NALIP's Latino Writers to Watch


August 28, 2014 at 4:23pm

In our last installment within our NALIP Latino Writers List we gave you our Top Latino Writers, this week we look at Latino writers you should definitively be on the look out for, as they have great credits under their belt, we still believe they have something even greater they are about to pen. From "The Simpsons" Valentina Garza to Marco Ramirez of the Netflix hit "Orange is the New Black", check out these Latino Writers to Watch.


Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa


Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is known for his work on Carrie (2013), Glee (2009) and Big Love (2006). He received his BA from Georgetown University and an MA in English literature from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He is also a 2003 graduate of Yale School of Drama, and the son of a prominent Nicaraguan diplomat. 

Rep: William Morris Endevor Entertainment

Gloria Calderón Kellet


Gloria Calderón Kellett is currently a writer and Supervising producer on the CW series "iZombie." Before that she was on ABC's "Mixology", the Lifetime series “Devious Maids", the CBS series “Rules of Engagement” (2008-2011) and “How I Met Your Mother” (2005-2008) during which she won an Alma Award for Outstanding Script. She is a graduate of the Writer's Guild Showrunner Training Program and has sold pilots to Fox, ABC Studios, CBS and TVLAND. Her first short film, "Wounded," was an official selection in the Geneva Film Festival, the Palm Springs Shorts Fest, the Sedona Film Fest, the Gig Harbor Film Festival and the Big Island Film Festival. Her second short, "Very Dirty Things" was an official selection in the LA Comedy Film Festival. And her third short film “BLIND” was an official selection in the NBC/Universal Short Cuts Film Fest, the Napa Valley Film Festival, The San Luis Obispo Film Festival and the Big Island Film Festival. She has written several plays to critical success, including "In Her Shoes" (Hudson Avenue Theatre); "Baggage" (Hudson Avenue Theatre / workshopped at The Mark Taper Forum), "Left Overs" (Odyssey Theatre), "Disconnect" (Elephant Theater), "Skirts & Flirts" (Hudson Mainstage Theatre / Kraine Theatre, NYC), "Bedtime Stories" (National Comedy Theater), "Snapshots" (Pico Playhouse), "Identity Theft" (Elephant Theatre), "Drinking Games” (Pico Playhouse); “Just Friends” (Chalk Rep); “Blind” (Stella Adler Theatre); “Dinner & A Movie” (24 Hour Plays @ Wilshire Ebell) and “The Friend Zone” (Stella Adler Theatre) among many others. Gloria graduated from Loyola Marymount University and was awarded a Kennedy Center/ACTF Award for her first play, “Plane Strangers” – which also went on to win the Del Rey Players Playwriting Award, and the LMU Playwright of the Year Award. Gloria went on to earn a Masters degree in Theatre from the University of London. Her play, “When Words Are Many,” was a finalist for the London Writers Award. Additionally, her play, “Dance Like No One’s Looking,” won the International Student Playscript Competition, judged and awarded by Sir Alan Ayckbourn. While in London, she worked at the Royal Court Theater and the London International Festival of Theatre. Since her return to Los Angeles, Gloria has been a founding member of the sketch comedy group And Donkey Makes Five, and has written and performed stand-up comedy at The Improv and The Comedy Store. Her book, Accessories, has been translated into Italian and is published by Small Fish Studios in the U.S. and Cassini Press in Italy. In her free time she teaches and lectures about writing (Loyola Marymount University, University of Miami, Imagen Foundation panelist, CBS Diversity program special guest) and on occasion she acts.

Rep: Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment; UTA 


Sal Calleros


Sal grew up in Los Angeles spending much of his high school career running around Santa Monica and Venice as a graffiti artist. His first true writing job was at a domestic violence clinic in the San Fernando courthouse drafting restraining orders to prevent harassment, molestation and abuse. Sal also worked three years as a Family Law paralegal and court interpreter. Later Sal transitioned into entertainment, working at FX as a research analyst and then moving into Hispanic marketing. His young family, which includes his frugal German-Irish wife and 3 children, continually provides for an entertaining and challenging familial culture clash that fuels his creative endeavours.

Sal most recently was a  Co-producer on ABC's midseason series KILLER WOMEN, from Executive Producer Sofia Vergara. He was also a participant in the 2013 Fox Writers Intensive. Out of over 400 hundred writers nominated, Sal was one of the 10 finalists selected by the program. Sal also caught the eye of showrunners Carol Mendelsohn and Graham Yost via the 2011 WGA Writer Access Project. He’s previously written on the staffs of RIZZOLI & ISLES (TNT) and PRIVATE PRACTICE (ABC).

Rep: Rothman Brecher; Magnet Management 

Adam Fierro


Fierro began his television career as a freelance writer. He wrote two scripts for the first season of Resurrection Blvd. in 2000. In 2002 he returned as a co-producer and writer for the third season and contributed a further three episodes. In 2004 Fierro joined the crew of The Shield as a writer and co-producer. He wrote three episodes for the third season. He was promoted to producer in 2005 and contributed a further two episodes to the fourth season. He continued to receive more responsibility and became a supervising producer for the fifth season writing two more episodes. He was made co-executive producer for the sixth season and wrote two more episodes. After filming completed on the sixth season of The Shield Fierro, became a co-executive producer for the sixth season of 24 and wrote an episode. Fierro returned to The Shield for the seventh and final season and served as an executive producer and wrote three episodes. After completing work on The Shield, Fierro became a consulting producer and writer for the third season of Dexter. He was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award at the February 2009 ceremony for Best Dramatic Series for his work on the third season of Dexter.[1] Fierro was reunited with The Shield producer Charles H. Eglee on Dexter. Fierro served as a consulting producer and writer for the second season of medical drama series Hawthorne in 2010. The series show runner was Fierro's The Shield colleague Glen Mazzara. Fierro again worked with Eglee on the first season of AMC drama series The Walking Dead. Fierro wrote the season finale "TS-19". Eglee was an executive producer on The Walking Dead. The episode also reunited Fierro with frequent The Shield director Guy Ferland; Ferland helmed "TS-19".

Rep: Myman Abel Fineman Fox Greenspan Light; ICM partners 


Valentina Garza

Valentina Garza is a Cuban-American comedy writer, best known for her work on “The Simpsons”. Valentina was born and raised in Los Angeles. She attended U.C. Berkeley, graduating with a degree in Comparative Literature. She then returned to her Angeleno roots and pursued her love of writing through a career as a television comedy writer. Her bilingual and bicultural background provided her an inroad on the Spanish-language Telemundo sit-com, “Los Beltran” where she freelanced her first script. She was accepted and completed the prestigious Warner Brothers Writers Workshop and went on to write for “George Lopez” as well as FOX’s animated juggernaut, “The Simpsons,” for which she received an Annie nomination for Writing in a Television Production. Valentina is currently a Supervising Producer on FOX’s upcoming animated series,“Bordertown”. 

Rep: UTA

Javier Grillo-Marxuach


Is a prolific creator of television, movies, comic books and interactive media. Though best known as one of the Emmy Award-winning writer/producers of "Lost," and for creating the comic book and ABC Family television series “The Middleman,” Grillo-Marxuach currently co-executive produces the Ronald D. Moore/SyFy channel event series hit "Helix."

After graduating with a B.A. in creative writing and cultural studies from Carnegie Mellon University and earning an M.F.A. in screenwriting from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, Grillo-Marxuach began his career as a Primetime Series executive at NBC, working on current shows and drama development. His television work as writer/producer includes “Charlie’s Angels,” “Medium,” “The Pretender,” “Charmed,” “The Chronicle,” “seaQuest” and “Jake 2.0” - alongside the Emmy, Golden Globe, Writers Guild and Television Critics Association Award-winning, American Film Institute honoree “Lost,” and “Boomtown” - which was also honored by the American Film Institute, earned George Foster Peabody and TCA awards, and was nominated for the Golden Globe.

Grillo-Marxuach has also written scripts for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Dead Zone” and “Dark Skies,” sold pilots to CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, The WB, The Sci-Fi (and SyFy) channel, and TNT. Further work includes feature film rewrites for The Weinstein Company, and Michael DeLuca Productions, an adaptation of the Brian Wood Rob G. graphic novel “the couriers” for Intrepid Pictures, as well as short films, music videos and several works for the stage.

Concurrent to his work on “Lost,” Grillo-Marxuach worked as a producer and performer on “The Lost Experience,” a Clio Award-winning multi-media interactive game that explained the mysteries of the television series over a series of web pages, blogs, podcasts, internet videos, television commercials, radio broadcasts, newspaper and magazine articles, live events - and even a best-selling novel.

In addition to four full-length “The Middleman” graphic novels, Grillo-Marxuach wrote the mini-series “Annihilation: Super-Skrull” and “Annihilation: Conquest - Wraith,” for Marvel as well as “Cylon Apocalypse,” a comic mini-series based on the classic “Battlestar Galactica” TV series for Dynamite Entertainment.

Javier Grillo-Marxuach was born and raised in Puerto Rico. His name is pronounced "HA-VEE-AIR GREE-JOE MARKS-WATCH." 

Rep: ICM Partners; Jackoaway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein

Luisa Leschin


It's only natural that Luisa would be in show business as she comes from a very dramatic family. Her mother was a concert pianist and her father was President of El Salvador. Luisa, born in Hollywood, grew up in Guatemala where Spanish was her mother tongue. She made her stage debut as a dancer at age five. By the time she left Guatemala at age eight, she had her own television variety show. During her teen years, Luisa lived all over Europe, becoming fluent in French and Italian along the way. In Hollywood, Luisa successfully amassed many film and television credits. The fact that all her roles were gang girls, hookers, maids and pregnant women, directly led to her desire to write. As a result, Luisa co-founded the highly successful comedy troupe, “Latins Anonymous”. Luisa is a tremendously versatile writer, writing comedy, stage plays and drama. Her credits include, “George Lopez”, “Everybody Hates Chris”, “Are We There Yet”, “Austin and Ally”, ‘East Los High”. Currently on “From Dusk Till Dawn.”

Rep: WME

Jose Molina


Jose Molina is a screenwriter from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He began his Hollywood career thanks to the Television Academy's Summer Internship program, and has been a working television writer since the year 2000, when he made his debut on James Cameron's science fiction drama Dark Angel. Although born and raised a natural Spanish speaker, Jose writes almost exclusively in English. A long time fan of "the genre" -- horror, fantasy and sci-fi -- Jose specializes in fantastical TV, most notably penning scripts for shows such as Joss Whedon's Firefly, The Vampire Diaries, Terra Nova and Sleepy Hollow. His work can next be seen on the upcoming ABC series Marvel's Agent Carter. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and dogs.

Rep: ICM Partners 

Carolina Paez


Growing up in Guatemala during the civil war, Carolina spent much of her time reading and watching television, escapes which later provided the foundation for her career as a writer for film and TV. Carolina eventually moved to LA, where she wrote and produced for shows like ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, NBC’s Lipstick Jungle, CBS’s The Defenders and FOX’s Gang Related. She currently works as a Consulting Producer on FOX’s Runner. She recently developed an original series for FOX, Queen Of the South, based on the hugely successful Spanish novel. In between TV work, Carolina co-wrote and produced the Venezuelan feature La Hora Cero. Directed and co-written by Diego Velasco, the film is currently being remade for the US. Diego and Carolina currently run Open Studios, where they continue to develop and produce feature and TV material.

Rep: UTA

Marco Ramirez


Marcos Ramirez is a playwright whose plays have been produced at Center Theatre Group, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays. Marcos’ honors include Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship, TCG’s Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, and two WGA Award nominations. He is currently an artist in residence at The Atlantic Theatre Company, and is under commission at both Playwrights Horizons and Center Theatre Group. He lives in Los Angeles where recent television writing credits include Seasons 3 and 4 of “Sons of Anarchy” (FX), Seasons 1 and 2 of “Da Vinci’s Demons” (Starz) and Season 1 of “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix).

Rep: UTA

Dailyn Rodriguez


Dailyn Rodriguez was born in New York City to Cuban parents. She attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she graduated with a BFA in Dramatic Writing. In 2001 she participated in The Walt Disney Studios Writing Fellowship. Since then she has written on George Lopez, Freddie, Ugly Betty, Cane, 90210, In Plain Sight, Lie to Me, and The Glades. She has been nominated for two Alma Awards and received, along with her co-writers, a Writer’s Guild Award for Writing for a New Series (Ugly Betty). She is currently a supervising producer on NBC’s The Night Shift and is developing a series with 360 TV.

Rep: Jackoway Tyerman Witheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein 

Danielle Sanchez-Witzel


Danielle will join NEW GIRL next season as a Co-Executive Producer. She has been under an overall deal with CBS Paramount for the past two seasons where she worked as a Co-Executive Producer on THE MILLERS. Prior to that, she was under successive overalls at NBC for six seasons where she worked as a Co-Executive Producer/Consultant on shows such as WHITNEY, LOVE BITES, 100 QUESTIONS, and MY NAME IS EARL where she worked for all four seasons. She has also worked on GEORGE LOPEZ for ABC, HAPPY FAMILY for NBC and IN-LAWS for NBC. Danielle is a graduate of Stanford University, where she was heavily involved in sports, broadcasting and media, working as a baseball play-by-play announcer for the university radio station. Additionally, Danielle worked in the advertising field for several years prior to receiving her M.F.A. from the UCLA Graduate School of Film and Television.

Rep: Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment; UTA 

Ligiah Villalobos


Ligiah Villalobos is the Writer and Executive Producer of the independent feature film Under the Same Moon, (La Misma Luna). The film was an Official Selection at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and became the highest sale for a Spanish-language film in the history of Sundance. After its release on March 19, 2008 by Fox Searchlight and The Weinstein Company, the film went on to break the 3-day opening weekend record for a Spanish-language film. Made for under $2M, the film has earned over $23M worldwide.

Born and raised in Mexico, Villalobos moved to the U.S. at the age of 11. She attended Brigham Young University, majoring in Cultural Geography and Dance.

Before becoming a writer/producer, Villalobos held several positions at studios including Director, Programming for Buena Vista Productions where she oversaw all television production in Latin America, including eight #1 rated Disney Club Shows in six countries. She also developed the CD Navidad en las Americas for Disney Records, which landed at #8 on Billboard’s Latin Chart, and two Prime Time TV Specials which aired in 18 countries. She was later hired by Touchstone Television to oversee Walt Disney’s prestigious Writers Fellowship Program and Director’s Training Program.

After leaving Disney, Villalobos served as Director, Current Programming for the WB Network where she oversaw six prime time series. She then made a transition into film production as the VP, Creative Affairs at Esparza/Katz Productions. There she was involved in the development of, Price of Glory for Newline and Walkout for HBO Films, also serving as a Co-Producer on Walkout.

Since becoming an independent writer/producer, Villalobos has co-produced the film, Dancing in September (Official Selection at 2001 Sundance Film Festival) which premiered on HBO in 2001, been a staff writer on the NBC show, ED, the Head Writer on the #1 Nick Jr. series, Go, Diego! Go!, and has developed projects for ABC/Studios, F/X, Showtime, NBC and ABC/Family.

Projects in development: Diego Ascending, for Salma Hayek’s Co., La Raza, an historical 7 hour mini-series for Will Smith’s Co., and two TV movies, Crew Six¸ for Hallmark Hall of Fame and “Study Abroad” for Nickelodeon, both produced by Alicia Keys Co. Villalobos is currently working an animated series for Norman Lear, Mouse in the House and an untitled pilot for NBC with producers, Kenny Ortega, Todd Robinson and Steve Stark.

Villalobos was named, “One of the 25 Most Powerful and Talented Hispanic Women in the Entertainment Industry” by the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard Magazine in 2007 and was honored with the Norman Lear Writers Award at the Imagen Awards in 2008. She serves on the Advisory Boards of The Writers Guild Foundation and Girls Inc. Latina Initiative.

Rep: ICM Partners; Levity Entertainment Group


Make sure to check out our last NALIP Latino Writers List Installment: NALIP's Top Latino Writers

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