Seeking New and Unique Voices
Universal Pictures’ Emerging Writers Fellowship
The Emerging Writers Fellowship is an exciting program at Universal Pictures that is designed to identify and cultivate new and unique voices with a passion for storytelling. We are looking for talented screenwriters who have the potential to thrive, but don’t have access to or visibility within the industry.
Emerging writers who are chosen to participate in the program will work exclusively with the studio over the course of a year to hone their skills. During this program, fellows will be given the opportunity to work on current Universal projects as well as pitch original story ideas. In addition to working on writing assignments, the fellows will receive industry exposure by:
- Participating in filmmaking workshops and studio seminars
- Receiving mentoring from established filmmakers
- Networking with top literary agents and managers
- Meeting with production development executives
- Attending screenings and premieres
Fellows admitted into the program will be hired under a writing service agreement and must be committed to working full-time for one year. Additionally, Universal Pictures has the option to extend a fellows’ contract for a second year.
- U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with unrestricted authorization to accept employment
- Age 18 years or older
- No attachment to 3rd party projects
- Candidates may not have any attachment to third-party projects that are currently in development.
- Must be the sole owner of any material submitted, which must be wholly original
- E.g., adaptations, biopics and screenplays based on underlying materials are ineligible.
- No prior professional produced credits
- This program is not intended for candidates who received Producer, Director, Assistant Director, Co-producer, Associate Producer, 2nd Unit Director, Director of Photography, Writer or Source Material credits on any feature film commercially released theatrically or television show that has been aired within the U.S.
Any candidates who do not meet the aforementioned criteria will be disqualified.
The Path to Fellowship
Interested applicants should submit an original screenplay as well as additional application materials (listed below) in order to be considered. All semi-finalists will then be asked to submit a second screenplay and complete a phone interview with members of the admission committee. Ten finalists will be selected and interviewed in Los Angeles. Up to five fellows will be chosen to participate in the program.
How to Apply
The 2015-2016 application period is now closed.
- Original Feature Length Script
- Applicants must submit only one original feature length screenplay through the online process. Applicants who submit more than one original screenplay will be disqualified. Submissions must meet the following requirements:
- Genre – Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Action, Adventure, Thriller or Sci-Fi (other genres are ineligible).
- Length of screenplay – Must be between 85 – 125 pages.
- The applicant must be sole owner of any original material submitted.
- Screenplay submission must adhere to industry standards (i.e. font, spacing, format).
- Scripts must not have previously been sold, optioned or otherwise exploited.
- Scripts must have been registered at the WGA prior to submission (date to be determined upon opening of application cycle) and applicants will be required to acknowledge that any written materials submitted is the sole work of the applicant.
- Candidates who advance to the semi-final round will be required to submit a second script within a specified period.
- Emerging Writers Fellowship Application
- The 2015-2016 application period is now closed.
- Legal Release Form
- Applicants must complete and sign a release form in order for their submitted scripts to be considered.
- The form can be accessed here.
- Professional Resume
- 1 - 2 pages in length.
- Two Letters of Recommendation from Industry Professionals
- Each letter must be no longer than two pages.
- Each letter must be dated, signed and on the industry professional’s letterhead.
- Each letter should address the following:
- Comment on the context of your interaction with the applicant and your relationship to the applicant.
- Explain why you feel this candidate will be a good fit for the Universal Pictures Emerging Writers Fellowship and his/her potential to become a successful screenwriter.
- Statement of Purpose
- Applicants must answer the following essay questions:
- How will you contribute a diverse voice that is unique to the screenwriting industry? (300 words maximum)
- Why are you interested in this program and what do you expect to gain from it? (300 words maximum)
The 2015-2016 application period is now closed. For exciting program updates throughout the year, follow us on Twitter (@UniEWF) and Facebook (Universal Pictures' Emerging Writers Fellowship).
Please review our Frequently Asked Questions document before submitting an application.
If you have additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not submit applications to this email.
Please note that participation in the Emerging Writers Fellowship does not guarantee Writers Guild of America membership.