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HBOAccess Writing Fellowship accepting applications for Diverse, Emerging Writers and Women – competition limited to 1st 1,000 applications

HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers and Women for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship


HBO’s launch of the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship will begin accepting applications on March 4, 2015 and will close at 1,000 applications submitted.

The program will give emerging writers from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to attend one week of master classes held at the HBO campus in Santa Monica, California focusing on character and story development, pitching ideas and projects, securing an agent, and networking.

Each selected participant (8 total) will enter into an 8-month writing phase where he/she will be paired with an HBO development executive and guided through the script development process, either in person or virtually.

At the conclusion of the program, HBO hosts a reception and staged reading for industry professionals where the writers receive a formal introduction to the entertainment industry.

Here is the HBO description of the application and program:

Writing Fellowship


The HBOAccess Writing Fellowship is designed to give emerging, diverse writers the opportunity to develop a half-hour or hour script suitable for HBO or Cinemax.

The program will select up to 8 diverse writers to take part in a series of master classes held over one week in mid-August at the HBO campus in Santa Monica. Classes will consist of discussions with HBO executives and showrunners and will focus on character, story, pitching, securing an agent, and networking.

Each participant will then be paired with an HBO or Cinemax development executive who will serve as his/her mentor throughout next 8 months. Mentoring can be done remotely or in person pending whichever is logistically feasible. In addition, we will hold monthly group meetings during which projects will continue to be work-shopped. At the end of the 8 months, HBO will hold a reception for industry professionals where the writers will be introduced to the entertainment community.

The Writing Fellowship is the second program launched under the HBOAccess umbrella. Following the HBOAccess Directing Program which began in 2014 and allowed 4 emerging directors to shoot short films which will air On Demand and on HBOGo,the Writing Fellowship will offer similar support to up to 8 diverse writers interested in building a career in series television. Writers will develop original pilots and be considered for series staffing opportunities.

What is the submission process?

Submission portal on Withoutabox opens at 9am PST/12pm ET on Wednesday, March 4th.

Candidates are required to supply the following:
• Withoutabox Application
• Resume or Bio
• Original Material – ½ hour comedy pilot or 1 hour drama pilot, play, or feature film screenplay
• Answer to the personal statement prompt
• Agree to terms and conditions

Who is eligible to apply?
Any diverse writer, 21 or over, who meets the application requirements.

What is the definition of diversity?
For the purposes of the HBOACCESS program, diversity is defined as those who identify as any of the following: Asian Pacific, Sub-Continent Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American, Middle Eastern, and/or women.

Are there any guidelines on who can apply?
Yes, applicants may have previously served as staff writer for up to 13 episodes. They should not have more than 1 feature film released by a studio, independently or shown in major film festivals. Or had 2 plays produced on or off Broadway. Ideally, applicants should be interested in staffing on Cinemax or HBO series.

What kind of material should I submit?
Submissions must be original 1/2 hour comedy pilot or 1 hour drama pilot, one act play or full length play, feature film screenplay. No short stories, novels, graphic novels, or blogs will be accepted.

What is the personal statement prompt?
How has your background influenced the stories you want to tell?

Can writing teams apply?
Yes, teams can apply, however no more than 2 people can constitute a team. Teams should cut and paste both resumes into the resume section and should answer the prompt as a team.

What if only one of the team qualifies?
If any part of the team qualifies under the above guidelines, then the team is considered eligible to apply.

When does the application process open?
March 4, 2015 at 9am PST/ 12pm ET.

When will it close?
When we have reached 1,000 submissions.

Can I still apply if I am represented by an agent or manager?
Yes, you are still eligible to apply.

Are there any costs to the candidates?
No, it is free of charge.

Is the program open only to those interested in television?
This program is for those who would like to work in hour and half hour series television.

Who are the mentors?
Each participant will be paired with a creative executive from HBO Entertainment, HBO Films, or Cinemax.

When will interviews be held?
May-June 2015.

Will I have to submit a second sample?
Yes, but only if you are chosen to advance to final round interviews.

Will I have to pitch an idea?
Anyone chosen to advance to final round interviews will be asked to come prepared to pitch the idea which will be developed during the 8 month mentorship. Concepts can be for either a ½ hour comedy for HBO or 1 hour drama suitable for HBO or Cinemax.

Can I pitch more than 1 idea?
Yes, you may pitch up to 3 ideas.

What days/times will the Master Classes take place?
The classes will take place August 17-21 at the HBO offices in Santa Monica from 10am to 5pm.

Will HBO pay for travel and lodging for the one week course?
HBO will provide a small stipend to those selected. However, all participants in the program will be responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.

Do I have to be in LA for the 8 month mentoring process?
No, mentoring can be done remotely via phone, email, or Skype. How you connect with your mentor is up to the two of you.

Must I be a U.S. citizen in order to apply?
No, however you must have a right-to-work permit prior to applying to the program. This is not eligible for VISA sponsorship.

Can HBO employees apply?
Those who work for HBO directly are ineligible for the program.



All submissions must be made through the online portal, Without A Box, and will require a resume, a writing sample, 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

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(TM) 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.


March 4, 2015 - Posted by | ART, BUSINESS, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, FILM, opportunity, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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