Fellowship Programs for Screenwriters

Perhaps one of the best ways to break in to the screenwriting industry is through participating in a contest or fellowship program hosted by a network, studio, or organization. Getting accepted into one of these programs—or even moving on to the final stages of the application process—is a HUGE deal. While there are no guarantees of getting staffed or securing representation by landing in a writing program cohort, these opportunities are within reach if you’re accepted.

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of verified fellowship programs below and have included an FAQ below the list for any general questions you may have about applying to a fellowship program. Good luck!

Please note that all summary details should be reviewed in full on the official fellowship program website as changes to the program requirements occur every year.

 

Academy_of_Motion_Picture_Arts_and_Sciences_logo.png

Academy Nicholl Fellowship

APPLICATION DATES: Typically open at the start of the year; closes May 1.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: Each year, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition awards up to five $35,000 fellowships to amateur screenwriters. The fellowship is open for screenwriters who have not earned more than $25,000 writing fictional work for film or television. Entry scripts must be the original work of one writer, or of two writers who collaborated equally, and must be written originally in English. Adaptations and translated scripts are not eligible.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: You will submit an application that includes an original feature film screenplay (no shorter than 70 pages and no longer than 160 pages) in PDF format only. The entry fee varies depending on which deadline you are submitting to.

 
680D9F5BCB4-0E50-D20A-3A4B9C08E865C70A.jpg

Austin Film Festival Screenplay and Teleplay Competition

APPLICATION DATES: Typically open at the start of the year; closes in May.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: All scripts must be submitted in English. Scripts must not have been optioned or sold prior to a certain date. Scripts that have reached the Semifinalist level or above in previous years within the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition or Digital Series Competition are not eligible for resubmission.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Submission details vary depending on genre/category you are submitting to.

 
banner_img_64.jpg

Black List / Women in Film Episodic Lab

APPLICATION DATES: Typically open from June-August.

ELIGIBILITY: The Black List and Women In Film will invite six to eight promising non-professional television writers who identify as women to the Lab. You must be competent to contract and over the age of 18. You must not have earned more than $25,000 in the aggregate in connection with any prior television writing work.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Submission requirements are laid out extensively on their website.

 
2000px-CBS_logo.svg.png

CBS Writers Mentoring Program

APPLICATION DATES: Typically open from March-May

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.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: You will submit an application, letter of interest, a work resume or bio, and two writing samples: one half-hour or one-hour episodic spec script based on a current prime time television series which aired, or was released, during the years’ season on any network or cable channel, including Netflix, Hulu or Amazon; and one 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 is also required.

 
cape-logo.png

Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment New Writers Fellowship

APPLICATION DATES: Typically opens and closes in December.

ELIGIBILITY: The CAPE New Writers Fellowship discovers and nurtures emerging writers launching their careers in television and film. This unique, immersive Fellowship arms each participant with the practical and business knowledge they need to succeed as a professional writer in the entertainment industry. Writers must be 18 years or older; must not have been a staff writer on an episodic nor have had a feature worth over $1 million budget produced, regardless of which category they are applying for; must be able to work in the United States; and, if selected, must attend every single session in-person (no exceptions). All sessions take place in the Los Angeles area. Writers must provide their own transportation and lodging for the duration of the program. CAPE is unable to offer any financial or other assistance regarding accommodations. The CAPE New Writers Fellowship is open to writers of all race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability and sexual orientation.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Submission details vary from year to year.

 
logo copy.png

Disney/ABC Writing Program

APPLICATION DATES: Typically opens in May.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: The twelve-month Program typically begins in February and ends in January of the following year. 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. You must be 21 or older to be eligible.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Submission details vary from year to year and all application links, instructions, and additional information are managed solely through their Facebook page.

 
Fi_Primary_Logo.jpg

Film Independent Screenwriting or Episodic Lab

APPLICATION DATES: The Screenwriting Lab typically closes in October. The Episodic Lab typically closes in February.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: The Screenwriting Lab is open to any writer applying with a completed draft of a feature-length project they wish to workshop during the program, with an eye toward production. The Episodic Lab is open to any emerging writer applying with a completed draft of a half hour or hour-long television pilot they wish to workshop during the program. Each applicant must be the author of the script he or she submits. The submitted pilot cannot have been pitched at any point to a studio or network.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Submission details vary based on which lab you are applying to.

 
Final Draft.png

Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest

APPLICATION DATES: Typically opens in the beginning of the year; closes in July.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: The Big Break Screenwriting Contest offers film and TV writers in 11 genres the chance to win up to $80,000 in cash and prizes. Grand prize winners also get flown to Los Angeles to meet with managers, producers and executives. Any writer over the age of 18 whose screenplay or teleplay is not currently optioned is eligible.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Submission details vary from year to year.

 
1200px-21st_Century_Fox_logo.png

Fox Writers Lab

APPLICATION DATES: Typically open from September-October.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: Fox Writers Lab is for emerging writers and/or previously staffed, produced, or published writers who have a strong command of their craft and who are deeply committed to pursuing or sustaining a professional writing career. Writers who have had pilots produced are not eligible to apply.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Applicants will submit one original pilot script; a script synopsis; a logline; three additional original loglines; two letters of recommendation; a resume/CV, bio, and personal statement; and a submission agreement. Writing teams have additional submission rules.

 
Artboard 1.png

HBOAccess Writing Fellowship

APPLICATION DATES: Typically opens in February.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: The program will select up to 8 diverse writers to take part in a series of master classes held over one week in June at the HBO campus in Santa Monica. Classes will consist of discussions with HBO executives and showrunners and will focus on the craft of writing including structure, story, and character as well as the business aspects of securing an agent and effective networking. Any diverse writer, 21 or over, is eligible. For HBOACCESS, diversity is defined as those who identify their heritage as Asian Pacific Islander; Sub-Continent Asian; Black; LatinX or Hispanic; Native American or Indigenous; or Middle Eastern, in addition to women and those who identify as transgender. 

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Applicants will submit a resume or bio, a sample of their work (see their website for more info), answer two short essay questions, and agree to the terms and conditions.

 
Humanitas_Stacker_RGB.png

Humanitas New Voices

APPLICATION DATES: Closes in March.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: Every year, NEW VOICES accepts hundreds of script submissions and selects two to four writers through a rigorous selection process. Candidates are asked to submit a writing sample and participate in personal interviews. Once matched with a mentor, the writers have three months to further develop their script under their mentors’ supervision. After the script is honed, HUMANITAS sends it to a partnering studio or network executive. The winning writers are given recognition at the annual awards ceremony and are awarded with a $7,500 grant. All ages welcome. A writer can have experience up to the level of "Staff Writer", but not beyond.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Alongside a general application and a $100 application fee, writers will submit one writing sample of an original 30-minute pilot, 60-minute pilot, or feature film screenplay, a brief synopsis, a letter of interest, a resume, a bio, and a release form.

 
download.png

National Hispanic Media Coalition TV Writers Program

APPLICATION DATES: Closes in March.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: Every year, NEW VOICES accepts hundreds of script submissions and selects two to four writers through a rigorous selection process. Candidates are asked to submit a writing sample and participate in personal interviews. Once matched with a mentor, the writers have three months to further develop their script under their mentors’ supervision. After the script is honed, HUMANITAS sends it to a partnering studio or network executive. The winning writers are given recognition at the annual awards ceremony and are awarded with a $7,500 grant. All ages welcome. A writer can have experience up to the level of "Staff Writer", but not beyond.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Alongside a general application and a $100 application fee, writers will submit one writing sample of an original 30-minute pilot, 60-minute pilot, or feature film screenplay, a brief synopsis, a letter of interest, a resume, a bio, and a release form.

 
LNWW-2017.png

NBC Late Night Writers Workshop

APPLICATION DATES: Typically opens and closes in December.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: The NBCUniversal Late Night Writers Workshop is a multi-day program focused on exposing talented sketch and comedy writers to NBCUniversal’s late night & alternative line-up and readying them for a staff writer position. We are looking for writers who are “almost there,” but need that final bit of preparation and exposure to key industry players. We particularly encourage female writers and those of diverse backgrounds to apply.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Participants will submit a sketch packet with three elements: 1-2 pages of topical monologue jokes, 1-2 pages of original ideas for refillable late night “desk bits,” and 2  SNL-style sketches (no more than 5 pages EACH).

 
NBC-Writers-On-The-Verge.png

NBCUniversal Writers on the Verge

APPLICATION DATES: May 1-31.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: 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.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Participants will submit a general application, a spec script from a list of accepted shows, a resume, and a legal release form.

 
Nick.svg.png

Nickelodeon Writing Program

APPLICATION DATES: January 2-31.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: While in the Program, writers meet our series creators, work in writers’ rooms, and receive hands-on experience writing spec scripts and pitching story ideas in both live action and animated television. There are two creative avenues to pursue: the General Track (12-months) and the Preschool Track (6-months). The Preschool Track was created to develop writers specifically interested in writing and/or creating shows for the preschool demographic. You must be 18 years or older to participate. If you have previously applied to the Program and were not selected, you are welcome and encouraged to apply again. However, you must submit a different spec script for each new submission period.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Participants will submit a general application that includes one spec script in PDF format (this applies to both individual writers and writing teams), a one-page resume in PDF format, a short biography (500 words or less), two essay questions (each 75 words or less), and a completed and digitally signed Submission Release form and Schedule A 

 
sundance_institute_logo.png

Sundance Episodic Storytelling Lab

APPLICATION DATES: Typically opens in February.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: Offering one of the few training grounds for independent voices to develop an original series and pilot script, the Sundance Institute Episodic Program provides artists with the tools, training, and industry access to move their projects and careers forward. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older at time of application. The project must be the applicant’s original creation or adapted from optioned source material. The project must be written in the English language. The project must be new: not previously submitted to Sundance, not already produced, not already sold to a third party, and not distributed online or otherwise. Applicants cannot have sold an episodic project (pilot or pitch) to a studio or network in the past that has been shot. The project shall not infringe the copyright or any other proprietary right of another individual or entity. The creator/applicant is responsible for all rights pertaining to the project.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: There are two rounds in the application process: in the Round 1, applicants are required to submit the first 5 pages of an original pilot script, their bio, series logline, series overview, personal statement, thematic statement, and (optional) links to samples of previous work, along with a $40 non-refundable processing fee. If selected for the Round 2, applicants are notified by email and have 2 weeks to submit their full pilot script. For further detail on what the application process entails, please see our FAQ section below.

 
Tribeca Film Institute.jpeg

Tribeca All Access

APPLICATION DATES: Typically open from September-November.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: Tribeca All Access® is TFI’s flagship program for scripted and documentary storytellers who come from communities underrepresented in the film industry. Eligibility guidelines depend on whether you are submitting a scripted, documentary, or hybrid film.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Submission details vary based on which category you are submitting.

 

Universal Writers Program

APPLICATION DATES: Typically opens and closes in October.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: The Universal Writers Program identifies up-and-coming and experienced screenwriters with unique points of view that build upon the Studio’s commitment to telling stories and creating films that reflect the vast diversity of our audiences. The only feature film program sanctioned by the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), the Program develops storytellers who organically incorporate multicultural and global perspectives in screenwriting. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age before the Program start date and applicants must be authorized to work in the United States.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Applicants are required to submit a Universal Writers Program application, an original screenplay, an original treatment for a project other than the submitted screenplay, release form for submitted material, a current résumé, and a personal essay. Letters of recommendation are not required but are optional.

 
wbtvworkshop.jpg

Warner Bros. Writing Workshop

APPLICATION DATES: Typically opens in May.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: For over 40 years, the Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop has been the premiere writing program for new writers looking to start and further their career in the world of television. Every year, the Workshop selects up to eight participants out of more than 2,500 submissions and exposes them to Warner Bros. Television’s top writers and executives, all with the ultimate goal of earning them a staff position on a Warner Bros.-produced television show.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Participants will submit a general application that includes a resume, personal statement, one spec script that is written from the accepted shows list, and a submission agreement.

 
the-writers-lab-logo.jpg

The Writers Lab NYC

APPLICATION DATES: Typically open from January-March.

FORMAT & ELIGIBILITY: The Writers Lab is presented by New York Women in Film & Television. The Lab is a four-day writers workshop that gives women screenwriters over the age of 40 the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established film professionals. The Lab only accepts female writers over the age of 40. 

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Participants will submit a general application that includes a script log line and genre, and a full-length feature narrative script, in PDF format, no more than 120 pages long, registered with the WGA or US Copyright Office.