“In today’s climate it is more important than ever to be able to write with diversity in mind. Audiences no longer sit idly by and accept that they’re not being represented on screen” — Joy Cheriel Brown via Scriptmag
TOP5 Screenwriting Diversity Programs for 2021
Written by: Christine B.
December 14, 2020
The show must go on. While many programs have been canceled or delayed because of the pandemic, writers can still take advantage of many diversity programs accepting applicants for the 2021 year. Here are five to check out.
In the 16 years, the CBS Diversity Writers Mentoring Program has been running, more than 65 writers of color have launched their careers and 12 alumni are now Showrunners. The Program includes writing a new piece of material with a network/studio mentor, spending time observing in a writers room and 16 weeks of career development workshops with agents, managers, executives and many Showrunners. You need an original sample and a spec script to apply. Application deadline: May 2021
Through the Women in Film Black List Writing Lab, 8 women are selected to go through a series of workshops, classes, and script development. The program is four weeks long and open to any non-professional, female-identifying writer who is a member of Women in Film. Applications require a pilot, short synopsis, resume, and a personal statement. You must not have earned more than $25,000 in the aggregate in connection with any prior television writing work. Application date: Typically open from June-August.
The CAPE New Writers Fellowship discovers and nurtures emerging writers launching their careers in television and film. This immersive, Los Angeles based 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. The CAPE New Writers Fellowship is open to writers of all race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability and sexual orientation. Application date: Typically opens and closes in December.
The Film Independent’s Project Involve gives 30 filmmakers the opportunity to hone their skills through a series of workshops, introductions, mentorship programs, and experiences to help produce their own shorts. 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. Applications are open to anyone from an underrepresented community. Applications from Cinematographers, Directors, Editors, Producers, Screenwriters, and different types of executives are preferred. Applications require a statement of interest, resume, work sample, and professional biography as well as a script, short, pilot, or feature. Application date: The Screenwriting Lab typically closes in October and the Episodic Lab typically closes in February.
This fellowship takes up to 8 diverse writers through a series of masterclasses held over one week in June at the HBO campus in Santa Monica. Classes consist of discussions with HBO executives and showrunners and focus on the craft of writing. These classes cover everything from 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. Application date: Typically opens in February.