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The Writers Lab
The Writers Lab Canada
2024
Active Since 2024
TWL Canada is a 3-day script development intensive in Toronto for Canadian women and nonbinary screenwriters 40 years of age and over.
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About

December 5-7: Toronto Intensive


The Writers Lab is the only program in the world devoted exclusively to script development for women and nonbinary screenwriters over 40.


During this three-day, in-person Intensive in Toronto, a small group of selected writers will engage in individual script work, one-on-one mentor meetings and group sessions aimed to develop their scripts and elevate their craft. Advisors and guests will include leading Canadian writers, filmmakers and producers.


This Intensive is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are women and nonbinary screenwriters 40 years of age and over. We honor the fact that gender is personal and specific and seek to create an inclusive and supportive community. Applicants must be 40+ as of the first day of the Intensive, so born before Dec 05, 1984.


Submissions of both narrative Feature and Pilot scripts (1-hour OR ½-hour format) in English will be considered. We will select approximately 8 promising feature and pilot writers who, collectively, reflect the diversity of the populations across Canada.


During the Virtual Intensive December 5-7, writers engage in rigorous script-development work through one-on-one meetings with Advisors and the TWL Team, focused work in peer groups, panel discussions, and more. The lab aims to build skills, confidence and community, and to prepare writers for collaborative work and market demands.


The participation fee for selected writers is $1,200.00 CAD per person.  Writers are also responsible for travel to and from Toronto, and their accommodations while in Toronto. Breakfast and lunches will be provided during the three-day Intensive. We are working to engage industry partners to help underwrite scholarship contributions for those in financial need.


Questions? Email firecrackerwritingdepartment@gmail.com


The Writers Lab Canada is produced by TWL co-founders Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, The Firecracker Department and the Female Eye Film Festival. Now celebrating its tenth year, The Writers Lab is a New York-based nonprofit contest and incubator supported by Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman.

Benefits

Participating Writers gain:

  1.  - Individualized feedback, insights and guidance on their selected project and their craft;

 - Understanding of industry standards, practices, expectations and predilections, and strategies and resources for navigating them;

 - A community of peers and a network of relationships that can extend well beyond the program;

 - Exposure and opportunities beyond the Lab;

 - Resources and supplemental programming specifically for women and nonbinary screenwriters over 40 from The Writers Lab.

- Year-round virtual programming from The Firecracker Department. 


The Lab aims to build skills, confidence and community, and to prepare writers for collaborative work and market demands.


The Writers Lab Canada network of producing, partnering and supporting entities includes:

- TWL US co-founders Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon. 

- The Firecracker Department program leaders Naomi Snieckus, Liesl Lafferty and Virginia Abramovich

- Female Eye Film Festival director Leslie Ann Coles

- Mentors & Guest Speakers

- The TWL Canada + Firecracker Department + Female Eye Film Festival network of  Canadian film industry contacts, producers and production companies.

Announcements

Oct 16th
Winners

Rules

At the program's request, Coverfly will automatically remove your title page for you if you include one when submitting to this program.

ELIGIBILITY
  • Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

  • Applicants must be at least 40 years old on or before the Lab: born on or before December 5, 1984.

  • Applicants must identify as women (cis, trans) or non-binary. We honor the fact that gender is personal and specific and seek to create an inclusive and supportive community.

  • Submissions must be feature-length screenplays OR pilots (choose 1-hour OR ½-hour format, as fits best, even if your script length is intentionally between the two), written in English. NO script fragments, treatments, synopses, shorts, stage plays, book excerpts, or documentaries. (A per-page surcharge will be levied on feature scripts 120+ pages and on pilot scripts 75+ pages.)

  • Scripts by more than one writer will be considered, but ALL writers must meet ALL eligibility criteria (e.g., gender, age, and residency requirements). 

  • Each Applicant may submit up to three (3) scripts, with a separate application for each script submitted.

  • Note that Applicants do NOT receive coverage or feedback with their submissions.

  • The Lab seeks a broad selection of scripts across all genres of fiction (drama, comedy, horror, action, thriller, science fiction, animation, musical, etc.). Scripts may be about any topic and don’t need to be specifically about women, but we definitely notice scripts that feature women characters, especially if they transcend cliches and/or challenge norms.

  • The Lab seeks submissions from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups and seeks to reflect the diversity of populations across Canada. 


REQUIREMENTS

The following materials are required for your application and must be submitted electronically:

  • Contact information (name, email address, contact phone number, mailing address, etc)

  • Biographical and demographic information, including birth date

  • Script information, including genre, log line, format

  • Responses to all questions in the application

  • PDF of a feature-length or pilot narrative screenplay (NAME REMOVED)

  • Acceptance of Terms & Conditions, Payment


APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
  1. The script must be in PDF format. PDFs must be labeled with the project title only. DO NOT include the name of the screenwriter(s) ANYWHERE on the PDF. REMOVE YOUR NAME FROM ALL PAGES OF YOUR SCRIPT, including the cover page, before uploading.

  2. Complete the electronic application filling in ALL fields. You will be asked to complete questions in text boxes on the application. We recommend that you draft your answers, then cut and paste the final text once it has been completed to your satisfaction. 

  3. Agree to the Terms and Conditions.

  4. Pay the non-refundable application fee.


TWL TERMS & CONDITIONS

  1. I am submitting a script (Material) to The Writers Lab (the Lab). In connection with the Material submitted by me, this constitutes the agreement between The Writers Lab, the Firecracker Department and the Female Eye Film Festical (herein "you"), and me, the undersigned.

    2. I request that the panel convened for purposes of determining entry into The Writers Lab read and evaluate said Material, and you hereby agree to do so, and you will advise me of your decision with respect to the Material.

    3. I warrant that I identify as a woman (cis, trans) or non-binary person born on or before December 5, 1984. Proof of age and residence may be required. 

    4. I warrant that I am the sole owner and author of said Material, that I have the exclusive right and authority to submit it to you upon the terms and conditions stated herein. The Writers Lab, the Firecracker Department and the Female Eye Film Festival, their directors, employees, agents and representatives cannot be held liable for any infringements that may be perceived to result from the submission of the Material.

    5. I acknowledge that the only obligation undertaken by you in consideration of my submission is to accept the Material for review and consider me, based on the Material submitted, for The Writers Lab to which I am applying. No other obligation or duty on your part shall arise from or be implied by this submission.

    6. I agree that any part of said Material which does not in itself constitute protectable literary property may be used by any member, officer, agent or employee of The Writers Lab, the Firecracker Department, the Female Eye Film Festival, or those participating in the selection process for The Writers Lab to which I am applying without any liability, and nothing in this agreement or the fact of my submission of said Material to you shall be deemed to place you in any different position than anyone else to whom I have submitted said Material.

    7. The Writers Lab is not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, invalid, unintelligible or misdirected Material, which will be disqualified. The Submission Fee will not be returned or adjusted. Submissions that do not comply with the Submission Requirements will be disqualified, and the Submission Fee will not be returned or adjusted.

    8. If selected for the Lab, in return for participation in the Lab, I agree that IF the participating screenplay be produced at any budget level on or before December 31, 2029, The Writers Lab will receive some credit and logo placement in the film's end titles.

    9. I understand that the Internet is not a secure medium and information submitted online may be accessed by third parties. I indemnify The Writers Lab, the Firecracker Department the Female Eye Film Festival, their members, officers, agents, representatives, and those participating in the selection process for The Writers Lab to which I am applying for any digital breach or infringements that may be perceived to result from the submission of said Material and information. Further, I acknowledge and agree that the Lab receives numerous submissions of ideas, stories and scripts, and that my submission, and the ideas and stories embodied in the Submission, may be similar or identical to other material already received and/or developed by the Lab and that I am not entitled to any compensation or credit for use by the Lab of any such other material.

    10. I specifically acknowledge that you may refuse to accept, consider or otherwise evaluate my Material in the absence of my acceptance of the provisions herein.

    11. In further consideration of your evaluation of said Material, I and my successors or assigns hereby release The Writers Lab, the Firecracker Department and the Female Eye Film Festival, their directors, officers, agents, representatives and employees, from any and all actions, claims and demands of any kind whatsoever, which I had, now have, or hereafter may have, by reason of any matter in connection with this submission and, if accepted, my participation in The Writers Lab to which I am applying.

    12. I have read and understand this agreement. No oral representations of any kind have been made to me and this agreement states our entire understanding with reference to the subject matter herein. Any modification or waiver of any of the provisions of this agreement must be in writing and signed by both of us.