TV & Screenwriting Fellowships

by Susan Sassi

Every year, TV and feature writers from all over the world engage in our own personal Hunger Games: Fellowship season. They received thousands of applications only to select 10 writers for less. Fellowships are harder to get into than Harvard.

We’re big fans of Fellowships at Script Anatomy. Most of our alumni and faculty members have done a program or two. They’re a proven pipeline to staff jobs and careers. Put simply, a fellowship can change your life.

To date, 110 Script Anatomy students have won a spot in a fellowship program, 55 of them at the prestigious studio fellowships. In 2021 our alums won 10—3 at Disney, 3 at CBS, and 4 at Warner Media.

Here are the fellowships we recommend, complete with links, contacts and the all-important deadlines.

 

TV WRITING NETWORK/STUDIO FELLOWSHIPS:

 

These fellowships are geared towards training writers from underrepresented backgrounds to staff on shows. Usually, the application materials required for submission are a resume/bio, a personal essay, a spec script, and one or more original samples.

We recommend having two finished original pilots by the time you submit to these fellowships. Some require a second sample if you make the semifinalist or finalist cuts.  Read each fellowship’s website for specific requirements.

 

WARNER BROTHERS WRITERS WORKSHOP

Writers choose to spec from a list of pre-approved shows that is updated each year. Their staffing record is excellent. Covid brought their percentage down a bit. But usually, every member of each year’s class gets staffed on a Warner Brothers show by the end.

Deadline: May 31st, 2022 – 11:59 pm PST. Consult their website for details.

 

PARAMOUNT WRITERS MENTORING PROGRAM

Writers in this program attend classes and lectures, and develop a sample with established TV executives, before going out for staffing in the spring.

Deadline: May 1st, 2022 at 11:59 pm PST. Consult their website for details.

 

NBC LAUNCH TV WRITERS PROGRAM (FORMERLY WRITERS ON THE VERGE)

This program has shifted into the hands of a new team of executives. Currently, Coverfly is the best place to check for updates on their curriculum, application schedule, and requirements.

Last Deadline: March 7th, 2022. Consult their website for details.

 

DGE WRITING PROGRAM (FORMERLY DISNEY | ABC WRITING PROGRAM)

The DGE Writing Program selects writers from diverse backgrounds with the primary goal of staffing on DGE shows. Two original samples, plus a personal statement, are required for submission.

Deadline: Monday, May 30, 2022. Consult their website for details.

 

WARNER MEDIA ACCESS WRITERS’ PROGRAM

This new writers program is an expansion of the former HBO Access Writers Program. Its inaugural class of over 20 diverse writers from the US and Canada, enter the program with the goal of staffing or developing with Warner Media.

This program is unique because it’s one of the only programs accepting submissions from writers who have been staffed once already. It focuses on the development of writers from entry-level through mid-career.

Deadline:  Consult their website for details.

 

NICKELODEON WRITERS PROGRAM

The Nickelodeon Writers Program is a year-long, paid writing fellowship for diverse writers who want to break into children’s entertainment. It aims to provide staffing and development opportunities for its alumni and keeps classes small to ensure individual attention.

A spec script from their list of approved shows and an original comedy pilot are requirements to apply.

Previous Deadline:  August 1st,  2021, 11:59 pm PST. Consult their website for details.

 

For more information on TV Writing Fellowships, listen to our 2022 TV Fellowship Panel Recording. We asked the heads of these programs our most pressing questions.

 

TV/FEATURE LABS:

 

These are shorter-term lab-style fellowships for both TV and feature writers. Usually, the application materials include a personal statement and treatment, and sample. You may have to submit the completed script later if you make the semifinalist or finalist round.

 

SUNDANCE LABS

Sundance offers a host of labs for TV, Feature, and Documentary writers. They usually take place over a week (or less) at various times throughout the year. From the Episodic Lab to the Makers Lab to the Feature Film Lab, these programs offer writers a little boost as they develop TV, film, or documentary projects.

Many labs offer mentorship opportunities. All labs are high-profile enough to attract top representation. Application requirements vary but expect to have a bulletproof 10 pages of the script you’d like to work on in the lab, along with one treatment and personal statement.

Deadline: Various. Consult their website for details.

 

BLACK LIST LABS

The Black List partners with organizations like Women in Film, MGM Studios, and NRDC to create an extensive list of labs. They primarily offer mentorship and a supportive peer group, but without the guarantee of being staffed or optioned. They add more initiatives each year, so visit their website periodically.

Deadlines: Rolling. Consult the Black List website for details.

 

FEATURE FELLOWSHIPS:

 

There are a lot of feature writing contests, labs, and festivals. In terms of concrete steps toward getting paid to write movies, these two opportunities are the ones most recommended to our feature students.

 

ACADEMY NICHOLL FELLOWSHIP

If you have a feature screenplay and have made less than $25,000 as a screenwriter, you are eligible to apply. Nicholl receives upwards of 7,000 applications. That pool whittles down to 5 winners, who receive $35,000 and are invited to awards ceremonies and seminars.

The Nicholl Fellowship launches careers more than any other contest. As of 2020, seventeen Nicholl-winning scripts have become produced films.

Deadline: TBD (2022 Deadline was May 2nd)  Consult the Nicholl website for details.

 

UNIVERSAL WRITERS PROGRAM

This is for feature writers and guarantees $75k a year for selected applicants. One requirement is to be based in Los Angeles. For the program, writers develop a feature script that aligns with the Universal brand. A script option is the goal, but not the guarantee.

The number of applicants they select for the program varies but is usually no more than 10. An original screenplay, treatment, and personal statement are all requirements to apply. Writers are also encouraged to submit letters of recommendation.

Deadline: TBD (2022 Deadline was February 21st) Consult the Universal Writers’ Program website for details.

 

For more information on Feature Fellowships, listen to our 2022 Feature Fellowship Panel Recording. Get the details from the directors of these various programs.

 

FELLOWSHIP PREP:

 

If you are planning to apply for any of these programs, check out Script Anatomy’s offerings to help you put your best foot forward!

Fellowship Consultations:

 

2022 TV & Feature Fellowship Panel Recordings:

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