Universal Pictures announced on Thursday that it has created an Emerging Writers Fellowship designed to identify and cultivate new and unique voices with a passion for storytelling.
Emerging writers who are chosen to participate in the program will work within the studio to hone their skills and gain access and exposure to Universal executives, producers and other key industry professionals.
Universal's co-presidents of production Peter Cramer and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum will oversee the fellows.
“This fellowship is a great opportunity for aspiring writers but it’s also a great opportunity for Universal,” said Cramer.
“As audiences continue to be even more discerning about the films they see, finding new voices with unique and creative ideas is extremely important for our business,” added Kirschenbaum.
Under terms approved by the Writers Guild of America West, the Emerging Writers Fellowship will allow Universal the opportunity to expand the community of writers with whom the studio works.From the Fellowship's official website:
Fellows admitted into the program will be hired under a writing service agreement and must be committed to working full-time for one year.
This program is not intended for candidates who received Producer, Director, Assistant Director, Co-producer, Associate Producer, 2nd Unit Director, Director of Photography, Writer or Source Material credits on any feature film commercially released theatrically or television show that has been aired within the U.S. Candidates may not have any attachment to third-party projects that are currently in development. Any candidates who do not meet the aforementioned criteria will be disqualified.I wonder if "attachment" means that you've been paid to develop something? What if you haven't but are working with producers/etc.?
Universal Pictures’ will entertain applications for the fellowship beginning on September 3, 2013. Interested applicants should submit an original screenplay as well as additional background materials in order to be considered. All semi-finalists will then be asked to submit a second screenplay. Ten finalists will be selected and interviewed in Los Angeles. Up to five fellows will be chosen to participate in the program.
A link to the submission application will be available at midnight on Sept. 3, 2013. Applicants must submit all of the following materials in order to be considered. Only online submissions will be accepted. The submission window will only be open for 30 days or until we receive 500 applications (whichever comes first). Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible as only a limited number of submissions will be accepted. Universal Pictures reserves the right to close the application window at any time.If you want to apply, you'll need a WGA-registered feature script that's a Comedy/Romantic Comedy or Action/Adventure/Thriller (other genres not accepted), two letters of recommendation, a resume, legal release and statement of purpose (see the site for more details.) Note that if you make it to the next round you'll also need to have a second feature ready.
As for the limit of 500 applications - I can only imagine that Universal's site will crash when thousands of writers try to submit.