davy attending the Playhouse West Repertory School and Theater. Davy then taught drama at the Los Angeles Music & Arts School where he would write original children’s plays for the students. Davy’s journey through television includes work as a Background Extra, a Set PA, a Production Coordinator, and an ABC Studios Production Associate in Drama Development. 
He was a Writers PA for the ABC show "My Generation", and worked in Creative Development with Universal Cable Productions (UCP) on the USA Network shows: "Suits", "Psych", "Royal Pains", & "Covert Affairs". Davy was also an EP Assistant and Script Coordinator for the "Fargo" series on FX. In 2013, he was selected for a NALIP/HBO Latino Writer Fellowship with the pilot script "Necro Noir", a work inspired by his love of genre fiction. Davy is currently a 2014 Disney ABC Program Writer and is a Staff Writer for the ABC limited series, created by oscar winner John Ridley, "American Crime". 



Jared Romero

A Louisiana native of Cuban decent, Jared originally moved out to Los Angeles to make it as a musician. However, after years of playing gigs and collecting stories, he traded his bass guitar for a camera and attended the USC School of Cinema/Television. Following graduation, he promptly went to work writing for the sitcom Moesha as a fellow in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Internship program. He then ventured into live theater to write and direct Operation: KidZone, an episodic mixed-media stage production geared for kids incorporating music, dance, film and live drama elements. Over 100 live shows and several Kidzone films later, Jared moved on to serve as a screenwriting fellow for Art Within Labs, and was also offered a place in the Warner Bros Writing Fellowship for television drama. Most recently, Jared served on the writing staff of ABC’s supernatural drama "The Gates", where he wrote two episodes for its first season. He is currently in development with several drama pilots. 

Rep: Think Tank Management

Tanya Saracho


Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México and is a playwright who writes for television. Currently she writes for HBO's  "Looking." Other shows have included "Girls" and "Devious Maids." Plays produced at: 2nd Stage (July '14), Steppenwolf Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Goodman Theater,  Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, NEXT Theater and 16th Street Theater. Plays include: Hushabye; The Tenth Muse; Song for the Disappeared; EnfrascadaEl Nogalar (inspired by The Cherry Orchard); an musical adaptation of The House on Mango StreetOur Lady of the Underpass ; Kita y Fernanda, and Quita Mitos. Currently in development with/commissioned by:  HBO, Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Two Rivers Theatre, Denver Theater Center, and South Coast Rep. Tanya is also a proud SAG/AFTRA actor.

Rep: UTA

Mark Valadez


A native of Chicago’s southeast side, Mark Valadez was born into a family of steelworkers, although his father later became a police officer. A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Mark himself flirted with a career in law enforcement before taking a job in corporate communications. By this time, he had already cut his teeth as a writer in comic books. While still in college, he adapted Stephen King’s short story “Popsy” for the graphic novel anthology J.N. Willliamson’s Illustrated Masques, published by Gauntlet Press and recently re-issued in trade paperback by IDW. Later, he authored four novella-size books published as part of the now defunct Fright Time series for young readers. In 2009, Mark was one of eight fellows selected for the highly competitive ABC-Disney TV Writing Program, during which he was staffed on the ABC series Scrubs in its final season; an odd detour in that Mark’s passion lies in drama. Since then, he has worked as a staff writer on the TNT series Perception, and more recently, Fox’s Gang Related, which is set to premiere May 22. Mark is the writer of the series’ eighth episode, “Dia de Todos los Santos.” He currently has two original pilots circulating, “McQueen” and “The Nine-Four.”

Rep: Brant Rose Agency 

Make sure to check out other Latino Writers List Installments:

NALIP's Latino Writers to Watch

NALIP's Top Latino Writers

Did we miss someone? Let us know in the comments below!