Women Write Now
PROGRAM TERMS AND GUIDELINES
WOMEN WRITE NOW FELLOWSHIP OVERVIEW
Women Write Now is a partnership between LOL Studios and the Sundance Institute designed to champion and elevate the voices of historically underrepresented Black female comedy writers through a fellowship that provides: mentorship, advocacy, production, and exhibition. This immersive script-to-screen fellowship will support four (4) talented writers—selected by a panel of award-winning filmmakers, industry leaders, LOL Studios executives, and partners from the Sundance Institute—in developing short comedic scripts while being advised and mentored by some of the most influential Black women in comedy.
The resulting scripts will be produced by LOL Studios and directed by a celebrity Black female director. The four (4) short films, which will be staffed above and below-the-line by traditionally underrepresented talent, will premiere at a special screening during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and will be distributed across Laugh Out Loud Network. Travel to the 2022 Sundance Film Festival will be provided.
Following the fellowship, the four (4) selected writers will also receive a twelve (12) month first look deal with Laugh Out Loud to submit original projects for consideration for production and distribution with LOL Studios and Laugh Out Loud Network. The first look deal will be subject to execution of a separate agreement with terms provided or approved by LOL Studios.
ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP
Over the course of two weeks in September, the selected writers will develop their short comedic scripts, receiving feedback and guidance from some of the biggest names working in comedy and entertainment. During the Fellowship, the selected writers will attend workshops on how to thrive in the business, pitch, get to the greenlight, market themselves and their work, create an artful punchline, and more! Selected writers will also participate one-on-one creative development meetings and receive screenplay feedback in order to get their short film screenplays production ready. All aspects of the fellowship program and the specific activities and benefits to be provided to the selected writers will be determined by LOL Studios in its discretion and are subject to change.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Following the writing and development process of their short comedic scripts, the selected writers will participate in the pre-production, production, and post-production process of their short films as creative producers. Each selected writer will participate in a set visit, virtually or in-person, to be determined by Laugh Out Loud. The selected writers will also be given the opportunity to consult on the edit of their short film. Laugh Out Loud will maintain final cut approval on the short films. In connection with the production of the short films, each selected writer will be required to sign a submission release that, among other things, includes a grant of rights to LOL Studios with respect to the writer’s script.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN WOMEN WRITE NOW?
All details of the program will be determined by LOL Studios in its sole discretion and are expected to include the following:
Participation in the Fellowship with individualized mentorship and creative and professional development opportunities
A stipend for the duration of the Fellowship which shall include:
US$5,000 upon acceptance into the Fellowship
US$5,000 upon delivery of final approved script
Writing and Creative Producing credit in the writer’s respective short film
Virtual or in-person set visit (to be determined by Laugh Out Loud) and a four-night trip to the 2022 Sundance Film Festival including flight, per diem, accommodations for writers only, and festival tickets. Such travel (if any) in connection with in-person set visits and Sundance shall be capped at US$5,000 in the aggregate.
A First Look Deal with Laugh Out Loud
SUBMISSION OVERVIEW AND ELIGIBILITY
Applicants must fill out the online application and submit a short screenplay between 5-10 pages (page count does not include the title page). When produced, the short films will be under 10 minutes in length.
Women Write Now is looking for applicants who meet the following criteria:
Identify as Black or African American
Identify as female
Be 18 years or older at the time of application
Be an emerging non-union writer
Be based in the United States and legally authorized to work in the United States
Applicants will be evaluated on the strength of the submitted material, which will include a statement of interest and an original short comedic screenplay.
Approximately ten (10) finalists will be interviewed by Laugh Out Loud staff, with final decisions made by the panel of award-winning filmmakers, industry leaders, LOL Studios executives, and partners from the Sundance Institute. Four (4) finalists will be selected to take part in the Fellowship. All applicants will receive notification of their application status via e-mail by approximately September 17, 2021.
July 8, 2021: Application Available Online
August 5, 2021: Application Closes (11:59 PM PDT)
September 17, 2021: Final selection & notifications
September 20-October 1, 2021: Women Write Now Fellowship Lab (a detailed schedule will be provided upon acceptance)
October 2021: Production / Principal Photography
November 2021: Post-Production
January 20-30, 2022: Sundance Film Festival Premiere
Application materials are to be submitted electronically unless the applicant does not have sufficient access or resources to do so. If an applicant needs an accommodation for submitting materials in an alternative format, they should contact Jennifer Kushner, firstname.lastname@example.org prior to July 30, 2021 to determine an alternative means for submission.
Applicants will have a chance to save a work-in-progress version of the application before officially submitting.
Submissions must be made directly by the credited writer/applicant themselves through the online application. Any screenplays submitted by any other method or by a representative (agent, manager, lawyer, publicist, etc.) will not be considered.
Applicant must sign in or create an account to access the electronic application. When creating this account, please enter the name of the primary applicant (screenwriter) as the account owner. The Women Write Now program is not currently accepting collaborations or writing team applications. Submissions of screenplays written by a team (or more than one writer) may be automatically disqualified at LOL Studios sole discretion.
Each applicant must retain a copy of the applicant’s submission. LOL Studios is not responsible for, and each applicant specifically releases LOL Studios from, any claims or liability relating to any loss or damage to the applicant’s submission. LOL Studios reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify and/or not accept any submission that LOL Studios determines does not or is likely not to comply with these guidelines, to make such changes to any submission as are necessary to make it compliant, or to require the applicant to do so.
SUBMISSION MATERIALS (due on or before August 5, 2021 at 11:59 PM PDT):
ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONS—a series of questions about the applicant that will determine their eligibility for Women Write Now
TERMS AND CONDITIONS—applicants must agree to and electronically sign the terms and conditions upon entry
CONTACT INFO for the applicant
BIO (250 words max) for the applicant
STATEMENT OF INTEREST (500 words max) introducing the applicant and the project. We would like to get an idea of who you are. Please tell us a bit about your journey as a black female comedy writer; what your script is about and why you want to tell this story; and what specific goals you would like to achieve through the Women Write Now Fellowship.
LOGLINE (75 words max)—a one to two-sentence description of the story.
SYNOPSIS (350 words max)—brief summary of the plot of the script. Please include all major characters and story points, including the ending.
SHORT FILM SCREENPLAY (under 10 pages)—Applicants are to submit one (1) screenplay for an original comedic short film. Screenplays must meet the following criteria:
Screenplay Length - no shorter than five (5) pages and no longer than ten (10) pages. This does not include the title page.
Limited to one (1) main location (INT or EXT); and no more than five (5) speaking roles
Written in English
Screenplay may not be written by more than one (1) writer.
Include a title page displaying only title of screenplay and name of credited writer (not included in the 10-page limit)
Be original; all rights must be wholly original with and owned by the writer
Be submitted electronically as a pdf file and must meet all standard screenplay format guidelines
Submissions will be evaluated with the following criteria:
Story - The screenplay must effectively convey a rich, compelling, and comedic short-form story.
Characters - The story must introduce interesting, nuanced, and authentic characters that are grounded within the world the writer has crafted.
Originality - The characters, structure, and ideas must feel unique with a sense of boldness and risk.
Comedy - Above all else… MAKE US LAUGH!
Applicant is at an appropriate stage in their career to benefit from this fellowship.
Applicant has expressed compelling reasons why they wish to participate in the Fellowship and has articulated their career goals.
Each applicant agrees to abide by all decisions of LOL Studios and the judges, which are final and binding in all respects.
NOTIFICATION AND VERIFICATION
The selected writers will be notified on or about September 17, 2021. Participation in the Fellowship and receipt of any other benefits is subject to verification of eligibility. Failure by any applicant to respond to any notification within the time period specified by LOL Studios may result in disqualification, in which case Laugh Out Loud will have the right to select an alternate to participate in the Fellowship.
All applicants will be notified about their status via email on approximately September 17, 2021.
Due to the anticipated high volume of submissions, we are unfortunately unable to provide feedback about individual projects.
If you have questions, please visit the FAQ.
If you have further questions, please email email@example.com.
LOL Studios reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who violates these guidelines, tampers with the application process and/or acts in any way that would, in any way, discredit or harm the reputation of LOL Studios, and/or to cancel, modify, or suspend this program should fraud or misconduct or other causes beyond the control of LOL Studios corrupt the administration, integrity, security, or proper operation of the program. LOL Studios is not responsible for lost, late, illegible, incomplete, damaged, mutilated, misdirected, or delayed submissions, or for technical or human errors or failures of any kind in connection with the transmission, processing, or judging of submissions, including, without limitation, any malfunction or failure of computer hardware, computer software, networks or telephone equipment or any technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or any combination thereof. Any attempt to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the program is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, LOL Studios reserves the right to seek damages to the fullest extent of the law. LOL Studios is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the administration of the program or in the announcement of any selected writer. Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, LOL Studios reserves the right, in its sole discretion, at any time to terminate, modify, or suspend the program for any reason, in LOL Studios’s sole discretion.