Six emerging screenwriters—the Fellows—will be invited to attend this intensive creativity incubator. The 2021 edition will unfold in a fully online format, but with the same productivity and effectiveness that the Script Lab is known for. There is no tuition cost for the six Fellows.

The Script Lab will welcome screenwriters developing their first or second feature script or their first television series.

Writers, producers, script consultants, and agents — the advisors — will be offering their mentorship in workshops, master classes, and one-on-one conferences. Ample individual time is built into the schedule, allowing fellows to make real progress on their screenplays. For the 2021 edition, all activities will take place remotely, scheduled over a three-week period in January and early February. The Script Lab will start with an industry event showcasing the work of last year's Fellows and will end with a public reading of the 2021 Fellows' work.

The 2021 Fellows will be in the running for the Midd award, to be handed out at an industry event in Los Angeles in September 2021 (COVID pandemic developments permitting).

We are particularly looking for talented emerging writers who have encountered extraordinary obstacles in their pursuit of a screenwriting career.

We are looking for compelling, exciting screenplays that have a completed first draft (75–120 pages). The screenplay should be the writer’s first or second feature script (no more than one other feature screenplay produced or sold) and fit the scale of an independent production. For TV content, we request a full pilot script for 60 minute shows or the first two episodes for 30 minute shows, accompanied by a show bible. We accept all genres but we prefer serialized over episodic content. Writers who find brainstorming and discussion helpful will get the most out of the Script Lab.

The screenplay should be written in English, in any genre, and must be the original work of the author (no adaptations). Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are over 18 years of age on January 1, 2021.

The application process is handled via FilmFreeway and we initially ask that you send us the first ten pages of your script accompanied by additional materials (as described in the FilmFreeway application). If you are selected as a finalist for the second round of evaluation, we will ask for the full script(s) to be submitted no later than December 20, 2020.

If you are selected as a Fellow, you must commit to attending all the online group Lab activities and all the one-on-one advising sessions.


Creator of hit series The Shield, The Chicago Code, Last Resort, Timeless. Writer and executive producer (The Unit, Lie to Me, S.W.A.T.)

Academy Award nominated screenwriter (Children of Men, Iron Man, Cowboys and Aliens)

Screenwriter (The Discreet Pleasures of Rejection) and script consultant (How to Train Your Dragon), assistant professor of screenwriting at Syracuse University. Ben leads the Script Lab’s structure and pitching workshop.

President and CEO of FX Networks and Chairman of Entertainment for Fox (1998-2009). Producer of independent cult classic Big Night.

Producer (Howl, Thin Ice), executive director of Film North, director of programming at Provincetown Film Festival

Writer-director (Amateur), web series creator (The West Side, Webby Award for Best Drama Series). Founder of the filmmaking website No Film School.

Writer (The Shield, General Hospital, Soul Food)

Writer-director (Walking Out, Winter in the Blood, The Slaughter Rule), script consultant, former Creative Director of the University of Texas Film Institute.

Writer and producer (Six Feet Under, Boomtown, Alias, Supernatural, HBO’s The Pacific, BET’s Being Mary Jane).

Screenwriter (Affluenza, Anne B. Real, Holy Rollers), professor of screenwriting at the AFI Conservatory.

Writer (The Bernie Mac Show, What I Like about You, Beverly Hills Chihuahua)

Writer-director (It felt Like Love, Beach Rats), winner of the Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival

Producer (Beach Rats)

The Middlebury Script Lab was initiated through the Ron and Jessica Liebowitz Fund for Innovation and it is currently organized and sponsored by Middlebury College through its Envisioning Middlebury initiative.

The six selected projects are in the running for the Midd Award, handed out at an industry event in Los Angeles In September 2021. A jury will evaluate the updated screenplays and TV pilots in July 2021; the author of the selected script will be invited to Los Angeles to pitch their project to an audience of industry decision makers, followed by a reading of the script and a networking reception. The writer will also have several one-on-one meetings with industry representatives. The other five projects will also have the opportunity of a pitch, either remotely or in person if the writer can cover their own travel expenses. (Note: because of the COVID-19 epidemic, the 2020 event has been postponed and will be organized in virtual form in January 2021)

Overall Rating
  • Middlebury Script Lab was fantastic! I got so much out of this. From the mentors to the professors and the other top-notch writers, this was a fantastic experience. David and Ioana were very helpful and extremely encouraging. I got so much out of this and my script really improved as a result of this. 5 STARS ALL THE WAY!

    March 2021
  • John Burr

    Deeply grateful for the conversations, experiences and people I met this year in the virtual lab, and deeply jealous of past and future fellows that will get to experience this on location in the real world. David and Ioana were wonderful, and every single mentor meeting was inspiring. Despite less-than-ideal circumstances, we built a great bond among our fellows, and I look forward to real world support, friendships and collaborations for years to come. Highly recommend this lab.

    February 2021
  • Sub Rosa is my first feature film and I was thrilled that it went so far in this prestigious festival. Their communications were punctual and friendly. They've invited me to try again next year and I certainly will do that!

    February 2021
  • The Middlebury Script Lab was a very rewarding experience. Ioana and David are amazing mentors with high-level industry experience. They're also great people! I was one of three feature fellows for the virtual lab, and although we missed parties by the fire, we had lots of Zoom hangouts and met with top-tier writers who not only read our scripts but gave us in-depth notes and met with us each for two hours. You can't beat the industry exposure and benefits to your script that Middlebury Script Lab provides. Definitely enter this one!

    February 2021
  • The Middlebury Script Lab was incredible! It was entirely virtual this year, but it still was such a rewarding, inspiring experience. To start, David and Ioana are the best hosts. You can tell they have a real passion for writing and the fellows’ projects. I was one of three TV fellows. On top of the workshops and panels, my mentors included Showrunner/Writer, Hawk Ostby (The Expanse, Children of Men) and Writer/Executive Producer, Larry Andries (Blue Bloods, How To Get Away With Murder.) I had one-on-one mentor sessions with both of them. For our two-hour meets, we did deep dives into my pilot and discussed the industry. The caliber of talent involved speaks volumes about the lab itself. The opening night mixer featured Showrunner, Shawn Ryan (The Shield, SWAT) and Netflix executives. The industry exposure combined with the in-depth workshops make this lab a real stand out! Sure, it doesn’t have the instant name recognition like a Sundance or HBO, but the quality is right at their level. I absolutely recommend entering it!

    February 2021