Writers Talent Development Opportunities

ABC Daytime Writing Program: Discovers and employs writers of culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds interested in Daytime programming writing.

ABC Scholarship Grant Program: Scholarship grant program supports new writing, filmmaking and directing talent. For one year.

Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts: is a national not-for-profit advocacy organization based in New York City, established in 1986 to address and seek solutions to the problems of racism and exclusion in theatre, film, and television. Today, its mission is to serve as an expert advocate and educational resource for full inclusion in theatre, film, television and related media focusing on issues of race, culture, ethnicity and disability.

The CBS Diversity Institute/Writers Mentoring Program: This program links aspiring writers with mentors from the ranks of CBS Network and CBS Paramount Studio executives. Also, writers are mentored by producer mentors from series airing on CBS. Additionally, there are weekly sessions with successful writers, producers and show runners examining in very specific and practical terms many aspects of the experience of being a television writer in Hollywood.

Film Independent, Project Involve: is dedicated to increasing cultural diversity in the film industry by cultivating the careers of under-represented filmmakers. The program, which runs from October through June, offers a combination of one-on-one mentorships, filmmaking workshops, community screenings, and job placement. Additionally, Project: Involve Fellows receive a complimentary one-year membership to Film Independent.

Film Independent, Screen Writers Lab: is designed to help screenwriters to improve their craft and develop their voice as writers. In this seven-week program, participants meet two nights each week to discuss their scripts and meet with industry professionals. Each lab participant also has one-on-one meetings with two lab advisors, who read and provide notes on the participants’ scripts. Past instructors include Mardik Martin, Jeff Stockwell, Howard Suber, Barbara Turner, and Lee David Zlotoff.

FOX, American Indian Summer Institute: In order to increase the talent pool of those severely under-represented at FOX (and the industry throughout); Diversity Development designed this residential immersion program (the first of its kind in 2002 and partnered with UCLA in its launch in that same year. Topics include broad entertainment exposure with the emphasis on production process from story concept to final image onscreen. Activities also include site visits, workshops led by industry professionals including but not limited to FOX employees.

FOX, Writer’s Initiative: A writers’ initiative designed to identify diverse writers for various staff position on Fox series.

Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)/Disney /ABC Summer Television & Film Workshop Writers’ Track: is a collaboration among The Disney/ABC Television Group Talent Development Programs, The Walt Disney Studios and the Institute of American Indian Arts. This six-week intensive workshop develops scriptwriting skills for American Indians preparing for a career as a professional writer in television and film.

NALIP Latino Writers Lab: The National Association of Latino Independent Producers Latino Writers Lab™ is a unique program for NALIP members who aspire to work as professional screenwriters, or who desire to develop a strong, viable screenplay for production or sale. It includes skills development by professional instructors, direct mentoring of your work-in-progress by writer/mentors, and professional lunches on legal, guild and industry information. Only 12 – 15 writers will be selected to participate in this 10-day intensive workshop.

NBC Diversity Initiative for Writers: NBC is proud of the existing diversity within the writing staffs of its Primetime Series. In order to further encourage diversity among our writing staffs, NBC provides funding for a minority Staff Writer position, open to all scripted NBC Primetime Series. These positions are filled with writers selected and hired by the show runner/producers of each show, with the guidance of the network and studio(s). Though submissions are read on an ongoing basis, positions are generally filled during the March – June staffing season.

NBC, Writers on the Verge: Writers on the Verge is a 10-week program focused on polishing television writers and readying them for a staff writer position on television shows. We are looking for writers who are “almost there,” and just need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills. The program consists of two, three hour, night classes weekly, held at NBC in Burbank.

NHMC Writers Program: The National Hispanic Media Coalitions Writers Program is not for beginners. It is for those writers who can write at least one half-hour comedy or one-hour dramatic television script in English within a five-week period of time.
During the program each participant is expected to complete at least one script by the end of the five-week session, which will then be read by network executives. Those writers whose scripts show promise will be interviewed and mentored by the network executives with the idea of placing them on a show.

Outfest Screenwriting Lab: Since 1997, over 2000 scripts have been submitted to the Outfest Screenwriting Program. What began as a screenwriting competition has expanded into a dynamic three-day, mentor-led workshop in Los Angeles for selected screenwriters. The authors of five screenplays will be invited to participate in an intensive laboratory during which they will work closely with Lab Mentors – established writers who will critique and encourage their work. The lab includes sessions with other industry professionals, structured career development opportunities and participation in ongoing festival events. Past Lab Fellows have gone on to a variety of successes including production of the first Outfest Screenwriting Lab script!

Sundance Institute Film Grants & Fellowships: In addition to the creative support offered through Labs and workshops, Sundance Institute helps independent filmmakers complete their work through various grants and fellowships. Many of these opportunities are designated for filmmakers selected to participate in the Institute’s Feature Film Program.

Sundance Institute Native Initiatives: Rooted in the recognition of a rich tradition of story telling and artistic expression by Native Americans, Sundance Institute’s Native American Initiative is designed to support the development of Native and Indigenous artists and the exhibition of their work by identifying Native artists for the Institute’s core programs. To date the Initiative has facilitated the participation of many Native artists into the Sundance Film Festival, the Independent Producers Conference, and the Institute’s Feature Film Program. This year, the Initiative expands its focus to include outreach to documentarians, theatre artists, and musicians seeking financial and creative support through the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, the Theatre Program, and the Film Music Program.

Sundance Institute Screen Writers Lab: Twice a year, a group of 12 Screenwriters Lab Fellows spend five days in the mountains of Sundance, Utah focused entirely on crafting the most compelling version of their original feature film scripts. One-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors and group discussions with the entire Lab community support, challenge, and inspire the screenwriters during this intensive process of script development.

Tribeca All Access: It’s a simple premise that has achieved great success in less than three years: provide unheralded and established filmmakers with unprecedented access to industry professionals, giving them the contacts and confidence they need to make their movies. For industry representatives, TAA is a place to meet exceptionally talented filmmakers, find new and exciting scripts covering a range of genres and budgets, and get a first look at new documentary works-in-progress.

The Walt Disney Studios and ABC Entertainment Writing Fellowship: The Walt Disney Studios and ABC Entertainment Television Group, in partnership with the Writers Guild of America, West, are currently running the 17th year of the Writing Fellowship program. This program is designed to identify and employ a diverse pool of creative writing talent. We offer Fellowships in the feature film and television areas. No previous experience is necessary; however, completed writing samples are required for admission to this program. The program is an intensive experience that involves workshops, seminars and personalized mentorship with creative executives from ABC Entertainment Television Group, ABC Studios (formerly Touchstone Television), Disney Channel, ABC Family and Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group. Fellows will receive a flat $50,000 annualized salary for a one-year period.

Warner Bros. Comedy and Drama Television Writing Workshops: A writing program for new writers looking to start and further their writing career. The Workshop teaches every aspect of spec script writing and features exposure to Warner Bros. TV’s top television writers and executives, all with the goal of staffing graduates on a Warner Bros. TV show. Program meets for three consecutive months, one evening a week, on the Warner Bros. lot and is free to those accepted.

Women in Film Mentoring Program: The WIF Pilot Mentoring Program accepts sixteen WIF members for a one-year period of one-on-one mentoring with established professionals in the industry. This program allows young women the opportunity to acquire a deeper understanding of the industry’s business practices and culture while also gaining hands-on experience.

Writegirl: Matches high school girls from under-privileged communities in LA with professional women writers who mentor them on a weekly basis in creative writing, journalism and other styles of writing.



By Heather