HBO Launches Writing Fellowship for Diverse, Emerging Writers

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Attention, aspiring screenwriters and television writers! HBO has announced the launch of the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship, which is seeking emerging writers from diverse backgrounds. Applications for the program will be accepted starting March 4.

Participants will be given the opportunity to attend a week of master classes held at the HBO campus in Santa Monica, Calif. that will focus on character and story development, pitching ideas and projects, securing an agent and networking. Each writer will then enter into an eight-month writing phase where he/she will be paired with an HBO development executive and be mentored through the scrip development process. At the end the of the program, HBO will hold a staged reading for industry professionals and a reception, where the writers will be introduced to the entertainment industry.

“We are looking for emerging writers with a deep passion for storytelling and a unique voice who will want to bring that talent to HBO and Cinemax,” said Kelly Edwards, vice president of HBO’s talent department. “In turn, they will be nurtured by some of the best creative executives and showrunners in the business.  HBO has a long legacy of supporting writers and we are excited we can begin those relationships at this early stage.”

The HBOAccess Writing Fellowship is open to diverse writers 21 and older. All applicants must be able to work in the U.S. and must not have been staffed on a network or cable series in excess of 13 episodes and/or had more than one feature film or two plays produced prior to submitting their application.

Here are the submission details:

All submissions must be made through the online portal, Without A Box, and will require a resume, a writing sample (half-hour or hour-long TV script, play or screenplay) a completed release form and a personal essay in 500 words or less explaining how his/her background has influenced his/her storytelling.  For more information on eligibility, visit the program’s Without A Box page.

Timeline and Important Dates:

March 4, 2015 – Application process opens at The application portal will close when 1,000 submissions have been reached. No mail or email submissions will be accepted.

May, 2015 – 20 candidates advance to first round interviews with HBOAccess™ program directors via in person or Skype.

June 2015 – Final interviews with HBO development and production executives. All applicants selected to the final round must provide a second writing sample. They must also be prepared to pitch up to three ideas, one of which will be developed during the eight month long mentorship.

July 1, 2015 – Eight participants are notified.

August 17-21, 2015 – Master classes will take place over a one week period at the HBO offices in Santa Monica, CA from 10am to 5pm. Any finalist not local to the Los Angeles area must be prepared to cover his/her own travel and lodging for the duration of the program, however a small stipend will be available to defray those costs.

The writing fellowship comes one year after the launch of HBOAccess Directing Fellowship, which selected four directors to create short films that are set to air this March on HBO On Demand and HBO Go.


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