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Applications Close Deadline is 2 weeks and 2 days from now
Jun 30th
Applications Close
Rideback RISE
Reads in Coverfly
Active Since 2023
A non-profit accelerator for POC creators to make commercial 
entertainment that reflects our multicultural society to help propel narrative change.
Enter Now
Applications Close Deadline is 2 weeks and 2 days from now



Rideback RISE is soliciting applications for the second year of the Rideback RISE Fellowship. Based in Los Angeles, Rideback RISE is a prestigious content accelerator that offers visionary POC film and television creators (“Fellows”) a $40,000 stipend, and access to a development fund for the purpose of optioning IP and/or creating visual proof-of-concept materials. The 12-month Fellowship also provides expert in-depth mentoring, resources and benefits to the Fellows while they develop and refine a specific television or feature film project before it is taken out to market. In a supportive and collaborative environment, Fellows work closely with the RISE team and receive counseling from notable industry luminaries and experts, all while getting to know each other and becoming familiar with each others’ projects. This is an opportunity for exceptional storytellers who desire to tell mainstream stories aimed at a wide audience, but who still possess their own distinct voice, point of view and perspective.

Rideback RISE was founded in 2022 by Dan Lin (THE LEGO MOVIE, IT, ALADDIN, SHERLOCK HOLMES, WALKER). Rideback RISE is a 501c3 non-profit organization with backing from leading partners such as the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Doris Duke Foundation, Zelnick Belzberg Charitable Trust, Comcast NBC Universal, UTA Foundation, Horn Foundation and the Murphy Family Fund.

Rideback RISE’s core mission is to support and empower selected POC creators from the world of entertainment who aspire to make commercial, mainstream content that is reflective of our multicultural world. Rideback RISE believes that entertainment can bridge cultures, unite people, and be a catalyst for social change. By advancing racial equity, we contribute to the creation of a more empathetic world.

RISE offers financial, creative and strategic support to each of our participating creators customized to their specific discipline. RISE equips Fellows/participants to create commercial content that can enter the cultural zeitgeist and ultimately reshape majority opinions. Our aim is to make mainstream entertainment more inclusive by enabling POC creators to tell stories that have broad audience reach. 

Through telling new stories, we can come to appreciate other cultures and ways of life. Reality is socially constructed through narrative. A small shift in someone’s mindset can often lead to a cascade of meaningful change.

Prices & Deadlines

Jun 30th
Applications Close
Application to the Rideback RISE Fellowship


The RISE Fellowship runs for a concurrent twelve months and covers creative, business and practical elements. Each of the Fellows will be paired with a high-level mentor (e.g., an experienced showrunner, filmmaker, producer, executive, etc.) that they will work with for the duration of the Program. Fellows will be selected based on their storytelling and writing abilities, the authenticity of their voice, the strength and commercial viability of their ideas, their willingness to maximize the impact of the resources provided, and their overall suitability for the program.

Program activities will include, but will not be limited to, the following:

-Creative development on each Fellow’s project, including in-depth work on story and character

-Advice on how to attach cast and other talent
-Navigating possible financiers and securing distribution
-Assisting Fellows with identifying possible buyers for their projects and facilitating meetings with executives
-Expert guidance and background on the state of the industry
-In-person lectures and appearances by industry luminaries in a variety of fields, including acting, directing, producing, legal, casting, etc.
-General career coaching
-Help with the transferring of projects at the end of the Program to a studio, production company or other collaborator who is best positioned to help the Fellow continue to advance it

A more detailed curriculum and calendar will be provided upon commencement.

Fellows will be based at Rideback Ranch, a creative campus in LA’s Historic Filipinotown that provides a dedicated workspace and amenities, and is home to several leading entertainment companies. There will also be a number of creators who will be invited to join the RISE Circle, enabling them to attend certain events and presentations.

As stated above, the Fellowship also provides access to the Rideback RISE IP and Visual Development Fund, which Fellows can tap to option underlying rights (novels, remakes, podcasts, documentaries, newspaper or magazine articles, true stories, short films, video games, graphic novels etc.) or create proof-of-concept materials—e.g., concept art, visual teaser for their project or even a short.

The curriculum will focus on and emphasize collaboration, mentorship, networking, industry access and community. A key feature of RISE is community: Fellows will familiarize themselves and share their feedback on each others’ projects. Our goal is to create market ready content that will attract financing and be produced, and to help Fellows build sustainable careers.


Oct 13th
Oct 27th
Circle Members


*Please note that our eligibility requirements have changed. 

The Fellowship focuses on people of color (POC).
1. Applicant must be at least 21 years of age before the start of the Fellowship Program (i.e., before Dec 6, 2024).
2. Applicant must be a writer and may or may not also be a director, actor, performer or producer.
3. Applicant must be a U.S. Citizen, or a Permanent Resident with unrestricted authorization to work in the United States of America.
4. Applicant must have representation with a guild-registered talent agency and/or management company.

To qualify as a potential Fellow, an Applicant must, in the last three years, satisfy one or more of the following conditions:
-Has previously been staffed and credited in a writing capacity on a produced U.S. scripted television series;
-Has either written OR written and directed a produced feature film; 
-Has written and directed a short film that screened at a noted film festival—e.g., Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, Toronto, Venice, SXSW, Telluride, etc.
-Has written a spec feature screenplay (either original or based on underlying material) that was optioned or purchased by a recognized U.S.-based producer, distributor or studio.
-Has been in or is currently in active development on a project with a WGA-signatory organization (such as a mini major, studio, network, etc.) 

Applicants must submit a complete application package by June 30, 2024 that includes the following:
1. A complete APPLICATION FORM. Incomplete or illegible application forms may be grounds for disqualification.
2. A WRITING SAMPLE, screenplay or teleplay. The title page of your script sample should show only the name of your script (and a WGA registration number, if applicable), i.e., do not include your name, your representative’s name or any contact information either on the title page itself or anywhere within the script. The writing sample must be written solely by you, the Applicant, i.e., no shared credits or writing teams, and script cannot have already been produced. Please submit your Writing Sample in the section designated “Sample PDF” on the first page of the application process. (Your 3 Project Ideas will be submitted later in the application process) 
3. THREE (3) IDEAS, either original or IP-based, that you aspire to develop into either a feature film or television series. We are genre agnostic. A maximum of one of these ideas can already be in screenplay form as long as the rights to the screenplay are free and clear, it has not previously been exposed to the market place, and that it is WGA registered. (Aforementioned writing samples may be WGA registered but are not required to be.) We would encourage you to have at least one of the ideas above be IP-based (a novel, comic book, video game, remake, etc.). For any IP that you are planning to option using the RISE IP fund, before sending in your application, please make sure that either the rights are available or that it is in the public domain. Include a brief outline on how you plan to adapt it.
4. The RELEASE FORM must be completed, signed, and dated in order for an application to be accepted.
5. A RESUME outlining your professional writing credits and other experience. Please do not enclose resumes that are longer than two pages.
6. A PERSONAL ESSAY on life experience(s) you’ve had that have influenced your writing and the stories you want to tell. 500-word maximum.
7. Contact information for THREE (3) entertainment industry professionals you have worked with who can provide a recommendation for you. TWO (2) must be supervisory (supervisors, managers, showrunners, etc. that you reported to) references and ONE (1) can be a direct report (someone you have supervised) or peer reference. Please DO NOT include contact information for agents, managers, or lawyers. 
After the Rideback RISE Selection Committee has reviewed all the applications, we will narrow it down to a smaller group. If you make it to that group we will contact you to re-confirm both your availability for the Fellowship (Dec 6, 2024 - Dec 6, 2025) and to organize an in-person interview. We will select the Fellows at the end of the interview process. 
Applicants can only submit their application package once. 

-Rideback RISE will provide each of the selected Fellows with a stipend of $40,000 paid over the course of 12 months. In return, for the duration of the Fellowship, each Fellow agrees to work on generating a market-ready project (e.g., screenplay, series pitch and bible, pilot script, etc.) and meet certain milestones along the way which will vary depending on the Project.
-Each Fellow will have access to our IP and Visual Development Fund in order to option IP or create proof of concept materials.
-Rideback RISE does not take ownership in any Fellows’ screenplay or any other materials created under the Fellowship. Fellows remain the sole owner of their projects.
-For projects that are set-up for commercial distribution, Rideback RISE will be eligible to receive a small passive royalty participation. All potential revenues attributed to RISE will be used to fund future Rise Fellowships.
-At the end of the Program, Fellows will work with Rideback RISE to choose the next steps for their project. The overarching goal of the Fellowship is to help the Fellow achieve their best version of success with their work.

June 1, 2024 – Application Period Opens
June 30, 2024 – Application Period Closes
Sep 9-30, 2024 – Finalist Interviews 
October - Fellows + Circle notified 
Dec 7, 2024 - Y2 Kickoff 

What makes someone a good candidate for the Rideback RISE Fellowship?
We are seeking experienced, commercially-minded storytellers who are enthusiastic about creating fresh, compelling content that can be released to a wide audience. You will have already developed a vision of your own, but you will be open to input from mentors and peers and keen to benefit from their counsel. You are self-disciplined and ambitious about bringing your project to market, and you are willing to function as part of a group and share your experiences.
How is the Fellowship helping them?
If you think of Hollywood development as a funnel, the RISE Fellowship is operating at the narrower end, focusing on POC creators who have a higher level of experience who can maximize the resources of the Fellowship and develop market-ready projects in terms of their scope and commercial appeal. The Fellowship is designed to circumvent the risk aversion that often sidelines the development of POC-created TV and films. By focusing the Fellowship here, we are closest to our goal of getting mainstream projects sold, into production, and widely distributed where they can impact culture and make a difference in driving narrative change.
Why is the RISE Fellowship described as an accelerator?
The RISE Fellowship is a content accelerator in that it seeks to help experienced creators further develop their pre-existing film and television ideas, pitches, treatments and/or scripts into market-ready condition and then help them transition their projects into “go” projects with networks, streamers, studios and production companies.
Shouldn’t the program focus on getting more new people into the industry?
Many programs for creators entering the entertainment industry already exist, and they play a vital role in improving representation on screen (both in front of and behind the camera). While our Fellowship program is aimed at creators who are already further along in their careers, we, too, believe in widening the funnel for creators trying to get into the system. Hence, we have created the Rise Circle which provides aspiring POC creatives with access to high-level programming and networking with industry professionals. Please see additional information below in the FAQ relating to the Rise Circle.
What makes a project idea suitable for the Fellowship?
Ideas should be built on an applicant's strong voice and specific point of view while bringing new perspectives on concepts, characters, themes, genre and/or worlds. Ideas should feel commercial yet distinct from what has already been done.
Do I need to reimburse Rideback RISE for its investment?
Are Fellows employees of Rideback RISE?
Does Rideback RISE take any ownership of my script or project?
No. Rideback RISE does not take ownership of any scripts, outlines, treatments or other materials that are either submitted as part of your application or subsequently created as part of the Fellowship.
Does Rideback RISE act as a producer?
No. Rideback RISE is neither a production entity nor a guild signatory. RISE assists Fellows in connecting their projects to appropriate production and distribution entities. RISE expects to be acknowledged in any produced project. And, RISE hopes that produced projects will offer a small passive royalty or tax-deductible contribution to RISE that will fund future Fellows and RISE programming. 
What is Rideback’s role in Rideback RISE?
The production company known as Rideback is separate from Rideback RISE, which is an independently-led 501c3 non-profit. Rideback, however, is a financial and in-kind donor to Rideback RISE, and has additionally granted RISE the use of its name, but does not operate Rideback RISE, nor does it receive any direct benefits or considerations from RISE. RISE is currently headquartered at Rideback Ranch as a paying tenant. RISE is not subject to or liable for any of the obligations of Rideback or Rideback Ranch.
What is the RISE Residents program?
The RISE Residents program is being phased out for the upcoming 2024/2025 cohort, which will see the Fellowship expanded from five to up to 15 creators, all designated as Fellows.
What is the RISE Circle?
The RISE Circle is an invitation-only network of several hundred next-generation POC writers, filmmakers and creative talent, who are selected from among the highest-scoring applicants to the RISE Fellowship. Circle members are part of the larger Rideback RISE community and are supported in their careers by access to RISE programming and networking events at Rideback Ranch, provided at no cost. Circle members are eligible and encouraged to reapply to the RISE Fellowship.
May Fellows work on other projects during the RISE Fellowship?
Yes. Fellows are non-exclusive and have the option to develop other projects as long as they are able to fulfill their commitments to the Fellowship.
If selected for the RISE Fellowship, will I be guaranteed a produced script?
While we will work tirelessly with you to help you advance your project in every way possible, we cannot guarantee that it will lead to a produced project.
Are Fellows allowed to participate in other programs similar to this one in concurrence?
Given the commitment and curriculum offered through the RISE Fellowship, we ask that participants not participate in other similar programs in concurrence.
What is the RISE Fellowship time commitment?
The 2024/2025 Fellowship will begin in December 2024 and run through December 2025. Each individual’s hours and activities may vary, but Fellows should expect regular meetings with their mentors, industry professionals, the RISE leadership team, as well as ongoing interaction with other Fellows, and participation in weekly activities which includes a mix of weekday, daytime, evening, and weekend programming. 
What are Fellows’ obligations to Rideback RISE?
Fellows must be available to actively participate in the Fellowship curriculum, attend all scheduled sessions and in general work towards the certain milestones required of them to advance their projects. While the Fellowship is non-exclusive, please inform us of any pre-existing commitments you have that may conflict with it.
Are there extensions past the 12-month commitment?
Participation beyond the 12-month duration will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the needs of the project and the Fellow.
When is the application period open?
Submissions open on June 1, 2024 and close at 11:59pm PDT on June 30, 2024. 
When and where will interviews be held?
Interviews will be held at Rideback Ranch in Los Angeles and are planned for Fall 2024.
How are the matches made between the Creators and executive producers/showrunner Mentors?
Matches are made based on career interests, project type and Executive Producer/Showrunner availability. 
How will I be informed as to whether or not I have been chosen as a finalist in the Fellowship?
Applicants selected will be notified directly via phone and/or email as well as through their representatives. Those not selected will be notified via email. 
If I am selected as a finalist to participate in the in-person interview, will Rideback RISE reimburse my traveling expenses?
We do not reimburse travel expenses related to the in-person interview. If financial circumstances prohibit applicants from attending the in-person interview, we will consider financial support on a case-by-case basis. 
If I am selected into the Rideback RISE Fellowship, but do not live in Los Angeles, will Rideback Rise reimburse my relocation costs?
The Rideback RISE Fellowship grant can be used to cover living expenses, but Rideback RISE does not reimburse relocation costs.
Must I be present for the duration of the Fellowship?
Yes. The Fellowship is an in-person program.
May I apply to the Rideback RISE Fellowship using a script I co-wrote?
No. You must be the sole author of any material submitted with your application.
Do I need to have literary representation (agent and/or manager) to apply?
Yes. Applicants’ agents must be guild-franchised and managers must be with recognized firms in good standing.
May I apply as a non-U.S. citizen or someone who does not possess a U.S. Green Card?
Currently, Rideback RISE is only able to provide Fellowships to creators who have U.S. citizenship or a U.S. Green Card. We are working to include international writers and filmmakers in future cohorts of the RISE Fellowship.
If selected into the Rideback RISE Fellowship, will I need to disclose current projects in development and attachments?
Yes. Any projects in development must be disclosed in writing during the application process.
Are scripts not registered with the WGA prior to submission acceptable as one of my designated Project Ideas?
No. Any script submitted as one of your two (or three) Project Ideas must be registered with the WGA prior to submission. Scripts that are only registered with other organizations or affiliations will not be accepted. Scripts submitted as Writing Samples are not required to be WGA registered. 
Who will review my submission?
A combination of producers and executives affiliated with Rideback RISE along with experienced professional readers will review all submissions.
How many Fellows will be selected this year?
We will select up to fifteen (15) Fellows.
If I was a Fellow, can I be a Fellow again?
Creators may only attend the Fellowship once, however, Fellows are automatically invited to join the RISE Circle for the term following their Fellowship. 2023/2024 Residents are eligible to apply for the Fellowship again. They may also be invited to the Circle if they are among the top scoring applicants. Circle members may apply for the Fellowship again. They may also be invited to the Circle again if they are among the top scoring applicants.

*Please note Rideback RISE reserves the right to modify its FAQ at any time.