What’s Your Story?
The Outfest Screenwriting Lab has become one of the industry’s premier incubators for up-and-coming storytellers who are looking to challenge the status quo.

The Lab began as a screenwriting contest in 1997 and has evolved to become the cornerstone of Outfest’s education and mentoring program, Outfest Forward. Conducted over a 5 day period in October, this extraordinary workshop pairs some of the industry’s foremost talent with a select group of emerging authors for an intensive dive into the art, craft and business of screenwriting.

The Program
The Outfest Screenwriting Lab accepts applications through Friday, June 4th and selects just five participants for the workshop in October. Interested writers should note that only narrative feature-length screenplays and episodic pilot scripts (standard broadcast length – half hour or hour) will be considered.

Those selected for The Lab will work closely with a diverse group of accomplished mentors; participants will receive invaluable critiques, insight and encouragement as they learn to clarify their voice and hone their writing skills.

Best of all, the story doesn’t end when the workshop does. The five Screenwriting Lab Fellows will continue to receive guidance and support from Outfest Staff and Mentors throughout the full calendar year following the workshop.

About Outfest
Founded by UCLA students in 1982, Outfest is the leading organization that promotes LGBTQ equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen. Outfest builds community by connecting diverse populations to discover, discuss, and celebrate stories of LGBTQ lives. Over the past three decades Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers, and protected more than 20,000 LGBTQ films and videos. Outfest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Netflix/Outfest Submission Waiver
We have partnered with Netflix for the Screenwriting Lab, the collaboration with Netflix is part of the recently announced Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, in which Netflix will invest $100 million dollars over the next five years in a combination of external organizations with a strong track record of setting underrepresented communities up for success in the TV and film industries, as well as Netflix programs that will help identify, train and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent globally. In addition to Netflix, we are partnering with E-Minutes, a law firm with a declared mission “to amplify the voices of disenfranchised storytellers from underrepresented communities.” Participants in Outfest’s Screenwriting Lab are eligible to receive free incorporation services from E-Minutes, and all other Outfest members can form corporations at reduced rates. To fill out the submission waiver form, follow the link below.



Friday, April 16
Submissions open on FilmFreeway - ROUND 1 (first 10 pages of script)

Friday, April 23
Early deadline

Friday, May 14
Regular deadline

Wednesday, June 30
Final deadline CHANGED - Submissions will not be accepted after this date!

Monday, August 2

If your script is selected for the second round of the selection process, you will receive an email with a request to submit a PDF of the COMPLETE SCRIPT by FRIDAY, August 6.

Saturday, September 4
ROUND 2 NOTIFICATIONS ARE SENT OUT. Five Screenwriting Lab fellows are selected.

October 4-8
The Outfest Screenwriting Lab takes place online, in a virtual version of Los Angeles.

To be held in October of 2021, the lab includes sessions with industry professionals and structured career development opportunities. Lab Fellows are selected by Outfest staff, with recommendations from an illustrious panel of writers, directors, producers, and development executives.


Do NOT submit a complete script. The following needs to be submitted as a single, combined PDF file:

- THE FIRST TEN (10) PAGES OF YOUR SCRIPT, not counting the title page.
- A synopsis of the script, i.e. a summary of the entire story, including the ending; not a pitch or a teaser. Episodic entries must also include a series and/or season synopsis (750 words maximum altogether).
- A statement of your career history and objectives, as well as what you hope to gain from participating in the Lab (750 words maximum).

If your project is already set up on FilmFreeway as a complete script, you can either replace the file, or add a second file, or create a new project for Outfest and submit that.

The Outfest Screenwriting Lab does not accept scripts based on a pre-existing work, unless the writer has the rights to that work.

You may only submit the same screenplay for two consecutive years. Screenplays submitted for a third time will not be considered.

The Screenwriting Lab was originally designed for early career writers who have not received screenplay credit on a feature film, but as the lab's reputation has grown, more established writers may be considered. Individuals are eligible to enter regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Lab is not open to individuals in the following categories, nor to their immediate family members: employees of Outfest, members of its Board of Directors, and the Lab Selection Committee.

Submitting to the Lab constitutes permission to use the entrant's name and likeness for publicity and promotions.

Although not necessary at time of entry, Outfest encourages writers to register their material with either the Writers Guild of America or The U.S. Copyright Office.
- U.S. Copyright information: 202-707-3000
- Writers Guild East: 212-767-7800
- Writers Guild West: 323-951-4000.

Any disputes or questions regarding the application or effect of these rules shall be resolved by the Board of Directors of Outfest, whose judgment shall be binding and final on all parties.

Overall Rating
  • Sav Rodgers

    The Outfest Screenwriting Lab was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that has already made a massive difference in my future as a screenwriter. I am forever grateful to Outfest for this opportunity. Exceptional networking, hospitality, communication from the organizations, with tremendous value to emerging writers. Cannot recommend it enough.

    October 2021