Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NHMC TV writers program open for submissions

Created in 2003, the NHMC Television Writers Program is an intensive scriptwriters workshop that prepares Latinos for writing jobs at major television networks. Modeled after the previously successful Hispanic Film Project, the program is a direct response to the lack of diverse writers in primetime network TV. To take NHMC TV Writers Program graduates to the next level, NHMC has also created the NHMC Pitching Lab and the Latino Scene Showcase.

The television scriptwriters workshop is designed to familiarize participants with the format, characters and storyline structure of specific shows that are currently on the air. The five-week, total immersion workshop is mentored and guided by former NBC V.P of Script Development, Geoff Harris and is conducted in Burbank, CA. A total of 10 writers are accepted nationwide from an established network of non-profit agencies, schools, universities, guilds and media organizations. The goal is that the writers garner the skills necessary to obtain employment in the industry.

During the five-week program, you'll write a half-hour comedy or one-hour drama that will be read by network executives. Those writers whose scripts show promise will be interviewed and mentored by the network executives with the objective of placing them on a show.

A stipend of $250 per week will be given to each participant. Southwest Airline vouchers, housing, and meals will be provided to accepted participants who hail from out of state. If accepted into the program you must be willing to take a leave of absence from work or school as the program is a full time commitment Monday-Friday. Those who reside outside of Southwest’s flying regions will have to get to an airport that flies Southwest, AT THEIR OWN COST, and then catch a Southwest flight to Burbank.

Submissions for the 2015 program will be accepted from April 6 - August 3. The program takes place October 5 – November 6.

To apply, you'll need a writing sample, resume or bio, statement of interest, application and completed release form. Apply and get more info here!

Monday, April 20, 2015

NYWIFT launches writers lab for women over 40

Funded with the generous support of Meryl Streep and organized by Iris, The NYWIFT Writers Lab brings 8 women screenwriters over the age of 40 together with established mentors from the film industry for an intimate gathering and intensive workshop at Wiawaka Center for Women on Lake George, NY from September 18-20, 2015.

The only program of its kind, The Writers Lab evolved in recognition of the absence of the female voice in narrative film, along with the dearth of support for script development. The lab offers 8 promising films by women over 40 a springboard to production.

Applicants must be women who were born on or prior to June 1, 1975, and must be US Citizens or Permanent Residents. The Lab seeks submissions from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups. Submissions must be full-length narrative screenplays in English. (No TV scripts, shorts or documentaries.)

You may enter starting May 1, 2015. Click here for more info!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Resources for comedy writers

Fernando writes:

Thanks for reading! For screenwriting advice in general, definitely check out Go Into the Story. There, Scott Myers has produced an absolute wealth of information, and plenty of the movies he explores are comedies. Geoff LaTulippe, who wrote GOING THE DISTANCE, also doles out advice on his blog and on Twitter.

You might also like the Scriptnotes podcast, since co-host Craig Mazin has written comedies such as IDENTITY THIEF.

Lastly, I enjoy the website Splitsider, which curates a lot of news and interviews about comedy (including TV and stand-up).

Check out the right side of this blog for a more complete list of screenwriting blogs, podcasts and places where you can download scripts. Reading professional comedy scripts is probably the most important thing you can do!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to get a pitch meeting

razor7 writes: Can you explain the process of ACQUIRING a pitch meeting.

In most cases, you need an agent or manager before someone (such as producer or studio executive) will hear your pitch, and your rep can set it up. Otherwise, you'll need to have a personal connection to the person you're pitching (but even in that case, you might need a rep). I first pitched a TV idea in a general meeting with a producer because my close friend was the producer's assistant and pre-pitched my idea to her to find out if she'd like it before I met with her. However, the producer wouldn't have met with me if I didn't have some kind of representation.

I got another opportunity to pitch my take on a movie adaptation when a friend of mine (whom I met when he was a manager assistant and I was an agent assistant) reached out to me. So the overall answer to your question goes along with my overall answer for everything: move to LA and start meeting people (probably through a job) so that you can start cultivating relationships and opportunities. Also, you'll need to have writing samples before you pitch anything; people generally won't hear pitches until after they've seen the kind of writing they can expect from you.

Readers, how did you get your first pitch meeting? I'd love to hear stories in the comments.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

On the Cusp: a podcast featuring up-and-coming TV writers

On the Cusp, a podcast by Ben Greene, features writers, actors, and improvisers trying to make it in the industry. Here are some episodes with TV writers:

Episode 14 -- Jen D'Angelo (Cougar Town, The Millers)

Episode 16 -- Lauren McGuire (Comedy Bang Bang)

Other TV writer guests include Dan Lippert, Justin Michael, Madeline Walter, and Ben Axelrad. All the other episodes can be found on iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud. Check 'em out!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Nickelodeon's 'Script First' program open for submissions

Want to write an animated series for Nickelodeon? Enter the network's new Script First program!

From Nick's website:
Nickelodeon Animation Studios is proud to present a new path in series development called Script First! Here’s how it works: you submit a spec 3-5 page script that showcases an original show premise and characters in a self-contained story. If your submission is selected by our selection committee, you will get an offer to be paid to write an expanded script. You can choose to either build upon your submitted spec script or choose a different story using your same original characters and world.
What they're looking for:

  • Original short scripts, 3 to 5 pages in length
  • Content that is kid-appropriate
  • Strong, relatable characters that our kid audience of boys and girls ages 6 to 11 will love and want to see again and again
  • Concepts that play well for animation - visual humor is just as important as verbal!
  • Creators who are passionate about their ideas, their characters, and their stories. We want you to write from the heart. What do you really, really want to make that means something to you?
We’re open to any genre if your original idea has a strong comedic backbone. Action/Adventure/mystery is okay as long as it’s also funny. 
A short script, 3 – 5 pages long, is required. You can include an optional additional page explaining characters, worlds, or setup.  
Limit of three (3) submissions per person. Any scripts submitted beyond this cannot be considered. 
Submissions open on Monday March 30, 2015. The deadline for submissions is Friday May 15, 2015. No submissions will be accepted after this time.

Black List announces podcast series

The Black List has announced a new podcast series called the Black List Table Reads.

It's a podcast version of what the company already does with the live staged script readings, along with founder Franklin Leonard interviewing the scripts' writers. Scripts will come from the annual list, the website, and various other sourcing methods. Each script will be serialized over four episodes.

Launching April 16, the first featured script read for episodes 1-4 is Balls Out, written by Malcolm Spellman (producer of Empire) and Tim Talbott (winner of the 2014 Sundance Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award). Follow the coveted stories as they unfold on The Black List Table Reads Thursdays on Wolfpop.com.

All Wolfpop podcasts are available for streaming on iTunes and Soundcloud.