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Writers Guild Initiative
The Writers Guild Initiative Support Staff Training Program
2022
Reads in Coverfly
Active Since 2022
The WGI Support Staff Training Program is for underrepresented, emerging writers looking to break into television at the support-staff level.
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About

The Writers Guild Initiative, the independent non-profit affiliated with the Writers Guild of America, East, has launched its Support Staff Training Program, a virtual bootcamp for underrepresented emerging writers looking to break into television at the support-staff level, divided into two tracks: Writers’ Assistant and Script Coordinator. This new initiative is designed and run by working television writers and former writers room support staff.


The online program is intended for emerging, diverse writers (BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, over 40-years-old) who are based in the eastern half of the United States (including Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and New York), looking to break into television at the support-staff level, and have not previously worked as writers assistants or script coordinators on a scripted television series.  Applicants with previous industry experience, especially those who have worked as production assistants, are preferred.

Benefits

Up to 10 participants will be selected for each track, following an application process. The program will operate online, both tracks will be taught by a mix of working writers and current or recent support staff.  The bootcamp will begin in May 2022, with the Writers Assistant track running 3-4 weekends, while the Script Supervisor track may include additional meetings. 


Participants will be expected to attend all sessions and complete all weekly assignments over the course of the bootcamp.  Frequent absence may impact program participation.  Both groups will receive instruction through a mix of roundtables, lectures, independent work, and interactive workshops.  Each course will conclude with 1:1 exit interviews to ensure that personal relationships are developed with instructors.

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Rules

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The Writers Guild Initiative is seeking applications from early-career professionals who have already worked within the industry, ideally as a production assistant. 


All applicants are required to provide a script sample, resume, and at least one professional reference from someone who has worked within the entertainment industry within the past five years and can speak to the applicant’s readiness for the program. References will be reviewed for finalist candidates. 


Applicants can submit full projects in PDF format, but only the first 5 pages will be reviewed.


Applicants can only apply once. Duplicate submissions will be removed from consideration.


All submitted material must be original. All rights must be wholly owned by the writer.


Applicants can only apply for one track. Before applying, applicants must consider, based on their experience, which track is best for them. Job descriptions are provided below and will be referenced in the application:


The Writers Assistant’s (WA) role involves taking notes during writers room meetings, editing scripts and performing research as needed. The WA transcribes room notes, then organizes them for distribution to writers and producers as a reference on a daily basis, as well as for their respective episodes. The WA may be asked to type, edit, and format scripts, as well as maintain story plotting on whiteboards throughout the day.  Overall, the WA provides as needed support to the writers or producers, from notes and show bible management to scheduling studio and network notes calls.


The Script Coordinator’s (SC) role involves ensuring drafts formatting, proofing scripts and other documents and vetting story documents for continuity. The SC serves as a liaison between the studio, network, and writers, owning every draft of a script will pass through their hands, beginning in the writers’ room and continuing throughout the production. The SC is responsible for legal clearance, story continuity research, distribution list management and credits paperwork. The SC may also be responsible for the show’s bible as an extension of being tasked with continuity.  Overall, the SC is expected to know each episode, and draft, inside and out.


Additionally, applicants must respond to the following six questions:


1. Please provide the name and contact information for a professional reference with experience in film, television or theater who can speak to your readiness for this bootcamp.  We recommend that both you and your reference review the application in full before the reference is submitted.


2. What is your vision for your career in television?  Why is this role the next step for you?  What do you need support within your career now?


3. What show do you recommend to others that inspires you professionally?  Describe the show, the writing, and why it is impacting you.


​4. Based on industry reports on the need for industry diversity, how would your lived experiences or point of view create a more inclusive industry?


5. What are you writing?  Tell us about the script sample you provided.


6. In reviewing the roles of writers assistant and script coordinator as described above, for which of the two are you most qualified? Please reference examples from your professional experience and your skill set as explanation.