Hedgebrook Screenwriters Lab

5 Screenwriters. 2 Mentors. 1 Week.

Hedgebrook’s Screenwriters Lab supports five screenwriters in developing their projects over a weeklong residency, with two mentors from the film industry, at our retreat on Whidbey Island, Washington. Through this program, Hedgebrook aims to support the creative process of a diverse group of screenwriters each year, and build a community that harnesses the power of film as a storytelling medium to change the cultural conversation.

Hedgebrook’s Screenwriters Lab is a natural extension of our quarter century commitment to raising women’s voices. Through residency programs that offer space and time to write, Master Classes and Salons designed to expand the writer’s craft, and events that build our global community of writers, we support, promote and advocate for equal voice in the cultural conversation.

Funded in part by a grant from Humanitas.

humanitas logo

About the Program:

 

Hedgebrook’s Lab features a week of one-on-one mentoring sessions and workshops led by experienced writers, with Hedgebrook’s singular residency experience. Each writer lives in her own cottage in the woods, and meals are prepared by our in-house chefs with produce harvested from our organic garden. Post-residency, screenwriters will have opportunities to connect with Hedgebrook’s growing community of women in the film industry who can offer advice and guidance as they bring their projects to fruition.

See our FAQ’s for more details.

More questions? Email us at lab@hedgebrook.org.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter: #EqualVoice

About Humanitas:

For over four decades, the Humanitas Prize has empowered writers with financial support and recognition to tell stories which are both entertaining and uplifting. Humanitas has partnered with other non-profits who share our mission of encouraging and empowering the next generation of writers. The Humanitas-Hedgebrook partnership is a powerful example of our shared mission.

Eligibility:

Participating writers will come into the workshop with a draft of the screenplay they’ll be working on.

We welcome scripts on all topics and across all genres of narrative fiction (drama, comedy, horror, action, thriller, science fiction, animation, musical, etc.) No TV scripts, shorts or documentaries.

Hedgebrook’s mission is to support visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. For more than 25 years Hedgebrook has supported fully-funded residencies for writers representing diversity in citizenship status, nationality, current place of residence, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, trans* identity, age, disability, professional experience, and economic resources. We welcome applicants who embrace the mission and opportunity to be a member of Hedgebrook’s community.

Submission Process:

This is an open submission process. The cost of applying for this program is $40.

The following materials are required and must be uploaded with your on-line application:

1) Attach a PDF (Standard script format required – see note below*) of the beginning 20 pages and no more than 30 pages of the screenplay you intend to workshop/develop during the lab. (required)

2) Attach a PDF (PDF required format) treatment, including a short log line, of up to 5 pages. (required)

3) You are welcome to also attach your Creative/Writing Resume as a PDF. (optional)

*Script format: Final Draft® is a standard script format, uploaded as a PDF. (If you don’t have Final Draft® software, the format you use should still resemble that format.)

The application is an online process in SLIDEROOM. We advise you not to wait until the last minute to begin or submit your application, especially if you are new to SLIDEROOM. Your personal SLIDEROOM Account must be set up and verified before you can even begin the application process itself. We strongly advise you get started early so nothing is in your way of completing your application by the deadline.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to register your script or treatment submission with the WGA West Registry before submitting. Registration costs $20 and protects your authorship of your script. The link to their site is: www.wgawregistry.org.

The deadline for this year’s Screenwriters Lab is June 2nd at midnight (PST).
Apply

Selection Process:

Applications will be read by experienced professionals in film and screenwriting, and evaluated on the following criteria: originality of story and voice, craft and subject matter.

The five selected screenwriters will be notified by the end of August.

About the Advisors

Recognizing that women working in film face challenges and obstacles to getting their work produced, we are launching this program with the advice and guidance of women in the industry, including: Lab advisors Robin SwicordJane Anderson, and Jenny Bicks.

The mentors for 2017 will be chosen in collaboration with our advisors.

Learn more about Robin, Jane and Jenny by clicking on their name below:

Robin SwicordRobin Swicord (Advisor) is a screenwriter and film director, well known in Hollywood for her literary adaptations and for deftly translating multi-dimensional female characters and female-oriented stories successfully onto the movie screen. Her first notoriety came with Little Women (1994), and she was thereafter tapped to pen comedies and dramas that centered on female characters as in Matilda (1996), Practical Magic (1998), and the internationally acclaimed Memoirs of Geisha (2005), which earned her a Satellite Award in 2005 for Best Adapted Screenplay. Her track record adapting bestsellers and literary classics alike made her an excellent choice for David Fincher’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), which earned Swicord both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

She moved into feature film directing with her screenplay for Karen Joy Fowler’s 2004 novel, The Jane Austen Book Club (2007), effectively advancing from her position as one of Hollywood’s most respected screenwriters to one of its most powerful female executives and creative voices.

Jane-AndersonJane Anderson (Advisor) was a mentor for the inaugural 2015 Screenwriters Lab. She is an Emmy award-winning writer and director for theater, film and television. Television credits: HBO’s Olive Kitteridge, starring Frances McDormand (nominated for the Golden Globe and received the Writers Guild Award for best teleplay). HBO’s The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom, (Emmy, Penn Award and Writers Guild Award for best teleplay.) She wrote and directed The Baby Dance for Showtime which she adapted from her play (Peabody Award and Golden Globe and Emmy nominations.)  She wrote and directed Normal for HBO, adapted from her play Looking for Normal (Emmy, Golden Globe and Directors’ Guild and Writers’ Guild nominations.) When Billie Beat Bobby and the first segment of HBO’s If These Walls Could Talk II which starred Vanessa Redgrave (Emmy nomination for best writing.)

Screenwriting credits include: How to Make An American Quilt, It Could Happen to You and The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio, which she also directed.  Documentary film: Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson.

Anderson’s plays have been produced Off-Broadway and in theaters around the country, including Arena Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, Williamstown, Long Wharf Theatre, ACT, the Geffen Playhouse and the Pasadena Playhouse. Plays include: Mother of the Maid, The Escort, The Quality of Life, Looking for Normal, The Baby Dance, Defying Gravity, Smart Choices for the New Century, The Pink Studio, Lynette at 3AM and The Last Time We Saw Her.

Jenny-BicksJenny Bicks (Advisor) was a mentor for the inaugural 2015 Screenwriters Lab. She started her career in advertising in New York City and went on to write radio comedy before she began writing for film and television. Her series credits include “Seinfeld,” “Dawson’s Creek” and HBO’s “Sex and The City”. She wrote on “Sex and The City” for all six seasons, rising to the rank of executive producer. Her work on the series earned her several awards, including an Emmy® Award, multiple Golden Globes and Producers Guild Awards and three WGA nominations. After “Sex and The City,” Bicks created and executive produced “Men In Trees” which ran for two seasons on ABC. She recently wrapped Executive Producing and Showrunning Showtime’s critically acclaimed “The Big C,” starring Laura Linney. The show, which ran for four seasons, earned her a Golden Globe nomination and a Golden Globe and Emmy win for Linney.

In the feature world, her body of credits include “What a Girl Wants,” “Rio 2” and many uncredited rewrites including “Never Been Kissed,” “Serendipity” and “The Nanny Diaries”. She recently completed writing a feature film musical based on the life of PT Barnum for 20th Century Fox, with Hugh Jackman set to star and shooting to begin in the fall. She also just completed writing the live action “Barbie” movie for Sony Pictures. Her short film, “Gnome”, which she wrote and directed, had its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival and went on to win awards at multiple festivals. A born and bred New Yorker, Bicks divides her time between New York, Maine and Los Angeles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please take time to read through these and see if they answer your questions before contacting us. If you have further questions, email lab@hedgebrook.org.

Applying

How do I apply?

The application is an online process in SLIDEROOM. We advise you not to wait until the last minute to begin or submit your application, especially if you are new to SLIDEROOM. Your personal SLIDEROOM Account must be set up and verified before you can even begin the application process itself. We strongly advise you get started early so nothing is in your way of completing your application by the deadline.

What should the application include?

There is a non-refundable application fee of $40 paid online to SLIDEROOM.

The following materials are required and must be uploaded with your on-line application:

1) Attach a PDF (Standard script format required – see note below*) of the beginning 20 pages and no more than 30 pages of the screenplay you intend to workshop/develop during the lab. (required)

2) Attach a PDF (PDF required format) treatment, including a short log line, of up to 5 pages. (required)

3) You are welcome to also attach your Creative/Writing Resume as a PDF. (optional)

*Script format: Final Draft® is a standard script format, uploaded as a PDF. (If you don’t have Final Draft® software, the format you use should still resemble that format.)

Why must I register my script with The Writers Guild?

We encourage you to register your script for your own protection, as well as for the protection of the Hedgebrook Screenwriters Lab team. It is a standard industry practice to register any professional script with The Writers Guild. For more info and to register, go to the Writers Guild of America, West Registry: www.wgawregistry.org.

Can I apply if I am a director seeking scripts?

No. But you are still invited to the Hedgebrook community. If you subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media, you will be the first to learn about new work by women writers.

Can I submit a TV script, short or documentary?

Although Hedgebrook’s community includes many talented TV writers, short and documentary filmmakers, this program is geared towards narrative fiction. If you work in one of these mediums, you may wish to apply to our Writers in Residence program or to one of our upcoming Master Classes. (see “Residencies” on our Homepage)

Can writing partners apply?

No. The Lab is for screenwriters working on their own scripts/projects.

How many scripts can I apply with?

One script with one treatment.

What if I can’t pay by credit card?

Please contact us at lab@hedgebrook.org.

What if I can’t afford the application fee?

The non-refundable $40 application fee covers Hedgebrook’s administrative costs related to the application review process. But we don’t want the fee to be a barrier to applying. There is an option in the application process to request waiver.

Is it possible to get an extension? What’s the absolute final deadline?

No. You must complete your application by 11:59pm (PDT) on June 2nd 2017.

Can I deliver my application in person?

No. However, if you are NOT able to submit an application electronically, please contact us at lab@hedgebrook.org.

What does the program cost?

We fully cover the costs of residencies, including your own cottage and all meals, and travel to and from Whidbey Island, WA. The only fees for the writer come in the application process, and registering your script or treatment with WGA.

Should I have my industry contacts call with references?

No. Writers are asked to provide personal and professional references. After applying, please do not call Hedgebrook’s office with inquiries or references.

How will I be notified about acceptance? 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, by the end of August.

Eligibility

Why do you ask for my birth date?

There is no age restriction as long as you are 18 on or before November 27th, 2017. As with other Hedgebrook programs, the Hedgebrook Screenwriters Lab aims to support a diverse community of writers, including generationally.

I am not a U.S. Citizen. May I apply?

Yes.

Do you need to see proof of citizenship, residency status, or birth date?

No, you do not need to submit these documents with your application.

I don't have professional film experience. Can I still apply?

Absolutely! Hedgebrook’s Lab seeks to foster exciting, emerging voices regardless of professional experience. We also encourage applications from writers with experience in mediums other than film, who are making the transition to screenwriting.

The Lab

What are the Lab dates?

The 2017 Hedgebrook Screenwriters Lab will take place November 27th – December 6th, 2017.

Does Hedgebrook handle travel?

Yes. Hedgebrook will help you make travel arrangements to and from Whidbey Island, WA, and will cover the costs of your travel.

What kind of grants / support / production will the Lab offer?

The Lab is focused on development, not on production. However, it will also offer writers access to film industry professionals, and a community of peers.

The Script

What if my script is not in PDF format?

You need to convert it. All film industry professionals expect scripts in PDF format, so this is a good opportunity to format your script properly.

Do you consider scripts written in a language other than English?

Your script may include other languages, but the primary language must be English and translations must be provided for non-English excerpts.

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 by emailing lab@hedgebrook.org.

Can I reapply with the same script next year?

Yes, if you have made significant revisions.

How complete should the screenplay be?

Hedgebrook’s Lab considers scripts at various stages of development.

Will my ideas be protected?

We will make all reasonable and customary efforts to protect your ideas.

Do you accept scripts that have been submitted elsewhere?

Yes.

The 2016 Screenwriters Lab Finalists:

Out of 226 applicants, five screenwriters were chosen through a rigorous two-round selection process: Ellie Foumbi, Jessica Chou, Desha Dauchan, Gabriela Garcia Medina and Bianca Asibu.

2016 Screenwriters Lab Participants 
Honorable mention went to five finalists: Megan Swertlow, Ana Brown, Caroline Keene and Carol Liu.

 

The 2015 Screenwriters Lab Finalists:

Out of 130 applicants, five screenwriters were chosen through a rigorous two-round selection process: Ingrid Veninger, Caroline Ryder, Allison Lee, Lauren Goodman and Stephanie Cavagnuolo.

Honorable mention went to five finalists: Lisanne Sartor, Stephanie Allain, Debbie Bolsky, Rachael Holder and Sheri Davenport.

 

According to Amy Wheeler, Hedgebrook’s Executive Director, “If the screenplays in this applicant pool represent the writing being generated by the larger community of female screenwriters, we’re witnessing a sea change that will be reflected in the movies we see in the coming years. These writer’s stories are ambitious and thrilling. They’re tackling timely, complex themes in all genres – from dramas, comedies and dramedies, to thrillers, period pieces and action-adventures – all with multi-dimensional female characters. It’s very exciting!”