What is the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship?
The HBOAccess Writing Fellowship is designed to give emerging, diverse writers the opportunity to develop a half-hour or hour script suitable for HBO or Cinemax.

The program will select up to 8 diverse writers or teams to take part in a series of master classes held over one week in August at the HBO campus in Santa Monica. Classes will consist of discussions with HBO executives and showrunners and will focus on the craft of writing including structure, story, and character as well as the business aspects of securing an agent and effective networking.

Each participant will then be paired with an HBO or Cinemax development executive who will serve as his/her mentor over the course of 10 months. Mentoring can be done remotely or in person pending whichever is logistically feasible. In addition, we will hold monthly group meetings during which projects will continue to be work-shopped. At the end of the program, HBO will hold a reception for industry professionals where the writers will be introduced to the entertainment community.

What is the submission process?
The submission portal will open on FilmFreeway on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 9am PST/12pm noon EST. The submission portal will close on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 9am PST/12pm noon EST.

Candidates are required to supply the following through the FilmFreeway portal:
• Resume or Bio
• A sample of your work (see below for types of scripts accepted)
• Answer to 2 short essay questions
• Agreement of terms and conditions

Will waivers be offered and accepted?
No late submissions will be accepted. No waivers will be offered.

What kind of material should I submit?
Submissions can be one of the following:
* An original scripted 1/2 hour comedy pilot
* An original 1 hour drama pilot
* A full length play
* 3 scripts for the same webseries
* A feature film screenplay

No specs of existing shows, short stories, novels, graphic novels, or blogs will be accepted.

Who is eligible to apply?
Any diverse writer, 21 or over, who meets our application requirements.

I am not 21 now, but what if I turn 21 by the time the program begins?
Feel free to apply if you are over 21 by the time the program starts in June.

What is the fellowship’s definition of diversity?
For the purposes of the HBOACCESS program, diversity is defined as those who identify their heritage as any of the following:
* Asian Pacific Islander
* Sub-Continent Asian
* Black
* LatinX or Hispanic
* Native American or Indigenous
* Middle Eastern
* Any and all People with Disabilities
* Those who identify as female
* Those who identify as transgender

How about LGBTQ?
If you also consider yourself to be a female or a person of color, then yes, feel free to apply.

Are there any guidelines on who can apply?
Yes, applicants may not had a feature film released by a studio, independently or shown in major film festivals. They can also not have had a play professionally produced on Broadway. And they cannot have staffed on a television series for more than 6 episodes, or a web series for more than 10 episodes. Ideally, applicants should be interested in staffing on Cinemax or HBO series.

What is the personal statement prompt?
Essay prompts are generated randomly by the FilmFreeway website

Can writing teams apply?
Yes, teams can apply, however no more than 2 people can constitute a team. Teams should cut and paste both resumes into the resume section and should answer the prompt as a team.

What if only one of the team qualifies?
If any part of the team qualifies under the above guidelines, then the team is considered eligible to apply.

When does the application process open?
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 9am PST/12pm noon EST.

When will it close?
The submission portal will close on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 9am PST/12pm noon EST.

Can I still apply if I am represented by an agent or manager?
Yes, you are still eligible to apply.

Are there any costs to the candidates?
No, it is free of charge.

Is the program open only to those interested in television?
This program is for those who would like to work in hour and half hour series television.

Who are the mentors?
Each participant will be paired with a creative executive from HBO Entertainment, HBO Films, or Cinemax.

When will interviews be held?
Interviews will be held in May 2019.

What is the selection process?
In May, we will choose up to 25 semi-finalists who will be given a phone interview and asked to submit a second script. Of those 25, up to 15 of them will be asked to interview in person with our team of HBO executives. At that time, candidates will be required to pitch an idea for a script to work on during the program. Ultimately, eight participants will be chosen as our HBOAccess Writing Fellows.

Will I have to submit a second sample?
Yes, but only if you are chosen to advance to the final round interviews.

Can that second sample be a blog, essay, or short story?
No.

Will I have to pitch an idea?
Anyone chosen to advance to final round interviews will be asked to come prepared to pitch the idea which will be developed during the 10 month mentorship. Concepts can be for either a ½ hour comedy for HBO or 1 hour drama suitable for HBO or Cinemax.

Can I pitch more than 1 idea?
Yes, you may pitch up to 3 ideas.

Do I have to be in the WGA to apply?
No.

What days/times will the Master Classes take place?
The classes will take place June 24-28th at the HBO offices in Santa Monica from 10am to 5pm.

Will HBO pay for travel and lodging for the one week course?
HBO will provide a small stipend to those selected. However, all participants in the program will be responsible for arranging their own travel and lodging arrangements.

Do I have to be in LA for the 10 month mentoring process?
No, mentoring can be done remotely via phone, email, or Skype. How you connect with your mentor is up to the two of you.

Must I be a U.S. citizen in order to apply?
Yes.

What if I am not a U.S. citizen, but I have the right to work in the US?
Yes. You may apply.

Can HBO employees apply?
Those who work for HBO directly are ineligible for the program.

Is there a submission cap on the number of entries?
No.

What if I am out of the country during the days that the FilmFreeway is accepting submissions?
We recommend that you find a computer with a strong internet connection, figure out the time difference between countries, and apply. Since there is no submission cap, if you get your application in before the deadline date, your submission will be entered.

Winners will be take part in one week of master classes at HBO's Santa Monica offices prior to their 10 month mentoring by an HBO or Cinemax creative executive.

Submission Instructions. Please follow carefully:

1. Create a Project on FilmFreeway. Log in to your FilmFreeway account and click 'My Projects', then 'Add New Project'. Thoroughly complete the details on this page. After you have created and saved a Project, you can revisit this page by going to 'My Projects', then clicking 'Edit'.

2. Upload or link your Narrative Writing Sample to your Project. Go to 'My Projects', click 'Project File', then upload or link your video.

3. Attach your résumé. Go to My Projects, click 'View', then click 'Add a File' in the 'Files and Attachments' section to upload your résumé.

4. Click 'Submit Now' on this page: https://filmfreeway.com/festival/HBO
Make sure to answer to ALL questions during the checkout process.

What is required to submit?
Candidates are required to supply the following:
• Completed FilmFreeway Application Form
• Resume
• Short Written Essays to randomly-generated prompts provided during the application process
• 1 Narrative Directing Sample shot with actors and a script. Submissions can be of any length including full-length features, shorts, or webisodes. Director reels and documentary films will not be accepted.

Who is eligible to apply?
Any emerging diverse director with a body of work who meets the application requirements. Ideal candidates will have a working knowledge of the entertainment industry.

What is the definition of diversity?
For the purposes of the HBOACCESS program, diversity is defined as those of Asian, African, Hispanic, Middle-Eastern, or Native American ancestry, and women. Transgender applicants are also encouraged to apply.

What about LGBT?
If you also qualify under the above definition of diversity, you are welcome to apply.

And People With Disabilities?
If you also qualify under the above definition of diversity, you are welcome to apply.

How will the selection process play out?
In April, we will choose 20 semi-finalists to advance to the phone interview round. Of those 20, 8 will be invited to meet with HBO and Cinemax executives for the final round. During the final round, the 8 directors selected will be given up to 3 scripts developed through the HBOAccess Writing Program and asked to pitch their take on how they would approach production.

When does the application process open?
January 31st at 9am PT/12pm noon ET.

Is there a limit to the number of submissions HBO will accept?
There is no limit to the number of applicants who can apply to the Access program so as long as you get your application in before February 7th at midnight PT/3am ET you will be considered. However, there is only one application per person. Any additional samples uploaded will be disqualified.

What if I am out of the country during the application dates?
We recommend that you find a computer with a strong internet connection, figure out the time difference between countries, and apply. Since there is no submission cap, if you submit your application before the deadline date, your submission will be considered.

Do you have to be in the DGA to apply?
No, we encourage both current DGA and aspiring DGA members to apply.

Are there any costs to the candidates?
No, there is no cost to apply.

Is the program open only to those interested in television?
HBO is in the business of making quality programming for television. The program is open to those who would like to work in hour or half hour series television.

Can directing teams apply?
Yes, if you and your partner direct as a team and at least one of you meets our definition of diversity, you are welcome to apply. However, only one of you should submit an application with a single directing sample. Any duplicate submissions will be disqualified. When prompted to add your resumes, please upload both in one pdf and answer the essay prompt as a team.

Who are the mentors?
Each participant will be paired with a creative executive from HBO Entertainment, HBO Films, or Cinemax.

When will semi-finalists be notified?
All applicants will be notified of their status through FilmFreeway by Friday, April 6th.

When will interviews be held?
Semi-final phone interviews will be held from April 9-13.

What does the soft skills portion of the program consist of?
HBO will deliver a series of classes by industry professionals, which will include HBO executives and producers. Classes may include conversations about getting an agent, finance and budgeting, legal, production and post-production. HBO showrunners and directors will also be invited to share their expertise about creating content with our participants.

How many directors will be selected for the program?
We will select up to 3 participants.

What days/times will the Master Classes take place?
The classes will take place over a one week period from June 4-8th at the HBO offices in Santa Monica daily from 10am to 6pm.

Will HBO pay for travel and lodging?
No. Anyone 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 HBO will provide a small stipend to help defray those costs.

Must the project be shot in LA?
Yes.

Must I be a U.S. citizen in order to apply?
No. But you must be a current U.S. resident with the right to work.

How do I get my right to work documents?
Please consult your own legal counsel with questions about requirements to legally work in the U.S.

Who will own the completed HBO presentation?
As a condition of acceptance, winners must agree that HBO will own the presentation; however, participants will be allowed to use the content on his/her reel.

For additional questions, feel free to reach out to us at hboaccess2@hbo.com

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Detra Hicks

    Great experience! Making it to the finals was wildly encouraging. I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to pitch my ideas to the lovely folks at HBO.

    July 2019
  • Brandi Nicole Payne

    A wonderful incubator where you can grow as a writer if you're willing to take the notes (both on your script and how you present in a room) and apply them. You will learn from your mentor, the program director and especially the other Fellows. It's an incredible experience that's worth taking the time to apply.

    January 2019
  • Claudia Forestieri

    This is an incredible and life-changing program for emerging writers who are ready to launch their careers. Kelly Edwards and the rest of the folks at HBO are incredibly bright, supportive, and wholly dedicated to nurturing talent.

    July 2017