You might have heard me speak on the latest Black Girl Nerds podcast about the horrific Sleepy Hollow ending (which resulted in the much controversial death of Abbie Mills). I said in the podcast that the entire trajectory of Sleepy Hollow and its fan interaction is a masterclass in what not to do when creating a show, and that future showrunners, writers, directors, and even actors can learn from it. That leads me into another point, a point I forgot to say in the podcast, but have said in my Sleepy Hollow takedown article, so let me quote myself right here:
…[M]y anger has spurred me to write my own pilot. Do I know when my idea will become a show? Nope. But anger can be a great motivator, and I hope that other POC writers who are mad beyond belief will use their anger to create their own projects. It’s clear that diversity doesn’t start from the top down; it starts from the bottom up. We’ve got to be disruptions if we want the top brass to hear what we’ve got to say. Remember how wrongly Abbie, Tara, Lexa, Lincoln and countless others have been treated on these shows, and get to creating.
You might be reading this thinking, “YES, I AM ONE OF THOSE ANGRY VIEWERS! But where can I get my big break!? I don’t know anyone in the business or where the opportunities are, and I can’t just drop my stuff and move to California in the hopes of making it big!” I get you. I can’t move to California right now either. But what you can do is take a look at some of these workshops. If you’re already at the point where you’ve got a polished script collecting dust and want an in, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) TV Writers Program and the Women in Film (WIF) Black List Episodic Lab might be for you.
NHMC TV Writers Program
Submission deadline: August 7
Program dates: October 3-November 4
The NHMC TV Writers Program is, as the NHMC websites states, “an intensive scriptwriters workshop that prepares Latinos for writing jobs at major television networks.” The program is modeled after the Hispanic Film Project and “is a direct response to the lack of diverse writers in primetime network TV.” For those writers who finish the program and want to take their craft even further, NHMC also has the Latino Scene Showcase.
Some important stats about the NHMC TV Writers Program:
Since its inception 12 years ago:
120 writers have completed the NHMC TV Writers Program
28 writing careers have been launched
25% of NHMC Writers have been staffed on shows at the following networks: ABC/Disney, NBC, CBS, FOX, Nickelodeon, CW, BET, LATV, VH1 and NUVOtv.
Some of the shows graduates of the program write for include East Los High, Devious Maids, Elena de Avalor, Rosewood, Superstore, Hot and Bothered, NCIS, The Catch and Jane the Virgin.
Women in Film Black List Episodic Lab
Evaluations deadline: May 1
Submission deadline: May 15 (WIF members), June 1 (Black List members)
Program dates: August 2016 (specific dates not listed as of this post)
If you’re into film and/or screenwriting, then you already know how influential the Black List is. If you get your script listed on the Black List, then that means you’re considered the cream of the crop of upcoming screenwriters and, more than likely, you’ll get tapped to write a script for major studio. However, the Black List wants to do more than just showcase awesome scripts; it also wants to help bring new voices, voices who are often marginalized, into the fold.
The WIF Black List Episodic Lab will bring in eight writers who identify as women to Los Angeles to take an eight-week course in script development and script workshopping. The eight weeks will also include master classes with industry execs and veteran writers in the biz. Best of all, participants in the lab will have their final pilots read by networks and agencies.
More opportunities will be listed at JUST ADD COLOR when I see them online, so keep coming back to find the right opportunity for you!