In this highly competitive virtual accelerator program for TV writers, 6-8 fellows will receive three weeks of industry training before having the opportunity to pitch to major companies including HBO, Netflix, Showtime, Hulu, Warner Brothers Discovery, Anonymous Content, Sid Gentle, Fabel Entertainment, Yes, Norman, Element Pictures, Irish Cowboy, Good Fear Content, Sutton Street Productions, Blumhouse Television and more. The entire accelerator, including training and pitching, will occur online.
The goal of this program is to launch the careers of our fellows, which could take the form of selling their TV pilot; securing follow-up meetings with executives; getting hired as a freelance writer, staff writer or writing support staff on an existing series; and/or making valuable industry contacts. This program aims to increase the representation of women and non-binary people on screen and in writers rooms.
Last year, each of our fellows received 6 to 10 one-on-one meetings, and 75% of those meetings ended with a request to read the script. Since the accelerator, two of the 2021 fellows have gotten staffed; several have gotten representation; two have become mentees to showrunners and one has become a writers' assistant.
Semi-finalists' scripts will be read by a panel of prestigious judges — showrunners, TV series creators and co-EPs of major shows. Last year, multiple judges requested meetings with a semi-finalist after reading their script.
Our 2023 judging panel includes Anita Kapila (executive producer, “Strays”), Leigh Davenport (creator, “Queenie”), Tracey Deer (executive producer, “Mohawk Girls”), Felischa Marye (creator, “Bigger”), Valentina Garza (co-executive producer, “True Lies”), Chelsea Devantez (co-executive producer, “Not Dead Yet”), Nicole Mirante-Matthews (co-executive producer, “The Walking Dead”), Vivian Lee (producer, “Cowboy Bebop”), Pam Davis (co-executive producer, “On Becoming a God in Central Florida”), Shernold Edwards (co-executive producer, "Anne With an E"), Asha Michelle Wilson (co-executive producer, "The Great North), Bianca Sams (supervising producer, "Charmed"), Vanessa Ramos (creator, "Blockbuster") and Nikita T. Hamilton (executive story editor, “A Million Little Things”).
WWFC's Pilot Accelerator is created by Women's Weekend Film Challenge, an organization that works toward gender equity in film and television.
HOW TO APPLY:
Applicants will submit their full script of their narrative, live-action pilots (half-hour or hour-long format) and answer a few brief questions. WWFC will review all applications before selecting the quarter-finalists. Quarter-finalists will be notified at the end of January 2023 and will need to submit a 2-minute video to be eligible for further consideration. Instructions for the 2-minute video will be provided to all quarter-finalists upon notification.
Semi-finalists will be selected in February 2023. Their scripts will be read by our industry judges (including showrunners, TV series creators and co-EPs), and they'll be invited to an exclusive virtual networking event.
Of those semi-finalists, about half will move on to the finalist stage, in which they will be interviewed by WWFC.
Of those finalists, we will select 6-8 fellows to attend a three-week program meeting on March 30 and 31; April 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14, 2023. These sessions will cover pitch feedback with “Self Made” co-showrunner Elle Johnson, development executive Jasmine Russ and speech coach Samara Bay; legal information from entertainment lawyer Anuj Gupta; a mock writers room with “Queen of the South” supervising producer Matthew J. Liebermann; and other sessions to help strengthen the pilot and pitch.
At the end of April 2023, fellows will have the opportunity to pitch their pilots to executives and producers at HBO, Netflix, Showtime, Anonymous Content, Sid Gentle, Fabel Entertainment, Yes, Norman, Element Pictures, Irish Cowboy and more (to be announced)!
Sponsored in part by SanDisk Professional and Final Draft.
The 6-8 chosen fellows will attend a free, three-week intensive training program on pitching and polishing their pilots. The fellows will then have the opportunity to pitch to major studios, production companies and producers, including HBO, Netflix, Showtime, Hulu, Warner Brothers Discovery, Anonymous Content, Sid Gentle, Fabel Entertainment, Yes, Norman, Element Pictures, Irish Cowboy, Good Fear Content, Sutton Street Productions, Blumhouse Television and more (to be announced)!
All semi-finalists will have their work read by industry insiders such as Anita Kapila (executive producer, “Strays”), Leigh Davenport (creator, “Queenie”), Tracey Deer (executive producer, “Mohawk Girls”), Felischa Marye (creator, “Bigger”), Valentina Garza (co-executive producer, “True Lies”), Chelsea Devantez (co-executive producer, “Not Dead Yet”), Nicole Mirante-Matthews (co-executive producer, “The Walking Dead”), Vivian Lee (producer, “Cowboy Bebop”), Pam Davis (co-executive producer, “On Becoming a God in Central Florida”), Shernold Edwards (co-executive producer, "Anne With an E"), Asha Michelle Wilson (co-executive producer, "The Great North), Bianca Sams (supervising producer, "Charmed"), Vanessa Ramos (creator, "Blockbuster") and Nikita T. Hamilton (executive story editor, “A Million Little Things”). Plus, they will receive access to a library of select virtual workshops from the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge virtual workshop series, and they'll be invited to a virtual networking event for semi-finalists.
You must be 18 or older to apply to the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge’s Pilot Accelerator (“Program”). You must have a completed pilot for a live-action, scripted series (“Screenplay”). No documentaries, animations, web series, or films will be accepted. All Screenplays must be in the English language. All material must be original and submitted by the owner. If your project is an adaptation, you must specify in the application whether or not you have the rights.
You must be available for all Program dates to participate in the Program if accepted into the Program as a fellow (“Fellow”). If you are unavailable for one or more Program dates, you will no longer be eligible for the Program. If you are part of a writing team, both partners must be available for the Program if accepted. We will not accept writing teams of more than two people.
All Screenplay loglines will be sent to each studio, production company and producer who is signed on to the Program to hear pitches (each, a “Judge”). Each individual who has agreed to hear pitches will choose a minimum of three pitches to hear. Fellows will not meet with every studio, production company and producer.
These rules are subject to change at any time. If there are any material changes, you will be notified through email.
SUBMISSION RELEASE WAIVER
I, the applicant submitting to Women’s Weekend Film Challenge’s Pilot Accelerator (“Recipient”) on behalf of myself, agree as follows:
Recipient agrees to indemnify, defend, protect and hold harmless Women’s Weekend Film Challenge, LLC, its parent and their respective subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, representatives and employees (collectively, “WWFC”), from and against any and all claims, demands, losses, costs, damages, judgments, liabilities, and expenses (including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys' fees and punitive damages) arising out of or in connection with Recipient’s participation in the Program, any breach or alleged breach of the warranties and promises given by Recipient herein, and any screenplays, films, plots, characters, or ideas submitted during the Program or any screenplay, film, or material developed out of those screenplays, films, plots, characters, or ideas.
Recipient acknowledges that as part of the Program and other programs WWFC holds, WWFC receives many submissions of creative materials from third parties and that it is continually developing in-house ideas, stories, and creative materials; and that many such submissions and/or developments may be similar or identical to the Screenplay and/or any material provided, evaluated and/or presented for the Program. Recipient understands and agrees that WWFC’s use of materials or properties containing similar or identical elements to Recipient’s film, Screenplay and/or any other materials presented for the Program, and evaluated by any of the Judges and/or WWFC (collectively, the “Material”) shall not obligate the Judges and/or WWFC to Recipient in any manner whatsoever. Recipient agrees that, to the extent that ideas and concepts presented in Recipient’s Screenplay include material that is in the public domain or owned by a third party, Judges and WWFC will have the same rights in such material as any member of the general public. Recipient further understands that the Judges and WWFC would refuse to evaluate Recipient’s Material in the absence of Recipient’s acceptance of each and all of the provisions of this Release. Recipient acknowledges that no fiduciary or confidential relationship now exists between WWFC or Judges, on the one hand, and Recipient, on the other hand, and Recipient further acknowledges that no such relationships are established between WWFC or Judges, on the one hand, and Recipient, on the other hand, by reason of this Release.
Recipient agrees that Recipient will not assert against any Judges and/or WWFC any claim based on plagiarism, infringement, confidential relationship, implied contract, unfair competition or for any other reason whatsoever arising out of any alleged use by a Judge and/or WWFC of the Material. If, notwithstanding anything stated herein, Recipient should hereafter claim that a Judge and/or WWFC has used Recipient’s proprietary Material, or any portion thereof, without Recipient’s consent or authorization, Recipient specifically agrees and understands that Recipient will not sufferor make any claim for damages in excess of One Thousand U.S. Dollars (US$1,000), if any, and that such damages, if any, shall be Recipient’s sole and exclusive remedy and shall be payable only in the event of a court of competent jurisdiction’s finding that a Judge and/or WWFC has wrongfully appropriated such proprietary Material from Recipient. Accordingly, Recipient irrevocably waives its right to seek and/or obtain rescission and/or equitable and/or injunctive relief in connection with any such claim(s). Recipient understands and agrees that Judges and/or WWFC are not responsible for any loss or damage to the Material.
If any provision of this Release is deemed to be invalid, it shall be considered deleted herefrom and shall not invalidate the remaining provisions. To the extent the terms of this Release conflict with the Recipient’s grant of rights to Program, the terms and conditions of this Release govern with respect to the matters set forth herein between the parties hereto.