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HBO Launches Writing Fellowship To Find Diverse and Emerging Writers

HBO Launches Writing Fellowship To Find Diverse and Emerging Writers

If you’re an aspiring TV writer and a fan of HBO programming, today is your lucky day. HBO has announced the launch of the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship, which will offer emerging and diverse writers the chance to learn from HBO vets in a week of master classes to be held in Santa Monica, California at the HBO campus. Participants will be schooled on character and story development, pitching ideas, and on the business side, how to secure an agent and network effectively. 

After a week of classes, the writers will spend eight months writing. They’ll be paired with HBO development executives who will help them navigate the script development process. 

The conclusion of the program will be a reception (hosted by HBO) where a staged reading for industry professionals will take place, and writers will be introduced to the entertainment industry.

Currently on HBO are ten scripted series, and only two of them were created or co-created by a woman, both of whom are white (Lena Dunham, “Girls” and Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback”). It’s encouraging to see HBO invest this effort in cultivating diverse voices. 

“With the success of our first year of the HBOAccess Directing fellowship, we wanted to expand our focus to other areas of the creative process,” said Kelly Edwards, Vice President, HBO Talent Development. “We are looking for emerging writers with a deep passion for storytelling and a unique voice who will want to bring that talent to HBO and Cinemax. In turn, they will be nurtured by some of the best creative executives and showrunners in the business. HBO has a long legacy of supporting writers and we are excited we can begin those relationships at this early stage.”

Last year marked the inaugural HBOAccess Directing Fellowship, where four directors were selected to go through a series of lectures with HBO executives, mentors, and industry professionals. They worked towards the production of four short films, all of which are slated to air in March on HBO On Demand and HBO GO.

For more details on eligibility and a timeline, see below: 

The program is open to diverse and female writers 21 and older who must be able to work in the US. Prior to the application, the writer must not have been staffed on a network or cable series in excess of 13 episodes and/or had more than one feature film or more than two plays produced.All submissions must be made through the online portal, Without A Box, and will require a resume, a writing sample, a completed release form and a personal essay in 500 words or less explaining how his/her background has influenced his/her storytelling. 

Timeline and Important Dates 

March 4, 2015 – Application process opens at https://www.withoutabox.com/. The application portal will close when 1,000 submissions have been reached. No mail or email submissions will be accepted.

May, 2015 – 20 candidates advance to first round interviews with HBOAccess™ program directors via in person or Skype.

June 2015 – Final interviews with HBO development and production executives. All applicants selected to the final round must provide a second writing sample. They must also be prepared to pitch up to three ideas, one of which will be developed during the eight month long mentorship.

July 1, 2015 – Eight participants are notified.

August 17-21, 2015 – Master classes will take place over a one week period at the HBO offices in Santa Monica, CA from10am to 5pm. Any finalist not local to the Los Angeles area must be prepared to cover his/her own travel and lodging for the duration of the program, however a small stipend will be available to defray those costs.

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