ViacomCBS Veterans Network presents the 2021 VIP Meet and Greet Web Series, featuring a variety of industry professionals and C-suite executives from across ViacomCBS. These sessions are highlights from ViacomCBS Veterans Network’s first annual Veteran Immersion Program, in which transitioning veterans were able to meet with and learn from ViacomCBS executive leadership and ViacomCBS VetNet advisors and ambassadors. The Meet and Greet sessions are moderated by Richard M. Jones, EVP General Tax Counsel & Chief Veteran Officer, ViacomCBS, and/or Betty Diaz, Director of Programs & Operations, ViacomCBS.
Web Series Episode 4:
VetNet Meet & Greet with Vanessa Mendoza, VP of Physical Production at Paramount Pictures and Rashaan Dozier-Escalante, Story Editor for CBS SEAL Team
On August 11th 2021, mentors Rashaan Dozier-Escalante, Story Editor for CBS SEAL Team, and Vanessa Mendoza, Vice President of Physical Production at Paramount Pictures met the 2021 veteran immersion cohort for another session in the ViacomCBS Veterans Network Meet n’ Greet series.
Rashaan is a former U.S. Army Reservist who, in 2018, was chosen for both the Producers’ Guild of America Diversity Workshop Program and the CBS Writing Mentorship Program. Currently, she is a Story Editor on the CBS drama series “SEAL TEAM.” A graduate of the Stephens College MFA Television and Screenwriting program, Rashaan is a member of the WGA, and a director member of the DGA.
Vanessa Mendoza, Vice President of Physical Production at Paramount Pictures, supervises feature productions for the Paramount Pictures and Paramount Players groups. She is currently working on the prequel chapter of the Stephen King classic Pet Cemetery with writer/first-time director Lindsey Beer at the helm and DiBonaventura Pictures producing. Vanessa is also working with Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures on an upcoming suspense/thriller film tentatively titled Night Sun. Additionally, she’s just wrapped the next installment of the Paranormal Activity franchise with Blumhouse Pictures.
Both women shared professional development insights, and thoughts on the changing nature of the industry. They both agreed that the best thing a veteran beginning their transition journey can do is be kind to themselves and to offer themselves the same compassion they extend to others. They assured the interns that success takes time, and to keep a steady course.
The group discussed the importance and progress of BIPOC/LGBTQ+/Female representation in film and television. Rashaan advised that viewers “show up” to support the types of stories they want to see when they get made – even if the stories have shortcomings. High viewership encourages decision makers to pursue more content of the same style. Vanessa shared the thought process of Physical Production – and how to empower more underrepresented storytelling by being mindful of who was being staffed on productions.
Both mentors spoke highly of refining active listening and emotional intelligence skills, and well as practicing reading the room. Nuance is all things was the theme of the day.
ViacomCBS Veterans Network is grateful to both Rashaan and Vanessa for being so giving and generous of their time, insight, and personal experiences.