The Writers Lab USEnter Now
Tentative Lab Dates: November 12-15, 2024
Dates subject to change.
Mentors to be announced.
TWL is pleased to offer discounts to members of our partner organizations (NYWIFT, WGA East, Film Fatales, and other WIF chapters). Please see "Rules" for further information.
The Writers Lab US is a four day retreat, conducted in-person outside New York City. Writers undergo deep development work on their projects, with revision guidance and career support from the experienced TWL team and some of the industry’s best writers and producers in one-on-one and group sessions. Shared meals and group activities provide an opportunity for broader conversations and creative exchange.
Writers selected to participate are expected to provide their own transportation to and from New York City. TWL provides transportation between New York City and the retreat itself, along with food and accommodations at the retreat venue.
The Writers Lab US is produced by co-founders Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, with New York Women in Film & Television. It is presented in collaboration with the Writers Guild of America, East, with in-kind support from The Black List, Falco Ink, Film Fatales and Roadmap Writers.
It is supported by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, the Lynch Hall Charitable Fund and the Meg and Alex Weidner Family Foundation.
Prices & Deadlines
Standard Entry with 1.5-page WeScreenplay Feedback
All applicants receive an overview of TWL Readers’ scores on submitted screenplays.
Participating Writers gain:
- - 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;
- Extensive ongoing alumnae support, including a community of peers and a network of relationships that can extend well beyond the program;
- Exposure and opportunities beyond the Lab;
- Resources and year-round supplemental programming from The Writers Lab.
The Lab aims to build skills, confidence and community, and to prepare writers for collaborative work and market demands.
The Writers Lab network of producing, partnering and supporting entities has included:
- TWL US co-founders Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon
- New York Women in Film & Television
- Untamed Stories producers Julia Berg and Ruth Spencer
- TWL US Mentors & Speakers: Anya Epstein (The Affair), Susan Cartsonis (What Women Want), Lisa Cortés (Precious), Amy Fox (The Conners), Daniela Gonzalez (Good Fear Content), Pamela Gray (A Walk on the Moon), Rita Hsaio (Mulan), Melissa James Gibson (House of Cards), Jennifer Kassabian (Carter), Meg LeFauve (Inside Out), Robina Lord-Stafford (Moonshine), Riva Marker (Beasts of No Nation), Leah Meyerhoff (Film Fatales, I Believe in Unicorns), Gina Prince-Blythewood (The Woman King), Erica Saleh (One of Us is Lying), Tracey Scott Wilson (The Americans), Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan), Mary Jane Skalski (The Station Agent), Kiwi Smith (Legally Blonde), Shelby Stone (The Chi), Robin Swicord (Memoirs of a Geisha), Frida Torresblanco (Pan's Labyrinth), Pat Verducci (True Crime), Jamie Zelermyer (Focus Features).
2023 Semifinalists on Coverfly
At the program's request, Coverfly will automatically remove your title page for you if you include one when submitting to this program.ELIGIBILITY
1. Applicants must be at least 40 years old on or before the Lab: born on or before November 1, 1984.
2. Because The Writers Lab serves women and non-binary writers over 40, applicants must identify as women or non-binary. We honor the fact that gender is personal and specific and seek to create an inclusive and supportive community.
3. TWL US applicants may be residents and/or citizens of any country.
4. Submissions must be feature-length screenplays OR pilots (both 1-hour and ½-hour accepted) in English. NO script fragments, treatments, synopses, shorts, stage plays, book excerpts, or documentaries. (A per-page surcharge will be levied on feature scripts 130+ pages and on pilot scripts 75+ pages.)
5. Scripts by more than one writer will be considered, but all writers must meet all eligibility requirements, including age and gender.
6. Each Applicant may submit up to three (3) scripts, with a separate application for each script submitted.
7. 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.
8. The Lab seeks submissions from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups.
The following materials are required for your application and must be submitted electronically:
- Contact information (name, email address, contact phone number, mailing address)
- 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 (with the writer's name removed)
- Script Registration, Acceptance of Terms & Conditions, Payment
- Protect your work: Register your script with the US Copyright Office OR with The Writers Guild of America, East, which offers TWL applicants their discounted price of $17 (select "Student and NYWIFT/The Writers Lab" option).
- 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.
- 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.
- Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
- Pay the non-refundable application fee.
- - Members of NYWIFT, WGAE, Film Fatales, and any other WIF organizations can use a discount code at checkout for $20 off. (Please ask your organization to share the Discount Code with you.) All membership claims will be verified with these organizations, and any falsified applications will result in disqualification.
TWL TERMS AND 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 and New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) (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 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. No other obligation or duty on your part shall arise from or be implied by this submission.
4. I warrant that I identify as a woman or non-binary person born on or before November 1, 1984. Proof of age may be required.
5. I warrant that I am the sole owner and author of said Material, that I have the exclusive right and authority to submit same to you upon the terms and conditions stated herein, and that I have registered this script with a legally recognized guild or copyright office as required for the US Lab, and I will retain all rights to my Material during and after Submission to You. If the submitted script is not legally registered for copyright protection, The Writers Lab, New York Women in Film & Television, their directors, employees, agents and representatives cannot be held liable for any infringements that may be perceived to result from the submission of said unregistered intellectual property. Failure to register your script may result in your disqualification for 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 NYWIFT, or those participating in the selection process for The Writers Lab 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. 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, NYWIFT, 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.
9. In return for participation in the Lab, if my selected project is produced at any budget level on or before December 31, 2029, The Writers Lab will receive a credit line and logo placement in the film's end titles. Further, I understand that I am asked (not required) to make the following commitment if the participating screenplay be produced at any budget level on or before December 31, 2029: If the participating screenplay is produced with a total budget of $1,000,000 or more and less than $5,000,000, I will make a tax-deductible contribution to The Writers Lab of $2500; if the participating screenplay be produced with a total budget in excess of $5,000,000, I will make a tax-deductible contribution to The Writers Lab of $5000.
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, NYWIFT, 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.