The Writers Lab FAQ's
1. How do I apply?
Applications are available online starting May 1, 2015 and are due June 1, 2015, for the September 2015 Lab.
2. What should the application include?
First, you must register your script with the Writers Guild, if it is not already registered. Registration is quick and easy and the Writers Guild of America East has offered the discounted price of $17 to Lab applicants who are not members of the Guild. Registration will protect you and The Lab staff and volunteers. Click here to register. Choose the Student and NYWIFT/The Writers Lab option. Register at the WGA East website.
The application includes the following components:
a) Application form: Name, email address, contact phone number, mailing address, birth date.
b) Background information: Short Synopsis (maximum 500 words), Brief Personal Statement (maximum 500 words). These are intended to give us an idea of you and your vision of the project. We recommend that you draft your answers in a Word doc, then cut and paste the final text once it has been completed to your satisfaction. Here’s an example of the type of information we’re looking for: Tell us about yourself and why you wrote this screenplay? Why do you want to come to The Lab? What do you want an audience to take away from your film? Why are you passionate about this story? How could the Lab help you?
c) Non-refundable application fee of $25 (per script) for NYWIFT Members, Members of other Women in Film chapters and Writers Group Members OR $55 for Non-members paid by credit card. Members of other women in film chapters must provide proof of membership via a letter from their chapter's staff or Board President.
d) Screenplay: Upload your screenplay as a PDF through the online application when prompted. PDFS must be labeled with the project name and the name of the person submitting the project.
3. Why must I register my script with The Writers Guild?
We ask that you register your script for your own protection, as well as for the protection of The Writers Lab staff and volunteers. It is a standard industry practice to register any professional script with The Writers Guild East. The Guild has generously offered a discount to The Writers Lab applicants. See above in #2.
4. Can I apply if I am a director seeking scripts?
No. The Writers Lab is for writers only.
5. Can writing partners apply?
Yes, but only one writer from a project may attend the lab. Please designate one writer as the primary contact/potential attendee, and list her first in the writing credits on the application.
6. How many scripts can I apply with?
Writers may submit more than one script, but each script requires a separate completed application and non-refundable application fee (per script) of $25 for NYWIFT Members and Members of other Women in Film chapters OR $55 for Non-members paid by credit card. Members of other women in film chapters must provide proof of membership via a letter from their chapter's staff or Board President.
7. What if I can’t pay by credit card?
You may pay by check. However, first please contact us to discuss at 212-679-0870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. What if I can’t afford the application fee?
Please send proof of public assistance or SSI with your application.
9. Is it possible to get an extension? What’s the absolute final deadline?
No. You must complete the online portion of your application by June 1, 2015, at 5 PM.
10. Can I deliver my application in person?
No. However, if you are NOT able to submit an application electronically, please contact us at 212-679-0870 or email@example.com.
11. What does the program cost?
Aside from the application fee (see above), the reduced fee to register your script with The Writers Guild of America East and getting yourself to and from New York City, participation (including travel to Wiawaka Center for Women, food and accommodations) is completely free.
12. Should I have my industry contacts call with references?
No. Our final decision is based on the material and talent alone. Take comfort in the fact that your work will speak for itself!
13. 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, on or before August 1, 2015.
14. 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 August 1.
15. 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 June 1, 1975.
16. I am an American living abroad. Can I still apply?
Yes, but we cannot cover transportation to New York City. You will be expected to get yourself to New York City before September 18, 2015.
17. I am not a U.S. Citizen. May I apply?
No. This year, we are limiting the pool of applicants to U.S. Citizens and permanent residents only.
18. 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. However, accepted applicants will need to have these documents in order to sign the Lab Contract.
19. 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.
20. What are the Lab dates?
The 2015 Writers Lab will take place September 18-20, 2015.
21. Will I have to get myself there, or will you provide transportation?
We provide transportation between New York City and The Wiawaka Center. You are expected to provide your own transportation to and from New York. You may also choose to meet us at Wiawaka.
22. What kind of grants / support / production will the Lab offer?
The Lab is NOT a producing lab. It is a screenplay development lab. However, it offers writers access to and interaction with film industry professionals.
23. 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. In most cases, if your script is significantly shorter or longer than that range, we suggest you do more revisions before submitting it for consideration.
24. 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 properly.
25. Do you consider scripts written in a language other than English?
No. Although your script may include other languages, the primary language must be English.
26. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if necessary.
27. 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 screenplays only. This does not necessarily mean the final draft. However, we do ask that the script is in standard format and has a beginning, middle and end.
28. Can I reapply with the same script next year?
Under certain circumstances, yes. We will consider re-applications with the same script only if you have completed significant revisions.
29. How complete should the screenplay be?
The Lab considers scripts at various stages of development, but your screenplay must be a complete draft, with a beginning, middle, and end. Remember, The Lab seeks to offer promising scripts a springboard to production, not to develop first drafts.
30. Will my ideas be protected?
We will make all reasonable and customary efforts to protect your ideas.
31. 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 lab@NYWIFT.org.
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Last updated: May. 27, 2015