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The Black List, WIF launch feature lab for female writers

Partners announce second year of episodic TV lab for women writers.

The Black List and Women In Film (WIF), LA have announced that they will again partner on an episodic TV lab for women writers, now in its second year, and will join forces on a Film Feature Lab for women screenwriters. 

The Black List/Women In Film Episodic Lab will take place on regular weekday nights over four weeks in October 2017. The Black List/Women In Film Feature Lab will be a one-week residency in February 2018. Both Labs will take place in Los Angeles.

The Black List and WIF will select six female writers to participate in this first Feature Lab. The lab, a week-long residential programme, will consist of one-on-one mentoring with established screenwriters and peer workshopping sessions. Additionally, participants will attend a series of events and screenings that will further expose them to life as a professional screenwriter.

The Episodic Lab will select six to eight female writers and run for four weeks starting in October, emphasising both craft and professional development. Participants will experience programmes on script development, pitching, a mock writer’s room and round tables with established writers and industry executives.

All Lab participants will be hosted by the Black List website for free following the Labs and have their final scripts read by a variety of agencies, studios and networks, to be announced at a later date.

The Black List, WIF and go90 are have also announced a new fellowship in support of developing scripts in the young adult genre. The submission process is open now and runs until November 26. As part of the Verizon go90 Fellowship, go90 will grant $15,000 to two screenwriters — one feature and one episodic pilots — as they work to develop a new young adult project over a six-month period. 

At the end, each writer will present their work to go90 and address how the grant was used to develop the projects. go90 will then have the opportunity to purchase the project.

“In the inaugural year of the Black List/WIF Episodic Lab, we learned just how vital programmes like these are — for emerging female writers and for those looking for talent. With our expanded programme, we are excited to discover a new crop of writers and help guide them to the next stage of their careers,” Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of WIF, said.

Franklin Leonard, founder and CEO of The Black List, added: “We’re incredibly excited to expand our work with Women In Film to include feature screenwriters. It’s important for organisations like the Black List to hold space for all women in the film and television industry. To that end, I must give special credit to Megan Halpern, who has really made this happen.”

Megan Halpern, the Black List’s director of events, said: “The numbers speak for themselves. As of the latest studies, only 29% of working TV writers are women and less than 12% of top grossing films are written by women. The screenwriting world is a long way from anything remotely resembling real gender inclusion. We’re enormously excited to support a talented, up and coming group of new women writers.”

The 2017 Feature and Episodic Labs are supported by go90. “In storytelling, one size does not fit all, so we at go90 give a voice to the next generation of talent and content creators to bring fresh perspectives to our passionate fans,” Ivana Kirkbride, chief content officer, go90, said.

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