The Best Writing Fellowships You Can Enter in 2018

Want to launch your screenwriting or TV writing career? One tested pathway into this competitive career is a writing fellowship sponsored by a studio or other reputable organization in the entertainment industry. Some are paid programs, while others offer job placement and networking with industry insiders. These programs do not teach you how to write; they expect you to have already studied your craft and honed your writing skills. However, some offer weekly workshops that can help you develop your skills further.

The TV programs can also help you get a job as a staff writer on an existing television show, especially through networking. You should already be working to make networking contacts within the entertainment industry, but these programs can help you broaden your range of contacts.

writing fellowship 2018

Below is a list of all the writing fellowships and programs you can enter in 2018. Be sure to read all eligibility and submission requirements carefully; note that many programs only accept spec scripts from specific television shows. Some programs also only accept writers who have earned below a certain threshold for writing work. Some also require U.S. citizenship or that you come to Los Angeles to participate.

Writing fellowships 2018:

ABC/Disney Writing Fellowship (TV)

Salary/prize: $50,000 for one year (paid weekly)
Requirements: one original pilot script, one spec script, resume, essay, release forms
Optional: letters of recommendation
Deadline: May 2018 (specific date TBD – check the program’s Facebook page for updates)

CBS Writers Mentoring Program (TV)

Salary/prize: none
Requirements: one spec script, one original piece of material (TV pilot, stage play or fiction short story), application, letter of interest, resume or bio, release form
Deadline: May 1, 2018

Fox Writers Lab (TV)

Salary/prize: none
Requirements: One original pilot script, two letters of recommendation, resume, bio, personal statement, script synopsis, logline, three additional original loglines, submission agreement
Deadline: Around mid-October (based on last year)

Academy Nicholl Fellowship (Features)

Salary/prize: $35,000
Requirements: Original feature-length screenplay, completed application form
Deadline: May 1, 2018

Warner Brothers Writers Workshop (TV)

Salary/prize: none
Requirements: spec script, resume, submission agreement, personal statement
Deadline: May 31, 2018

NBC Writers on the Verge (TV)

Salary/prize: none
Requirements: spec script, legal release form, original pilot script (if chosen as semi-finalist)
Deadline: May 31, 2018

The Sundance Institute also sponsors a Screenwriters Lab, Screenwriters Intensive, FilmTwo Initiative, Asian American Fellowship, Latinx Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and Commissioning Grant, Open Borders Fellowship, Directors Lab and Episodic Lab. Check their website for more information about submissions requirements and deadlines.

Looking ahead to 2019, you can also enter the Nickelodeon Writing Program (deadline January 31) and Humanitas New Voices Program (deadline in March).

writing fellowships 2018

Good luck with your writing fellowship application! Even if you don’t end up becoming a finalist or fellow, these deadlines can help motivate you to finish your screenplay, pilot, or spec script. Try to give yourself enough time to write the first draft and then make improvements. NBC’s Writers on the Verge suggests that you listen to others’ feedback and also focus on character. “It’s the most important element of your script,” reads the program’s main page. “Your lead has to be active and have a clear goal. The other characters should all want something.”

Finally, keep in mind that writing fellowships are very competitive and only a tiny number of writers are chosen. If you’re not chosen, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed; you can always apply again next year. Also, writing programs are just one way that screenwriters forge a career in Hollywood. You can also get an entry-level job in film or TV to begin making valuable connections.

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Amanda

Amanda Pendolino is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter and script analyst who reads for studios, producers, and distributors around the globe. A former talent agency assistant, she has collaborated on both TV and film projects with various producers, directors, and actors. She enjoys silly comedies, stuffy period pieces, travel, live music, yoga and ice cream.

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