The Writers Lab USSubscribe
November 2022: In-person lab intensive near NYC (subject to change)
Followed by ongoing virtual development meetings, support, and advocacy
The Writers Lab is the only program in the world devoted exclusively to script development for women screenwriters 40+. We honor the fact that gender is personal and specific and seek to create an inclusive and supportive community.
Submissions of both Features and Pilots (both 1-hour and ½-hour) in English will be considered. We will select approximately 12 promising feature and pilot writers who collectively reflect the diversity of the world's population.
During the Lab intensive, Mentors and Writers engage in rigorous script development through one-on-one mentor meetings, small group and panel discussions, peer workshops, story rooms, and more. In the following months of ongoing development, we guide writers through the revision process and offer strategic advice and advocacy with the help of partners, industry leaders, our development team, and talented peers.
Mentors and Guests for 2022 will be announced later this year. Mentors and Guests in 2021 included: Priya Amritraj (Hyde Park Entertainment); Susan Cartsonis (What Women Want); Suzanne Farwell (The Intern); Amy Fox (The Connors); Pamela Gray (A Walk on the Moon); Rita Hsiao (Mulan); Anne Hubbell (Paint It Black); Lisa Jones (Disappearing Acts); Riva Marker (The Kids Are All Right); Amber Sealey (No Man of God); Mary Jane Skalski (Hello I Must Be Going); Frida Torresblanco (Pan’s Labyrinth); Pat Verducci (Disney/Pixar); Tracey Scott Wilson (Respect); Jamie Zelermyer (Boys Don’t Cry).
The Writers Lab US is produced by co-founders Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, with New York Women in Film & Television, with support from Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, The Cornelia T Bailey Foundation, The Kurtz Family Foundation and Kate Hall & Gary Lynch.
The US Lab is presented in collaboration with the Writers Guild of America, East, with in-kind support from The Black List, Cinequest, Falco Ink, Film Fatales, Filmarket Hub, Population Media Center and Roadmap Writers.
Deep script development work and revision guidance by the experienced TWL team and some of the industry’s best writers, producers, directors and development specialists in one-on-one and group sessions. Craft and career tools and strategies to achieve success.
Individualized feedback, insights and guidance on their selected projects 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, as well as the resources and year-round supplemental programming of 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 have included:
TWL US co-founders Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon
New York Women in Film & Television
Writers Guild of America, East
- The Black List
- Falco Ink
- Film Fatales
- Filmarket Hub
- Roadmap Writers
- Population Media Center
- Roadmap Writers
2020 Winners 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.
- Applicants must be at least 40 years old on or before the Lab: born on or before November 1, 1982.
- Because The Writers Lab serves women writers over 40, applicants must identify as women (cis, trans, nonbinary). 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 (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.)
- 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.
- Each Applicant 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 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.
- TWL US applicants may be residents and/or citizens of any country.
- The Lab seeks submissions from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups.
Requirements - 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 (NAME REMOVED
- Script Registration, Acceptance of Terms & Conditions, Payment
1. Protect your work: Register your script with the US Copyright Office https://www.copyright.gov/registration/ OR with The Writers Guild, East, which offers TWL applicants their discounted price of $17: Writers Guild of America, East (select "Student and NYWIFT/The Writers Lab" option.)
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
5. Pay the non-refundable application fee.
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 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 (cis, trans, nonbinary) born on or before November 1, 1982. Proof of age and residence 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. 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, 2027, 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, 2027: IF the participating screenplay be produced with a total budget of $1,000,000 or more and less than $5,000,000 on or before December 31, 2027, 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 on or before December 31, 2027, 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.
13. 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.