The Writers Lab USSubscribe
Our seventh annual Writers Lab retreat will take place October 9-12, 2021, at the Guest House Retreat Center in Chester, CT (dates and location subject to change).
NEW THIS YEAR, we will expand the lab to include 4 pilot writers to develop their scripts. We are working on this year’s agenda and program. Stay tuned as we add details and Mentors to our 2021 roster.
The Writers Lab is a four-day workshop that gives 12 feature writers and 4 pilot writers who identify as women over the age of 40 the opportunity to work intensively on their winning scripts with the support of established women film professionals. Through one-on-one meetings, panel discussions, peer workshops, and group meals, Mentors and Writers engage in a rigorous process to support intensive script development.
The Writers Lab is produced by co-founders Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon and New York Women in Film & Television, and has been supported by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, and the Cornelia T Bailey Foundation. It is presented in collaboration with the Writers Guild of America, East, with in-kind support from The Black List, Falco Ink, Film Fatales, Filmarket Hub, Roadmap Writers, Stony Brook Manhattan Center for Creative Writing & Film, and Untamed Stories. A special thank you to Final Draft for their product contribution.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our FAQs.
Register your script with the Writers Guild, if it is not already registered. Registration is quick and easy and the Writers Guild East has generously offered the discounted price of $17 to Lab applicants who are not members of the Guild. Registration will protect you and the Lab staff and volunteers. Choose the Student and NYWIFT/The Writers Lab option. If you are living outside the US, please register your script with your country's Writers Guild or copyright office.
We are accepting international English-language scripts. Applicants must identify as women and be at least 40 years old, that is, born on or before October 9th, 1981. Submissions must be feature-length narrative scripts in English or narrative pilots. (No script fragments, treatments, synopses, shorts, stage plays, book excerpts, or documentaries. A surcharge will be levied on feature scripts longer than 130 pages, and pilot scripts longer than 75 pages.) Scripts by more than one writer will be considered, but all writers must identify as women and be over 40, and only one writer can attend The Lab. Applicants may submit up to three (3) scripts, with a separate application for each script submitted. 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 do not specifically need to be 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.
NOTE: SUBMISSIONS WITHOUT A LOGLINE WILL NOT BE READ. Please make sure your name is removed from all pages of your script, including the cover page.
Many of our partners offer discounts to all applicants and/or applicants who place.
The retreat offers participants the opportunity to focus on their work in a supportive, non-competitive environment, and a community of fellow women writers that can extend well beyond the 4 days of the lab.
Mentors for 2021 will be announced later this year. Past mentors have included:
- Susan Cartsonis - The Hollywood Reporter named Susan Cartsonis one of the top five grossing producers of the year for What Women Want—the highest grossing romantic comedy at the time of its release and number two to this day, and Where the Heart Is. She produced the teen hits, The Duff, Beastly, Aquamarine and executive-produced Middle School, Invisible Sister, and No Reservations.
- Lisa Cortes - Lisa is an Academy Award®–nominated Producer whose credits include ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY, PRECIOUS; THE WOODSMAN; and SHADOWBOXER. Prior to her film career, Cortés worked with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin to launch the iconic Def Jam brand. Later, as Vice President of Artists and Repertoire at Mercury Records, she signed many multi platinum and Grammy® Award-winning artists, and founded the iconoclastic label, Loose Cannon Records. Since launching her production company, Cortés Films, she has collaborated with directors including Ernest Dickerson and Gabourey Sidibe, producing innovative features, documentaries and short films. Current productions include a feature-length documentary about the legendary APOLLO THEATER with Academy Award Award®-winning director, Roger Ross Williams and THE REMIX: HIP HOP X FASHION which she also co-directed.
- Amy Fox - Amy Fox is an acclaimed screenwriter, playwright and educator, and a passionate advocate for elevating women’s voices in the arts and the workplace. She is currently a staff writer on the TV series The Conners, and she wrote the screenplay for Equity, the female-driven Wall Street film which premiered at Sundance 2016 and was released by Sony Pictures Classics.
- Lisa Jones - Lisa Jones is an author and screenwriter. Her essay collection Bulletproof Diva: Tales of Race, Sex, and Hair (Doubleday) has been widely anthologized. She has written film projects for Dreamworks, Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, and Universal, among others, and has adapted works of fiction for the screen, including Disappearing Acts (HBO) and The Wedding (ABC).
- Mary Jane Skalski - Mary Jane Skalski began her career at Good Machine, where she worked on the early films of Ang Lee, Ed Burns and Nicole Holofcener. As a producer, her credits include four films with director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor, Win Win and The Cobbler); Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin which premiered at the 2004 Venice Film Festival, Todd Louiso’s Hello I Must Be Going which opened the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Adam Salky’s Dare, Peter Callahan’s Against the Current, Julien Goldberger’s The Hawk Is Dying, Jem Cohen’s Chain and Naomi Foner’s Very Good Girls.
- Robin Swicord - Robin Swicord is an American screenwriter and film director. She is known for literary adaptions. In 2008, her screenplay for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was nominated for Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay. She wrote the screenplay for Memoirs of a Geisha, based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Golden, for which she won a 2005 Satellite Award. Her other screenplay credits include Little Women, Practical Magic, Matilda, The Perez Family, and Shag.
- Pat Verducci - Pat has written screenplays for Touchstone Pictures, Witt-Thomas Productions, and Disney’s animation division. She has also worked as a story consultant for Disney/Pixar as part of their Brain Trust.
- And many more...
2020 Winners on Coverfly
- Applicants must identify as women and be at least 40 years old, born on or before Oct 9, 1981.
- We will be accepting scripts internationally.
- Submissions must be feature-length or pilot narrative scripts 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.)
- Scripts by more than one writer will be considered, but all writers must identify as women and be over 40, and only one writer can attend The Lab.
- Applicants may submit up to three (3) scripts, with a separate application for each script submitted.
- 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 do not specifically need to be 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.
- Basic Biographical and Contact Information (name, email address, contact phone number, mailing address, birth date.)
- Script Genre
- Log line
- PDF of a feature-length or pilot narrative screenplay (Name removed)
- Register your script with the Writers Guild or the US Copyright Office, if it is not already registered. Registration is quick and easy and the Writers Guild East has generously offered the discounted price of $17 to Lab applicants who are not members of the Guild. Registration will protect you and The Lab staff and volunteers. Choose the Student and NYWIFT/The Writers Lab option. Register at the WGA East website. If you are living outside the US, please register your script with the local Writers Guild or copyright office. https://www.wgaeast.org/mo/script_registration/registrations
- The script must be in PDF format. PDFs must be labeled with the project name only. DO NOT include the name of the screenwriter(s) ANYWHERE on the PDF.
- Complete the electronic application (link at the top of this page) filling in ALL fields. You will be asked to complete questions in text boxes on the web application. We recommend that you draft your answers, then cut and paste the final text once it has been completed to your satisfaction. Text boxes in the form include: Name, email address, contact phone number, mailing address, birth date, script genre, log line.
- Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
- Pay the non-refundable application fee.