4th Annual

The Writers Lab 2018

Submit Online

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON • Information may be outdated. Add this event to your Watch List and set a Remind-Me if you want to be notified when the next Call For Entries is posted.

Feature Screenplay
Feature Screenplay + Coverfly Feedback
Includes 2 pages of written feedback.

Feedback is separate from competition and will not affect placement.
Writer's Lab 2018 Entry (NYWIFT, other WIFs, WGA Members with proof of membership)
Writer's Lab 2018 Entry (NYWIFT, other WIFs, WGA Members with proof of membership) + Coverfly Feedback


The Writers Lab is dedicated to developing narrative feature screenplays written by women over the age of 40. We feel it is critical to nurture the voices of mature women that have not been heard and are in danger of being lost entirely. We look forward to a new landscape where the female narrative is in equal proportion to the male narrative, and where shared stories strengthen our ties to one another and empower younger generations.

We are committed to female storytellers, yet we do not limit our search to stories about women. The Writers Lab seeks well crafted scripts, in all genres, exploring universal themes, using a full range of cinematic tools.

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.

We are now accepting international English-language scripts. Applicants must be female and at least 40 years old, that is, born on or before February 28, 1978. Submissions must be feature-length narrative scripts in English. (No script fragments, treatments, synopses, TV scripts, shorts, stage plays, book excerpts, or documentaries.) Scripts by more than one writer will be considered, but all writers must be female and 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 screenplays 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. The Lab seeks submissions from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups.


Funded by Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, The Writers Lab 2018 is produced by IRIS and New York Women In Film & Television in collaboration with the Writers Guild of America, East, with support from The Black List, Film Fatales, Relativity Media, Stony Brook Southampton+Manhattan & Tribeca Film Institute.

The Writers Lab is a four-day writer’s workshop that gives women screenwriters
over the age of 40 the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts
with the support of established 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

Past Writers Lab mentors include Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On, Aquamarine), Susan Cartsonis (Carrie Pilby, The Duff), Rachel Cohen (Stranger Weather, House of Z), Lisa Cortes (Precious), Amy Fox (Equity), Pamela Gray (A Walk on the Moon, Music of the Heart), Caroline Kaplan (Time Out of Mind, Personal Velocity), Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys), Darnell Martin (Cadillac Records, I Like It Like That), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Secret Life of Bees, Beyond the Lights), Mary Jane Skalski (Win Win, The Station Agent), Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde, Ten Things I Hate About You), Guinevere Turner (American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page), Pat Verducci (Disney/Pixar), Ligiah Villalobos (Under the Same Moon, Firelight).





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The Writers Lab

Frequently Asked Questions
The Application
How do I apply? Applications for the 2018 Writers Lab will be available online starting Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

What are the fees and deadlines?
Deadline: Thursday, February 28, 2018 (11:59pm EST)
Application Fee: $55 non-members, $35 for NYWIFT, other WIF chapters*, and WGA members *Members of other Women in Film chapters must provide proof of membership via letter from their chapter's staff or Board President.

What information will I need for the application?
Basic contact and biographical information (name, email address, contact phone number, mailing address, birth date)
Script log line and genre.
Full-length feature narrative script, in PDF format, no more than 120 pages long.
Upload your screenplay as a PDF through the online application when prompted. Each PDF must be labeled with the project name only. DO NOT include the name of the screenwriter(s) ANYWHERE on the PDF.
Each script should be registered for copyright. If it is not yet registered, with The Writers Guild or the US Copyright Office, registration is quick and easy. Registration will protect you and The Lab staff and volunteers. (The Writers Guild of America, East, has offered the discounted price of $17 to Lab applicants who are not members of the Guild. Click below to register through the WGA. Choose the Student and NYWIFT/The Writers Lab option. Register at the WGA, East, website.)

Why must I register my script?
We ask that you register your script to prevent infringement, and that will protect your work, as well as The Writers Lab staff and volunteers. It is a standard industry practice to register any professional script with The Writers Guild or the US Copyright Office. The Guild has generously offered a discount to The Writers Lab applicants. See FAQ #3, above.
How many scripts can I apply with? Writers may submit up to three (3) scripts. Each script requires a separate completed application and a separate nonrefundable application fee paid by credit card.

Can writing partners apply?
Yes, both writers must be women over 40 and only one writer from a project may attend the Lab Retreat. Please designate one writer as the primary contact/potential attendee, and list her first in the writing credits on the application.

How do I provide Proof of Membership?
A member of another Women in Film chapter must provide proof of membership via a letter from her chapter's staff or Board President. You may email the letter to contact@thewriterslab.nyc with “Proof of Membership” in the subject line.

What if I can’t pay by credit card?
You may pay by check. However, first please contact us to discuss the process, at 212-679-0870 or contact@thewriterslab.nyc.

What if I can’t afford the application fee?
You will need to provide proof of public assistance or SSI with your application. You may email the proof to contact@thewriterslab.nyc with “Proof of Need” in the subject line.

Is it possible to get an extension on the deadline? What’s the absolute final deadline?
You must submit your application online by February 28, 2018.

Can I deliver my application in person?
However, if you are NOT able to submit an application electronically, please call 212-679-0870 or email contact@thewriterslab.nyc.

What is the fee that the writer must pay to attend the Lab Retreat?
Applicants pay for the application fee, script registration, and travel to and from New York City. The Writers Lab organization covers travel to the retreat venue from New York City, food and accommodations.

Should I have my industry contacts call with references?
Our final decision is based on the material alone. Your work will speak for itself.

How will I be notified about acceptance?
All Lab notifications will be made via email. You will hear from us either way, whether accepted or not, on or before July 31, 2018.

Will I be notified if I’m not accepted?
All Lab notifications will be made via email. You will hear from us either way, whether accepted or not, on or before July 31, 2018.

I haven’t received my notification yet, but all my friends have. What’s wrong?
Notifications are made on a rolling basis. Final Lab decisions will be made by July 31, 2018.

Why do you ask for my birth date?
The Lab supports female writers over the age of 40. Your birth date must be on or before February 28, 1978.

I am an American living abroad. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. Keep in mind that we do not cover transportation to New York City. You will be expected to get yourself to New York by September 24, 2018.

I am not a U.S. Citizen. May I apply?
YES! We have opened submissions internationally for the 2018 Lab. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to apply, but must have the appropriate passport or visa. And your narrative feature script must be in English. Keep in mind that we do not cover transportation to New York City. You will be expected to be in New York by September 24, 2018.

Do you need to see proof of birth date, passport or visa in the application?
No, you do not need to submit these documents with your application. However, accepted applicants will need to have these documents in order to sign the Lab Contract.

I don't have much experience. Does that affect my chances at the Lab?
Absolutely not. The Lab seeks to foster exciting emerging voices, regardless of professional film experience. However, The Lab does NOT teach screenwriting basics. Submissions must exhibit knowledge of screenwriting technique and style.

The Lab Retreat
What are the Lab dates?
The 2018 Writers Lab will take place September 25-29, 2018.

Will I have to get myself there, or will you provide transportation?
We provide transportation between New York City and the retreat itself. You are expected to provide your own transportation to and from New York City. You may also choose to meet us at the retreat.

What kind of grants / support / production will the Lab offer?
The Lab does not offer grants, nor are we a producing lab. The Writers Lab is a screenplay development lab. However, the retreat offers writers access to and interaction with film industry professionals as well as a growing peer group of driven and talented writers.

If my script is good enough to be accepted, why do I need to develop it further?
Any script that is accepted to our Screenwriting Development Lab requires more work. In addition to writing support, the Lab offers a unique, supportive community to tap into.

Does the Lab offer any followup to the writers after the retreat?
Yes. The Writers Lab provides one event for the 12 fellows each year. Traditionally, the event has been a reading of the revised scripts to an audience of accomplished film industry members, including producers, directors, managers, agents.

The Script
Is there a correct length for a script? While there is no “correct” length, the average feature-length script is between 90 and 120 pages.

What if my script is not in PDF format?
You will have to convert it. All film industry professionals expect scripts in PDF format, so this is a good opportunity to format your script to industry standards.

Will you consider scripts written in a language other than English?
No. Although your script may include other languages, the primary language must be English.

Can I reapply with the same script as last year?
Yes, but please send a revised draft.

Can I submit a script based on a book, or an adaptation?
Yes, we will consider scripts based on prior works, as long as you have secured the underlying rights to the material. Please include proof that you have secured these rights when you apply. You may email the proof to contact@thewriterslab.nyc if necessary.

I have a project that is still a treatment. If I don't think I will be able to have a draft in screenplay format in time to submit, can I submit my treatment for consideration?
No. The Lab is for completed feature-length screenplays only.

How complete should the screenplay be?
While the the Lab will consider scripts at various stages of development, every screenplay must be a feature-length finished draft, in the 90-to-120 page range. You are free to use a software of your choice, as long as the script is converted to a PDF before submission.
We will not consider screenplay fragments, treatments, synopses, TV scripts, book excerpts, or stage plays.

Each script should show a basic understanding of screenwriting technique and style.

Will my ideas be protected?
We will make all reasonable and customary efforts to protect your ideas. Please see FAQ #4 under THE APPLICATION.

Do you accept scripts that have been submitted elsewhere?
Yes, we have no restrictions on material that has been through other workshops or programs.

If you have any other questions or problems, email contact@thewriterslab.nyc
Copyright © 2018 The Writers Lab · New York Women in Film & Television · Iris


The Writers Lab 2018
Terms and Conditions

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 NYWIFT (herein "you") and me, the undersigned.

I request that the panel convened for purposes of 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.

I warrant that I am forty (40) years old or over, born on or before February 28, 1978. Proof of age and residence may be required.
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 the Writers Guild of America.

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 NYWIFT Writers Lab. No other obligation or duty on your part shall arise from or be implied by this submission.

I agree that any part of said Material which does not in itself constitute protectable literary property may be used by any member 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 not submitted said Material.

The Writers Lab is not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, invalid, unintelligible or misdirected Submissions, 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.
In return for participation in the Lab, should I be selected, I understand that I am asked to make the following commitments: (a) Make a tax-deductible contribution to The Writers Lab of $2500 should the Participating screenplay be produced with a total budget in excess of $1,000,000 on or before December 31, 2023; or, make a tax-deductible contribution to The Writers Lab of $5000 should the Participating screenplay be produced with a total budget in excess of $5,000,000 on or before December 31, 2023; and (b) The Writers Lab will receive a credit line and logo placement in the film's end titles should the Participating screenplay be produced at any budget level on or before December 31, 2023.
I understand that the Internet is not a secure medium and information submitted via it may be accessed by third parties. 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.
I specifically acknowledge that you would refuse to accept, consider or otherwise evaluate my Material in the absence of my acceptance of the provisions herein.

In further consideration of your evaluation of said Material, I and my successors or assigns hereby release NYWIFT, and its officers 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.

I have read and understand this agreement and 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.