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Top Scriptwriting Contests and Fellowships

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Nicholl Fellowships : The Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting is an international screenwriting competition established to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters. The 2017 competition is now open to entries.

Universal Pictures Emerging Writers' Fellowship

The Emerging Writers Fellowship is an exciting program at Universal Pictures that is designed to identify and cultivate new and unique voices with a passion for storytelling. We are looking for talented screenwriters who have the potential to thrive, but don’t have access to or visibility within the industry.

Emerging writers who are chosen to participate in the program will work exclusively with the studio over the course of a year to hone their skills. During this program, fellows will be given the opportunity to work on current Universal projects as well as pitch original story ideas. In addition to working on writing assignments, the fellows will receive industry exposure by:

- Participating in filmmaking workshops and studio seminars
- Receiving mentoring from established filmmakers
- Networking with top literary agents and managers
- Meeting with production development executives
- Attending screenings and premieres

Fellows admitted into the program will be hired under a writing service agreement and must be committed to working full-time for one year. Additionally, Universal Pictures has the option to extend a fellows’ contract for a second year.

 

Screencraft's Screen writing contest and fellowships ScreenCraft’s screenwriting contests are dedicated to discovering talented screenwriters and connecting them with producers, agents and managers. Our contests uniquely tailor the prize package and jury for each contest (eliminating potential genre bias) by specializing in screenplay competitions by genre.

Austin Film festival Play Writing Contest

As Austin Film Festival continues to grow and expand, our vision also widens with the addition of new avenues for storytellers. The inaugural Playwriting Competition is open to full-length stage plays and give playwrights a chance to explore our film and television conference. It will also allow film professionals to discover storytellers who have mastered the art and craft of stage drama.

Rotterdam Lab

Besides the presentation of projects at its co-production market, CineMart organises Rotterdam Lab, a five-day training workshop for promising emerging producers from all over the world. The aim of Rotterdam Lab is to provide emerging professionals with the means to build and develop and international network. Providing confidence and skills to navigate the world of international film financing, sales and distribution, Rotterdam Lab offers a place to over 60 producers from over 24 countries.

Over the past few years, Rotterdam Lab has expanded steadily, with more producers from more different regions participating each year. The results of the Rotterdam Lab programme have been spectacular: many selected producers have returned to CineMart, and films by former Rotterdam Lab participants have been selected for different sections in the programme of IFFR. Moreover, by bringing together a mix of producers from all around the world, the Rotterdam Lab has also generated many alluring international co-productions.

 

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Sundance Script Lab

The application is a two step process.

FIRST you have to complete the electronic application. This is where you provide us with all of your contact info, a brief bio on yourself and your team members, a cover letter, an artistic statement, and a synopsis of your project.

You will be asked to enter all of the written materials into text boxes on the web application (with the exception of the screenplay.) You will be able to save your application as a work-in-progress before submitting; however, you may wish to draft elements in a Word doc and cut and paste the final text once it has been completed to your satisfaction.

SECOND you must upload the first 5 pages of your screenplay. A .pdf is the required format.

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The Screecraft Screenwriting Fellowship is awesome.


Opening for submissions in September.
The chosen recipients will receive ongoing professional support and a special trip to Los Angeles for meetings and introductions to key entertainment executives, producers and representatives. To apply, simply submit your feature film script or original television script, along with an optional cover letter here on this application page.
Apply now and join a growing community of visionary screenwriters with meaningful connections to Hollywood mentors.
Past ScreenCraft Fellowship winners have optioned their projects and signed with top representatives at 3 Arts Entertainment, United Talent Agency, Creative Artists Agency, Anonymous Content, Paradigm Talent Agency, ICM, Bellevue Productions, Plattform and more.

 

 

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Cassian Elwes Independent Screenwriting Fellowship

The Cassian Elwes Independent Screenwriting Fellowship is an annual program designed to encourage and identify new talent in the field of independent cinema by awarding one screenwriter each year with an all-expenses paid trip to the Sundance Film Festival and an opportunity to meet with Producer Cassian Elwes (Lee Daniels' The Butler, Ain't Them Bodies Saints). Each year, The Black List will choose ten screenplays imbued with an independent spirit by unrepresented screenwriters, which will be sent on to Mr. Elwes for his consideration. The short list will be determined in early December and the Fellowship recipient will be selected by Mr. Elwes by calendar year's end.

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Wellcome Screenwriting Fellowship in accordance with BFI and Film4

We award this fellowship to a screenwriter whose work is bold, original and authentic.

Selected from over 100 names nominated by the film and television industries, Michaela Coel (Chewing Gum) has received the 2017 fellowship in recognition of her remarkable screenwriting talent and distinctive approach to exploring the human condition.

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 Rocliffe in partnership with BAFTA, runs the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition & Showcase, an initiative which has connected scores of aspiring British writers and filmmakers with agents, development executives and established industry members such as Lone Scherfig, Amanda Posey, Adam Tandy, Kevin Cecil, Greg Daniels, Stephanie Laing, Andy Patterson, Olivia Hetreed, Paula Milne, Andy Harries, Sue Perkins, Jenni Konner, Christine Langan, Mike Newell, Julian Fellowes, Phil Rosenthal, Elizabeth Karlsen, John Madden, Richard Eyre, David Morrissey and David Parfitt.
Our Competitions are specific to each medium (TV, Film, Children's Media, Comedy) and distributed to the industry at large this programme making it the go-to source for new writing talent. Given that all our writers are selected anonymously this initiative is about the voice of the writer - not their age, experience, race or gender.

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Warner Brothers Is Looking Fir Writers

Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop describes itself as the premier writing program for new writers looking to start and further their career in the world of television. Graduates of the program include Terrance Winter (Boardwalk Empire), Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives), Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl) and Felicia Henderson (Soul Food).

The program has three components:

- Lectures: Weekly lectures featuring guest speakers currently working in television and include a mix of showrunners, directors, actors and agents. Each seminar will teach a new skill essential for surviving and excelling in a writers’ room as a staff writer and beyond.
- Simulated Writers’ Room: In the winter, the Workshop participants are divided into smaller groups for an intensive writing experience. Each participant will be required to complete a new spec script under the same deadlines found on a show currently in production. How participants perform during this exercise will determine whether they will be chosen for a possible staffing position on a Warner Bros. show.
- Staffing: Upon completion of the program studio executives will help participants who pass the Writers’ Room, obtain a staff position on a Warner Bros. television show currently in production.

 

 

 

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Hedgebrook Screenwriters Lab

5 Screenwriters. 2 Mentors. 1 Week.

Hedgebrook’s Screenwriters Lab supports five screenwriters in developing their projects over a weeklong residency, with two mentors from the film industry, at our retreat on Whidbey Island, Washington. Through this program, Hedgebrook aims to support the creative process of a diverse group of screenwriters each year, and build a community that harnesses the power of film as a storytelling medium to change the cultural conversation.

 

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NBC Writers On The Verge

Writers on the Verge is a program focused on polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series. We are looking for writers who are “almost there” but need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills. We particularly encourage writers of diverse backgrounds to apply.

The program will consist of weekly evening classes at NBCUniversal in Universal City, CA. Once accepted, students must attend all classes and turn in all written assignments.

Classes concentrate on creating exceptional material to enhance their portfolio, and understanding the dynamics of pitching oneself in the television industry. Writers are given the chance to interact with industry players ranging from network executives to show runners to agents and receive valuable feedback on their work and pitch style. Writing assignments on a NBCUniversal television show may be available after successful completion of the program but are not a guarantee. Past participants have gone on to series including “The Blacklist,” “Marlon,” “Community”, “Burn Notice”, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, “White Collar”, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, “Chicago Fire” and “Parenthood.”

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CBS Writers Mentorning Program

Making an Impact

In its fourteen years, a total of 105 emerging diverse writers have graduated from the CBS Writers Mentoring Program. 61 careers have been launched. The goal of the program is to positively impact the presence of diverse writers throughout the industry.
How it Works

There are many different paths writers can follow to get their first foothold in being hired in television. As part of its ongoing commitment to create additional access for writers of diverse backgrounds CBS’ Diversity Institute has launched a different kind of writers program which highlights one of those paths. The focus of this eight month program is on opening doors: providing opportunities to build relationships with network executives and show runners; to support new and emerging writers in their efforts to improve their craft; and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed. The Writers Mentoring Program is not employment and there is no monetary compensation. It is, instead, a structured program of career development, support, and personal access to executives and the decision-making processes, with the goal of preparing aspiring writers for later employment opportunities in television. Each participant will be teamed with an executive mentor.

    A CBS network or studio executive with whom they will meet on a regular basis, to discuss their work, get creative feedback on their material and get advice and support in furthering their career.

Once a week, participants will be invited to attend a small workshop-style meeting with various CBS show runners and other industry professionals. Speakers include executive producers, agents, managers, development and current executives and show runners. The purpose of these gatherings is for participants to gain a better understanding of how the business works from many different perspectives as well as creating the opportunity to make critical networking connections. Another important part of the Program is the opportunity for each participant to spend time observing in a writing room, as well as in the CBS current and development departments. Each participant will have help in creating a rigorous career action plan and there will be on-going support in evaluating and achieving those goals. Another important benefit of the Program is the development of a close-knit peer support group that will sustain participants through the program and beyond. The CBS Writers Mentoring Program helps aspiring writers to understand the unwritten rules of breaking in and moving up. It is a combination of mentoring and networking opportunities. Program opportunities such as mentoring, workshops, and observing can be scheduled around participants’ existing work commitments. In order for a participant to get the most out of the Program a meaningful commitment of time and effort are required. It’s been found that in order to derive the greatest benefit from the Program, participants should be available to 1) attend a once a week (evening) workshop and 2) attend meetings or observe in various situations for a minimum of five full days (not necessarily in sequence) over the course of the eight-month Program.
Eligibility

The primary focus of The CBS Diversity Institute’s Writers Mentoring Program is to provide access and opportunities for talented and motivated diverse writers. Aspiring diverse writers with a strong desire to write for CBS television series are encouraged to apply. You must be 21 or older to be eligible.   All completed application materials must be received between March 1, 2018 and May 1, 2018. Any submissions received before March 1st or after May 1st, 2018 will not be considered. No hand delivered submissions will be accepted. Finalists will be notified in mid September 2018 (or such later date as may be determined by CBS). The Program is scheduled to begin in October, 2018 and continues through April 1, 2019. CBS reserves the right to make adjustments to Program schedule.
Application Materials  ~

Each submission must be complete in order to be considered. A complete application packet includes:

    Application
    Letter of Interest
    Work Resume or Bio
    Two (2) Writing Samples: one (1) half-hour or one-hour episodic spec script based on a current prime time television series which aired, or was released, during the 2017/2018 season on any network or cable channel, including Netflix, Hulu or Amazon and (1) original work of writing – (original pilot, stage play or short fiction story). Original material should match in tone the spec script.
    A signed Submission Release form for the writing samples.

 

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Academy Nicholl Fellowships

pplications for the prestigious and lucrative Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting are now open for 2018.

This international screenwriting competition awards up to five fellowships of US$35,000 each year. Since 1986, 152 fellowships totalling $4,265,000 have been awarded.
Who Can Enter

The competition is open to writers based anywhere in the world, regardless of citizenship. All entrants must be aged over 18. Entry scripts must be the original work of one writer, or of two writers who collaborated equally, and must be written originally in English. Translated scripts are not eligible.

The fellowships are intended for new and/or amateur screenwriters. In order to be eligible, an entrant’s total earnings for motion picture and television writing may not exceed US$25,000 before the end of the competition.

It is a requirement that all fellowship winners complete at least one new feature screenplay in the year of their fellowship (the Academy acquires no rights to the work and will not participate in its marketing or in any other aspects of its commercial future).
The Prizes

Up to five $35,000 fellowships are awarded each year to promising new screenwriters.

In addition to the cash prize, winners of the Nicholl Fellowships will be invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars in November. The successful applications are also expected to receive many networking opportunities to help complete their next script.
How to Enter

Applicants must submit an original feature film screenplay. This screenplay may be no shorter than 70 pages and no longer than 160 pages. The shortest script to earn its writer an Academy Nicholl Fellowship was 80 pages long; the longest was 153 pages.

Screenwriters may enter the 2018 competition up to three times; an entry fee is payable for each separate screenplay. If the script is based on a true story/events, historical or contemporary, the ‘based on true story’ button should be selected within the online application form. Adaptations of any work (other than your own) are not eligible.

 

 

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The Disney ABC Writing Program

Created in 1990 in partnership with the Writers Guild of America West (WGAw), the Disney | ABC Writing Program is based in Los Angeles. Widely recognized as one of the entertainment industry’s most successful writing programs, the one-year program’s primary goal is to connect participants to their first staff writing positions, via Disney │ ABC Television Group (DATG) series. Staffing is not guaranteed.

The program has launched the careers of many established and award-winning writers, producers and showrunners for hit shows across the broadcast, cable and streaming platforms, including: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Psych and more. It also was the starting point for show creators such as: Veena Sud (The Killing; Seven Seconds), Jane Espenson (Warehouse 13) and Erica Montolfo-Bura (Zoe Ever After).

The Disney | ABC Writing Program remains the only program of its kind designed under terms approved by the WGAw.
About the Writing Program

The twelve-month Program begins in February and ends in January of the following year. Please note that time frames are subject to change. For at least the first month of the Program, writers participate in a curriculum designed to better prepare them for staffing consideration. Past activities have included: workshops led by veteran television writers, producers and Program alumni; improvisational workshops; and networking mixers with executives.

The Program also provides engagement with executives, producers and literary representatives, designed to facilitate relationships that can prove invaluable in developing a television writing career.

Writers become employees of Disney│ABC Television Group (DATG) and will be paid a weekly salary of $961.54 ($50,000 annualized) plus any applicable benefits for which they are eligible in accordance with the then-current Company benefits. The one-year program begins in February and ends in February of the following year. Please note that time frames are subject
to change.
REQUIREMENTS

The Disney | ABC Writing Program application now is a fully online process that requires Internet access and digital files. All application links, instructions and additional information are managed solely through our Facebook page.

IMPORTANT: We will not accept any mailed, emailed, faxed or delivered submissions for the Writing Program. All application steps are managed online.

 

 

 

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