Frequently Asked Questions – US

The Application

How do I apply?

Applications for the 2021 Writers Lab are CLOSED.

  • Click on the APPLICATION FORM.
  • You will be re-routed to the Coverfly website.  Click on the green SUBMIT box.
  • Choose one of the options for our contest and add it to your cart.
  • Coverfly is hosting this contest. You will need to open up a free account with Coverfly, however we believe you will have the option to restrict any contact from Coverfly to correspondence from The Writers Lab.
  • Registering your script:
    Each script should be registered for copyright. If it is not yet registered, with either The Writers Guild or the U.S. Copyright Office, registration is quick and easy. Registration will protect you and The Lab staff and volunteers. (The Writers Guild of America, East, has offered the discounted price of $17 to Lab applicants who are not members of the Guild. Click HERE to register through the WGA. Choose the Student and NYWIFT/The Writers Lab option.)

If you are entering from outside the U.S., please register your script with your local Writers Guild or U.S. copyright office.

After you register you will receive a confirmation from Coverfly that you have successfully entered The Writers Lab contest.

Applications for the 2021 Writers Lab are OPEN.

APPLY

  • Click on the APPLICATION FORM.
  • You will be re-routed to the Coverfly website.  Click on the green SUBMIT box.
  • Choose one of the options for our contest and add it to your cart.
  • Coverfly is hosting this contest. You will need to open up a free account with Coverfly, however we believe you will have the option to restrict any contact from Coverfly to correspondence from The Writers Lab.
  • Registering your script:
    We recommend that writers register their script with the WGA. The Writers Guild of America, East, has offered the discounted price of $17 to Lab applicants who are not members of the Guild. Click HERE to register through the WGA. You may also choose to register your script with your country’s copyright office. Click here for US Copyright.

If you are entering from outside the U.S., please register your script with your local Writers Guild or U.S. copyright office.

After you register you will receive a confirmation from Coverfly that you have successfully entered The Writers Lab contest.

What are the fees and deadlines?

Early Registration – Deadline March 1

  • $40 – Entry Fee
    • $25 – For Members of NYWIFT, other WIF chapters, WGA, and Film Fatales.
  • $120 – Entry Fee + WeScreenplay Notes
    • $105 – For Members of NYWIFT, other WIF chapters, WGA, and Film Fatales.

Regular Registration – Deadline March 30

  • $60 – Entry Fee
    • $40 – For Members of NYWIFT, other WIF chapters, WGA, and Film Fatales.
  • $140 – Entry Fee + WeScreenplay Notes
    • $120 – For Members of NYWIFT, other WIF chapters, WGA, and Film Fatales.

What information will I need for the application?

  • Basic contact and biographical information (name, email address, contact phone number, mailing address, birth date)
  • Script log line and genre.
  • Full-length narrative feature script, in PDF format, preferably no more than 130 pages long (at 130+ there is a per-page surcharge) and/or pilots (preferably no more than 44 pages (half-hour) or 75 pages (hour-long)).
    1. Upload your script as a PDF through the online application when prompted. Each PDF must be labeled with the project name only. DO NOT include the name of the screenwriter(s) ANYWHERE on the PDF.
    2. If each of your scripts is not yet registered with The Writers Guild or the US Copyright Office registration for US citizens is quick and easy. Registration will protect you and The Lab staff and volunteers. (The Writers Guild of America, East, has offered the discounted price of $17 to Lab applicants who are not members of the Guild. Click HERE to register through the WGA. Choose the Student and NYWIFT/The Writers Lab option.)
    3. If you are not a US citizen, please register your script with your local Writers Guild or equivalent.

Why must I register my script?

We ask that you register your script to prevent infringement, and that will protect your work, as well as The Writers Lab staff and volunteers.  It is a standard industry practice to register any professional script with The Writers Guild in your home area (U.S. citizens use WGA East or West) or with your country’s equivalent Writers’s Guild, and with the U.S. Copyright Office.

The WGA East has generously offered a discount to The Writers Lab applicants. See FAQ #3, above.

How many scripts can I apply with?

Writers may submit up to three (3) scripts. Each script requires a separate completed application and a separate nonrefundable application fee paid by credit card.

Can writing partners apply?

Yes. Both writers must be women over 40 and only one writer from a project may attend the Lab Retreat. Please designate one writer as the primary contact/potential attendee, and list her first in the writing credits on the application.

How do I provide Proof of Membership?

WIF members must supply their chapter name for verification.  WGA members must submit their WGA number for verification.

What if I can’t pay by credit card?

You may pay by check. However, first please contact us to discuss the process, at contact@thewriterslab.nyc

What if I can’t afford the application fee?

You will need to provide proof of public assistance or SSI with your application. You may email the proof to contact@thewriterslab.nyc with “Proof of Need” in the subject line.

What’s the absolute final deadline? Is it possible to get an extension?

The Early deadline is March 1, 2021, 11:59pm est. The Final deadline is March 30, 2021, 11:59pm est.

Once I apply, is it possible to submit an updated draft?

Coverfly offers the option to upload a revised draft of your script after you have submitted your application with the original draft. Please be advised that our evaluation process is underway and ongoing, and your initial submission might have already been read and processed by our evaluation team.

If you are considering submitting a revision, keep in ming that our reading process is exhaustive, our jurors are very experienced and thoughtful, and a strong, carefully crafted script will stand out – even a script that needs work.

Can I deliver my application in person?

If you are NOT able to submit an application electronically, please send an email to contact@thewriterslab.nyc.

What is the fee that the writer must pay to attend the Lab Retreat?

Applicants pay for the application feescript registration, and travel to and from New York City. The Writers Lab organization covers travel to the retreat venue from New York City, food and accommodations.

Why do I have to pay an application fee?

We use the application fees to pay our independent readers, who read hundreds of scripts through multiple rounds. The contributions of our primary donors cover only the retreat

Should I have my industry contacts call with references?

Our final decision is based on the material alone. Your work will speak for itself.

How will I be notified about acceptance?

All Lab notifications will be made via email. You will hear from us either way, whether accepted or not, on or before August 1, 2021.

Will I be notified if I’m not accepted?

All Lab notifications will be made via email. You will hear from us either way, whether accepted or not, on or before August 1, 2021.

I haven’t received my notification yet, but all my friends have. What’s wrong?

Notifications may be made on a rolling basis. Final decisions will be made by August 1, 2021.

What is The Writers Lab US Privacy and Data Use Policy?

The Writers Lab US Privacy and Data Use Policy

Last updated: March 12, 2021

This Privacy Policy describes Our policies and procedures on the collection, use and disclosure of Your information when You use the Service and tells You about Your privacy rights and how the law protects You.

We use Your Personal data to provide and improve the Service. By using the Service, You agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this Privacy Policy. This Privacy Policy has been created with the help of the Privacy Policy Generator.

 

Interpretation and Definitions

Interpretation

The words of which the initial letter is capitalized have meanings defined under the following conditions. The following definitions shall have the same meaning regardless of whether they appear in singular or in plural.

Definitions

For the purposes of this Privacy Policy:

  • Account means a unique account created for You to access our Service or parts of our Service.
  • Company (referred to as either “the Company”, “We”, “Us” or “Our” in this Agreement) refers to The Writers Lab, 6 East 39th Street #1200 New York, NY 10016.
  • Cookies are small files that are placed on Your computer, mobile device or any other device by a website, containing the details of Your browsing history on that website among its many uses.
  • Country refers to: New York, United States
  • Device means any device that can access the Service such as a computer, a cellphone or a digital tablet.
  • Personal Data is any information that relates to an identified or identifiable individual.
  • Service refers to the Website.
  • Service Provider means any natural or legal person who processes the data on behalf of the Company. It refers to third-party companies or individuals employed by the Company to facilitate the Service, to provide the Service on behalf of the Company, to perform services related to the Service or to assist the Company in analyzing how the Service is used.
  • Third-party Social Media Service refers to any website or any social network website through which a User can log in or create an account to use the Service.
  • Usage Data refers to data collected automatically, either generated by the use of the Service or from the Service infrastructure itself (for example, the duration of a page visit).
  • Website refers to The Writers Lab, accessible from http://thewriterslab.nyc
  • You means the individual accessing or using the Service, or the company, or other legal entity on behalf of which such individual is accessing or using the Service, as applicable.

 

Collecting and Using Your Personal Data

Types of Data Collected

Personal Data

While using Our Service, We may ask You to provide Us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify You. Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:

  • Email address
  • First name and last name
  • Phone number
  • Usage Data

Usage Data

Usage Data is collected automatically when using the Service.

Usage Data may include information such as Your Device’s Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that You visit, the time and date of Your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

When You access the Service by or through a mobile device, We may collect certain information automatically, including, but not limited to, the type of mobile device You use, Your mobile device unique ID, the IP address of Your mobile device, Your mobile operating system, the type of mobile Internet browser You use, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

We may also collect information that Your browser sends whenever You visit our Service or when You access the Service by or through a mobile device.

Information from Third-Party Social Media Services

The Company allows You to create an account and log in to use the Service through the following Third-party Social Media Services:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

If You decide to register through or otherwise grant us access to a Third-Party Social Media Service, We may collect Personal data that is already associated with Your Third-Party Social Media Service’s account, such as Your name, Your email address, Your activities or Your contact list associated with that account.

You may also have the option of sharing additional information with the Company through Your Third-Party Social Media Service’s account. If You choose to provide such information and Personal Data, during registration or otherwise, You are giving the Company permission to use, share, and store it in a manner consistent with this Privacy Policy.

Tracking Technologies and Cookies

We use Cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on Our Service and store certain information. Tracking technologies used are beacons, tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze Our Service. The technologies We use may include:

  • Cookies or Browser Cookies. A cookie is a small file placed on Your Device. You can instruct Your browser to refuse all Cookies or to indicate when a Cookie is being sent. However, if You do not accept Cookies, You may not be able to use some parts of our Service. Unless you have adjusted Your browser setting so that it will refuse Cookies, our Service may use Cookies.
  • Flash Cookies. Certain features of our Service may use local stored objects (or Flash Cookies) to collect and store information about Your preferences or Your activity on our Service. Flash Cookies are not managed by the same browser settings as those used for Browser Cookies. For more information on how You can delete Flash Cookies, please read “Where can I change the settings for disabling, or deleting local shared objects?” available at https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/disable-local-shared-objects-flash.html#main_Where_can_I_change_the_settings_for_disabling__or_deleting_local_shared_objects_
  • Web Beacons. Certain sections of our Service and our emails may contain small electronic files known as web beacons (also referred to as clear gifs, pixel tags, and single-pixel gifs) that permit the Company, for example, to count users who have visited those pages or opened an email and for other related website statistics (for example, recording the popularity of a certain section and verifying system and server integrity).

Cookies can be “Persistent” or “Session” Cookies. Persistent Cookies remain on Your personal computer or mobile device when You go offline, while Session Cookies are deleted as soon as You close Your web browser. Learn more about cookies: Cookies: What Do They Do?.

We use both Session and Persistent Cookies for the purposes set out below:

  • Necessary / Essential Cookies

Type: Session Cookies

Administered by: Us

Purpose: These Cookies are essential to provide You with services available through the Website and to enable You to use some of its features. They help to authenticate users and prevent fraudulent use of user accounts. Without these Cookies, the services that You have asked for cannot be provided, and We only use these Cookies to provide You with those services.

  • Cookies Policy / Notice Acceptance Cookies

Type: Persistent Cookies

Administered by: Us

Purpose: These Cookies identify if users have accepted the use of cookies on the Website.

  • Functionality Cookies

Type: Persistent Cookies

Administered by: Us

Purpose: These Cookies allow us to remember choices You make when You use the Website, such as remembering your login details or language preference. The purpose of these Cookies is to provide You with a more personal experience and to avoid You having to re-enter your preferences every time You use the Website.

For more information about the cookies we use and your choices regarding cookies, please visit our Cookies Policy or the Cookies section of our Privacy Policy.

 

Use of Your Personal Data

The Company may use Personal Data for the following purposes:

  • To provide and maintain our Service, including to monitor the usage of our Service.
  • To manage our relationship with You: to manage Your registration as a an interested party of the Service. The Personal Data You provide can give You access to different functionalities and resources.
  • For the performance of a contract: the development, compliance and undertaking of the purchase contract for the products, items or services You have purchased or of any other contract with Us through the Service.
  • To contact You: To contact You by email, telephone calls, SMS, or other equivalent forms of electronic communication, such as a mobile application’s push notifications regarding updates or informative communications related to the functionalities, products or contracted services, including the security updates, when necessary or reasonable for their implementation.
  • To provide You with news, special offers and general information about other goods, services and events which we offer that are similar to those that you have already purchased or enquired about unless You have opted not to receive such information.
  • To manage Your requests: To attend and manage Your requests to Us.
  • For business transfers: We may use Your information to evaluate or conduct a merger, divestiture, restructuring, reorganization, dissolution, or other sale or transfer of some or all of Our assets, whether as a going concern or as part of bankruptcy, liquidation, or similar proceeding, in which Personal Data held by Us about our Service users is among the assets transferred.
  • For other purposes: We may use Your information for other purposes, such as data analysis, identifying usage trends, determining the effectiveness of our promotional campaigns and to evaluate and improve our Service, products, services, marketing and your experience.

We may share Your personal information in the following situations:

  • With Service Providers: We may share Your personal information with Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Service, to contact You.
  • For business transfers: We may share or transfer Your personal information in connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of Company assets, financing, or acquisition of all or a portion of Our business to another company.
  • With Affiliates: We may share Your information with Our affiliates, in which case we will require those affiliates to honor this Privacy Policy. Affiliates include Our parent company and any other subsidiaries, joint venture partners or other companies that We control or that are under common control with Us.
  • With business partners: We may share Your information with Our business partners to offer You certain products, services or promotions.
  • With other users: when You share personal information or otherwise interact in the public areas with other users, such information may be viewed by all users and may be publicly distributed outside. If You interact with other users or register through a Third-Party Social Media Service, Your contacts on the Third-Party Social Media Service may see Your name, profile, pictures and description of Your activity. Similarly, other users will be able to view descriptions of Your activity, communicate with You and view Your profile.
  • With Your consent: We may disclose Your personal information for any other purpose with Your consent.

 

Retention of Your Personal Data

The Company will retain Your Personal Data only for as long as is necessary for the purposes set out in this Privacy Policy. We will retain and use Your Personal Data to the extent necessary to comply with our legal obligations (for example, if we are required to retain your data to comply with applicable laws), resolve disputes, and enforce our legal agreements and policies.

The Company will also retain Usage Data for internal analysis purposes. Usage Data is generally retained for a shorter period of time, except when this data is used to strengthen the security or to improve the functionality of Our Service, or We are legally obligated to retain this data for longer time periods.

 

Transfer of Your Personal Data

Your information, including Personal Data, is processed at the Company’s operating offices and in any other places where the parties involved in the processing are located. It means that this information may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of Your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from Your jurisdiction.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by Your submission of such information represents Your agreement to that transfer.

The Company will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that Your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of Your Personal Data will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of Your data and other personal information.

Disclosure of Your Personal Data

Business Transactions

If the Company is involved in a merger, acquisition or asset sale, Your Personal Data may be transferred. We will provide notice before Your Personal Data is transferred and becomes subject to a different Privacy Policy.

Law enforcement

Under certain circumstances, the Company may be required to disclose Your Personal Data if required to do so by law or in response to valid requests by public authorities (e.g. a court or a government agency).

Other legal requirements

The Company may disclose Your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

  • Comply with a legal obligation
  • Protect and defend the rights or property of the Company
  • Prevent or investigate possible wrongdoing in connection with the Service
  • Protect the personal safety of Users of the Service or the public
  • Protect against legal liability

Security of Your Personal Data

The security of Your Personal Data is important to Us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While We strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect Your Personal Data, We cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Children’s Privacy

Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 13. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 13. If You are a parent or guardian and You are aware that Your child has provided Us with Personal Data, please contact Us. If We become aware that We have collected Personal Data from anyone under the age of 13 without verification of parental consent, We take steps to remove that information from Our servers.

If We need to rely on consent as a legal basis for processing Your information and Your country requires consent from a parent, We may require Your parent’s consent before We collect and use that information.

Links to Other Websites

Our Service may contain links to other websites that are not operated by Us. If You click on a third party link, You will be directed to that third party’s site. We strongly advise You to review the Privacy Policy of every site You visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.

Changes to this Privacy Policy

We may update Our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify You of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let You know via email and/or a prominent notice on Our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “Last updated” date at the top of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, You can contact us:

Privacy Policy for The Writers Lab.

Eligibility

Am I eligible to apply?

You are eligible if you are a woman-identifying writer (cis, trans, binary) over the age of 40 with a completed narrative feature or pilot.

Why do you ask for my birth date?

The Lab supports women-identifying writers over the age of 40. Your birth date must be on or before October 1, 1981.

I am an American living abroad. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Keep in mind that we do not cover transportation to New York City or the return to your home country.

I am not a U.S. Citizen. May I apply?

Yes, we are open to international applicants. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to apply, but must have the appropriate passport or visa. And your narrative feature script or pilot must be in English. Keep in mind that we do not cover transportation to New York City. You will be expected to be in New York by the day before the Lab begins.

I live in a British Commonwealth country. Which Lab should I apply to?

The Writers Lab US is open to ALL international applicants.

(You must have the appropriate passport or visa if you are selected to travel to the Lab. And your narrative feature script or pilot must be in English. Keep in mind that we do not cover transportation to New York City. You will be expected to be in New York by the day before the Lab begins.)

The Writers Lab UK & I is open to women-identifying writers over 40 based in England, Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Do you need to see proof of birth date, passport or visa in the application?

No, you do not need to submit these documents with your application. However, accepted applicants will need to have these documents in order to sign the Lab Contract.

I don't have much experience. Does that affect my chances at the Lab?

Absolutely not. The Lab seeks to foster exciting emerging voices, regardless of professional film experience. However, The Lab does NOT teach screenwriting basics. Submissions must exhibit knowledge of screenwriting technique and style.

The Lab Retreat

What are the Lab dates?

The 2021 Writers Lab is scheduled for October 9-12, 2021.  (Dates subject to change.)

Will I have to get myself there, or will you provide transportation?

We provide transportation between New York City and the retreat itself. You are expected to provide your own transportation to and from New York City. You may also choose to meet us at the retreat.

What kind of grants / support / production will the Lab offer?

The Lab does not offer grants, nor are we a producing lab. The Writers Lab is a screenplay development lab. However, the retreat offers writers access to and interaction with film industry professionals as well as a growing peer group of driven and talented writers.

If my script is good enough to be accepted, why do I need to develop it further?

Any script that is accepted to our screenwriting lab requires further development. In addition to writing support and industry guidance, the Lab offers a unique, supportive community to tap into.

Does the Lab offer any followup to the writers after the retreat?

Schedules permitting, The Writers Lab attempts one event for the 12 fellows each year. Traditionally, the event has an audience of accomplished film industry members, including producers, directors, managers, and agents.

The Script

Is there a correct length for a script?

While there is no correct length, features are between 90 and 120 pages. Half-hour pilots are 22-44 pages and hour-long pilots are 45-75 pages (depending on genre and other factors).

What if my script is not in PDF format?

You will have to convert it. All film industry professionals expect scripts in PDF format, so this is a good opportunity to format your script to industry standards.

Will you consider scripts written in a language other than English?

No. Although your script may include other languages, the predominant language must be English. Providing some translation to passages in other languages can help, but we don’t recommend translating every non-English line, as doubling up can slow the pace – and is often unnecessary.

Can I reapply with the same script as last year?

Please do resubmit a substantially revised version that has addressed the following.
  • Are all characters clearly and respectfully introduced and established, and fully realized with a clear need and an arch?
  • Is every line of dialogue necessary, either revealing character or moving the plot along?
  • Are the descriptions well written, specific and succinct?
  • Will this story speak to a wide audience?
  • Is this story right for this lab: Does it tell a story from a POV not generally seen, or for an under-served audience?
  • Does the script follow standard formatting protocols? Has it been carefully proofread so that readers will not struggle with typos, long paragraphs, or confusing scenes?

Can I submit a script based on a book, or an adaptation?

Yes, we will consider scripts based on prior works, as long as you have secured the underlying rights to the material. We ask for proof, in the form of a contact, email, or letter, when your script has reached the Finalist level in the selection process. You may email the proof to contact@thewriterslab.nyc at that time.

How complete should the script be?

While the Lab will consider scripts at various stages of development:

  • Scripts must be either feature-length polished drafts, in the 90-to-120 page range, OR polished pilots that are 22-44 pages (half-hour) or 45-75 pages (hour-long). You are free to use a software of your choice, as long as the script is converted to a PDF before submission.
  • We will not consider screenplay fragments, treatments, synopses, book excerpts, or stage plays.
  • Each script should show a strong understanding of screenwriting technique and style.

Will my ideas be protected?

We will make all reasonable and customary efforts to protect your ideas. Please see FAQ #4 under THE APPLICATION.

Do you accept scripts that have been submitted elsewhere?

Yes, we have no restrictions on material that has been through other workshops or programs.

Top Reasons Your Script Was Not Selected

Typos, spelling and/or formatting errors

Proofread, proofread, proofread. It matters.

Poor or confusing world building

World needs to be clearly, economically, and cinematically established (especially in genre scripts).

Poor or confusing story setup

Choose a main story and set it up clearly for your audience. Many scripts take on too much and lose their way.

Weak protagonist arc (often because the stakes are low)

Clearly establish your protagonist’s need and obstacles, and make sure you see it through, so your audience cares.

Script is overwritten

Most film stories can be told in well under 120 pages. Every line or sentence should add to the story, not repeat or distract, so cut what you can to keep your story moving.

Excessive dialogue

Ask yourself: Is that line essential? Is it stating subtext or exposition that can be SHOWN? Does it successfully build conflict? Does it reveal character through wit and/or texture?  

Ineffective description

Have you written too little? (Set your scenes! Introduce your characters! Include important visual details!) OR, do you have way too much? (Don’t describe characters’ feelings, camera shots, or back story.) And, break up blocks of description into easily digestible bites.

Concept overdone or lacks relevance

Old or new, your story must stand out, with new insights into universal themes or compelling characters or perspectives. At the same time, know your cliches and tropes, and when to use or lose. 

Uncinematic storytelling

Make sure your story unfolds visually and aurally (but use music references with care – because referencing unlicensed songs can reveal lack of screenwriting savvy: suggest only –  “She sings something like …”)

Too few OR clichéd female characters

TWL doesn’t require a female protagonist, but we definitely notice scripts that can pass the Bechdel test, and wince when female characters are introduced solely as “gorgeous/hot/pretty/curvy/will kill for a man.”

If you have any other questions or problems, email contact@thewriterslab.nyc