2017 TV Writing Fellowships and Workshops

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A laptop is a writer’s best friend. Or worst nemesis. Depends on the day.

It’s that time of the year again! Fellowship season! For any aspiring TV writers like myself, this means it’s time get cracking on those spec scripts. For 2016, I wrote a post detailing the information and requirements for four of the major TV writing workshops. Well here’s an UPDATED post for 2017!

These fellowships/workshops are all designed for preparing an emerging writer to be staffed on a series. They all differ but generally include a combination of lectures from industry speakers, some form of a simulated writers room, and lots of networking opportunities. So if you’re interested in writing for television, this is definitely one of the best ways to break in.

Each program has different rules and requirements for submission, and since it’s such a hassle trying to bounce around from each program’s website, I decided to compile all the important information from four of the major workshops right here for easy viewing! This includes the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, Disney/ABC Writing Program, NBCUniversal Writers on the Verge, and WB Writers’ Workshop. Yes, there are others, but these are most likely the ones I’ll be applying to.

CBS Writers Mentoring Program

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This is a diversity program designed to provide opportunities to build relationships with network executives and showrunners, to support emerging writers in improving their craft, and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed in television.

Each participant will be teamed with an executive mentor 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, there will be a small workshop-style meeting in the evening with speakers including executive producers, agents, managers, development and current executives, and showrunners. Participants spend time observing in a writing room as well as in the CBS current and development departments. The program is a combination of mentoring and networking opportunities.

Submission Period: March 1, 2017 to May 1, 2017
# of Applicants Selected: Up to 10
Finalists Announced: Mid September 2016
Program Writers Announced: October 2016
Dates/Length of Program: Six months. October 2017 – April 1, 2018. Meeting times vary, but participants should prepared to commit up to 20 hours a month.
Eligibility: Must be at least 21 years old. Aspiring diverse writers with a strong desire to write for CBS television series are encouraged to apply.

What to Submit:

  • TWO writing samples: A Spec Script based on a current primetime television series which aired or was released during the 2016-2017 season on any network or cable channel (including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon). AND an Original Work of writing (original pilot, stage play, or short fiction story) that matches the spec script in tone.
  • Completed Application.
  • Letter of Interest
  • Work Resume or Bio
  • Signed Submission Release form for the writing samples.

How to Submit:
Submit online here: https://wmp.cbscorporation.com/form

For more information, visit the CBS Writers Mentoring Program website.

Disney/ABC Writing Program

disneyabctelevision

The primary goal is for program writers to staff on a Disney│ABC Television Group (DATG) series as a staff writer during the program. Staffing is not guaranteed, but the purpose of the program is to present DATG executives and producers with viable writing candidates who will make invaluable contributions in a writers’ room.

The Program provides access to executives, producers, and literary representatives through various meetings, events, and networking mixers designed to facilitate valuable relationships. Program Writers participate in workshops led by veteran television writers, producers and Program Alumni, and work on everything from self-branding to creating new writing materials.

Submission Period: May 1, 2017 – June 2, 2017
# of Applicants Selected: 8
Finalists Chosen: November/December 2017
Program Writers Announced: January/February 2018
Dates/Length of Program: One year. Most likely February 2018 – February 2019.
Eligibility: Must be able to legally work in the U.S. and be at least 21 years old.

What to Submit:

  • Two writing samples: An Original Pilot that captures the writer’s unique tone, style, and point view. AND a Spec Script for a broadcast/cable/streaming-service (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu) series airing during the current television season. The timeline for the spec must reflect the series’ current timeline. Both writings samples must be for live-action content (NOT animation) and should tonally translate to the type of programming broadcast on DATG series.
  • Completed Application and signed Release Forms for each script.
  • Current Resume
  • Essay, no more than 750 words: “Tell us a story from your life experience that conveys your unique perspective and/or multi-cultural sensibility.”
  • Letters of Recommendation (optional) from entertainment industry professionals. Letters from representation not accepted. A maximum of TWO letters are strongly encouraged but not required.

How to Submit:
Download the application HERE. Submissions must be EMAILED no later than 11:59pm of the deadline date.

SPECIAL NOTE: Program writers become employees of 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.

For more information, visit the Disney/ABC Writing Program website.

NBC/Universal Writers on the Verge

nbcwritersontheverge

The program focuses on polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series. Classes concentrate on creating an exceptional spec and pilot script and understanding the dynamics of pitching oneself in the industry. Program Writers are given the chance to interact with network executives, showrunners, agents, and other industry players and will 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; though, it’s not guaranteed.

Submission Period: May 1, 2017 to May 31, 2017
# of Applicants Selected: 8
Program Writers Announced: September 2017
Dates/Length of Program: 12 weeks. Two classes held weekly, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-10pm at NBC Universal in Universal City, CA. Most likely October 2017 – January 2018.
Eligibility: Anyone can apply, including both individual writers and writing teams of two. Writing teams of more than two are NOT accepted. Looking for writers who are “almost there” but need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills. Writers of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

What to Submit:

  • ONE Spec Script (half-hour or one-hour) for a series on their Accepted Shows List.
  • Signed Release Form for submitted script.
  • Two Essays, which will be provided during the open submission period.
  • Current Resume/CV

How to Submit:
You must complete the online application available during the open submission period. Email/mail submissions are NOT accepted.

For more information, visit the NBC/Universal Writers on the Verge website.

Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop

wbtvworkshop

The WB Writers’ Workshop consists of three components, all geared towards preparing the writer for a successful career in television writing.

1. Weekly Lectures feature guests speakers (showrunners, directors, actors, agents) currently working in television, who will focus on a skill essential for surviving and excelling in a writers’ room.
2. Workshop Writers participate in a Simulated Writers’ Room, where they are divided into smaller groups and will be required to complete a new spec scripts under the same deadlines found on a show currently in production.
3. Upon completion of the program and Writers’ Room, studio executives will help the participants get Staffed on a WB show currently in production. Staffing is not guaranteed, but they will get your material in front of the people who make the ultimate decisions – the showrunners.

Submission Period: May 1, 2017 to May 31, 2017
# of Applicants Selected: 8 to 10
Finalists Announced: September 2017
Program Writers Announced: October 2017
Dates/Length of Program: October 2017 – April 2018. Meets every Tuesday evening from 7-10pm on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, CA.
Eligibility: Anyone able to work in the U.S. can submit.

What to Submit:

  • One OR two Spec Scripts for a series on their Accepted Shows list. Make sure to check the list on their Website as many shows are excluded. Include a “Previously On” page for serialized shows.
  • Current Resume
  • Short Composition, no longer than a page, double-spaced in size 12 font. It should tell why the applicant wants to be a television writer and how the applicant’s background will add a unique perspective to television.
  • Completed and signed Submission Agreement that will only appear after you have uploaded your script, resume, and essay. Take into account the time it will take to submit the agreement when applying.

How to Submit:
You must complete the online application available during the open submission period. You can log in to your account/application and change any information before the deadline of 11:59pm on May 31st. Mail/drop-off submissions are NOT accepted.

For more information, visit the WB Television Writers’ Workshop website.

Good luck to anyone applying this year!

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