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 July 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 2018 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:

• FilmFreeway Application
• Resume or Bio
• Original Scripted Narrative Material
• Answer to short essay questions
• Agree to terms and conditions

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

What kind of material should I submit?
Submissions must be an original scripted 1/2 hour comedy pilot or 1 hour drama pilot, one act play or full length play. No feature film scripts, webisodes, short stories, novels, graphic novels, or blogs will be accepted during the first round submission process.

Who is eligible to apply?
Any diverse writer, 21 or over, who meets the 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 July.

What is the definition of diversity?
For the purposes of the HBOACCESS program, diversity is defined as those who identify as any of the following: Asian, Pacific Islander, Sub-Continental Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, Middle Eastern. Diversity is also defined as those who identify as female or transgender.

Are people with disabilities considered diverse?
Yes, provided they also identify in one of the above categories.

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?
Applicants are not required to have previous writing experience. However, if you have written for a show, you cannot have staffed for more for more than 6 episodes. You should not have had a feature film released by a studio, independently or shown in major film festivals. You can also not have had a play professionally produced on Broadway. You can use your best judgment in deciding whether to apply. Our goal is to allow access to those who do not already have significant momentum within the industry. 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. The prompt may ask for you to tell us about your inspiration, challenges, history, or influences.

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?
March 1, 2017 at 9am PST/ 12pm ET.

When will it close?
The submission portal will close on March 4, 2017 at 9am PST/12pm ET.

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

Will HBO own the rights to the work I submit?
No. We review material submitted as a sample of your ability to write. You will retain all rights to your work. We use a standard industry release form, but rest assured, we will not own any material that you upload.

How many scripts can I submit?
You can submit only one script. Any additional submissions will be disqualified.

Can I submit a script on my own and then submit as a team?
No. You can submit only once. You must decide if you want to submit on your own or as a team.

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 Programming, HBO Films, or Cinemax.

When will interviews be held?
Interviews will be held in late May 2017.

How will the selection process play out?
In May, we will choose 20 semi-finalists who will be invited to take part in a phone interview. Of those 20, 12 of them will be asked to interview in person with our team of HBO executives and asked to submit a second script. At that time, candidates will be required to pitch an idea that he/she will be working on throughout the program. From those 12, eight participants will be chosen as our HBOAccess Writer Fellows.

Will I have to submit a second sample?
Only if you are chosen to advance to the final round interviews.

Can that second sample be a blog, essay, late night packet or short story?
No. But the second sample can be a feature film screenplay, one act play, full play, one hour or ½ hour television script.

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 chosen to advance to the final round, can I pitch more than 1 idea?
Should you make it to the final round you may pitch up to 3 ideas. Together we will choose one of them for you to work on during the mentorship.

Do I have to be in the WGA to apply?

What days/times will the Master Classes take place?
The classes will take place in July 17-21 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 their own travel and lodging expenses.

Do I have to be in LA for the 8 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?
The purpose of the program is to develop writers who will eventually work on US based series. We do not sponsor paperwork. If you plan to live and work in the US and have the appropriate paperwork in hand then feel free to apply.

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

Is there a cap on the number of entries that HBO will accept?
While there is no limit to the total number of applications HBO will accept until the March 4th deadline, each applicant may only submit one script. If you submit more than 1 script any additional submissions will be disqualified.

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.

Overall Rating
  • 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