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 to take part in a series of master classes held over one week in June 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.

Winners will 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.

Material created during the program will be considered for production in the HBOAccess 2020 Directing Fellowship.

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. Make sure you have selected 'Script' as 'Project Type' in Section 1.

After you have created and saved a Project, you can revisit this page by going to 'My Projects', then clicking 'Edit'.

2. Upload your script. Go to 'My Projects', then 'Project File' to upload.

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:

Make sure to answer to ALL questions during the checkout process.

5. 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 must be one of the following:
* An original scripted 1/2 hour comedy or dramedy pilot
* An original 1 hour drama pilot
* A full length play
* 3 scripts for the same web series
* A feature film screenplay

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

You may only submit one application. Any additional applications will be disqualified.

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
* Black
* LatinX
* Native American or Indigenous
* Middle Eastern
* Women
* 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.

What about people with disabilities?
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. You cannot apply to this program if you have written a feature film that has been released by a studio, independently, or shown in major film festivals. Also, you cannot apply if you have had a play professionally produced on Broadway, or if you have been 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?

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.

If I am selected for the final round, can I pitch more than 1 idea to work on during the program?
Yes, you may pitch up to 3 ideas if you are selected to meet with us in person during the final round.

Do I have to be in the WGA to apply?

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?

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?
While there is no cap on the number of writers who can apply to the program during the one week submission period which ends on February 13th, each applicant can only apply once. You may also not apply solo and again as a team. Apply EITHER as an individual writer OR as a team. Any additional applications will be disqualified.

What if I am out of the country during the application window?
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.

Overall Rating
  • 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