Women sitting at two dining tables

WIF | The Black List
Writing Labs

Developing the projects and skills of promising non-professional television and film writers through workshops and master classes.

Achieving equal cultural representation within our media narratives requires a representative number of skilled storytellers. The WIF Writing Labs, held in partnership with key collaborator and industry benchmarker The Black List, are designed to equip new television and screenwriters with knowledge to build and sustain their careers. These programs—an Episodic Lab and a Feature Residency—provide participants with support in craft, professional development, and networking toward advancing their livelihoods.

The Episodic Lab selects six to eight female TV writers and runs for four weeks, with sessions including script development, pitching, a mock writers’ room, and roundtables with established writers and industry executives. The yearlong Feature Residency consists of one-on-one mentoring with established screenwriters, peer workshopping sessions, and industry advice from decision makers and executives. Additionally, throughout the year, participants attend events and screenings that further expose them to the realities of life as professional screenwriters.

Episodic Lab advisors and master class teachers have included writers from series including “Watchmen,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Parenthood,” “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” and “The Dark Tower.” Feature Residency mentors have included writers of such films as LONG SHOT, LEGALLY BLONDE, BRING IT ON, THE KITCHEN, and WADJDA.

Applications to be announced; please subscribe to our newsletter or check back on this site for updates.

The Writing Labs are generously supported by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Writing Fellows

Episodic Lab

Feature Residency

Episodic Semifinalists

Feature Semifinalists

Claire Downs

"Valtesse"

Claire Downs

"Valtesse"

Logline:
When a poor shopgirl living in Belle Epoque Paris gets a small part in an operetta, she makes the decision to become a full-time sex worker in her quest for fame, money, and total independence.

Bio:
Born and raised in downtown Chicago, Claire Downs attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she studied at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School and Classical Shakespeare Studio. Downs has written on sketch comedy teams at The Upright Citizens Brigade theatre, written viral articles for ELLE, and worked as an associate story producer and researcher on nonfiction works such as “Visible: Out On Television” (Apple TV+) and ASK DR. RUTH (Hulu). Her original scripts have been developed with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Technicolor, and Nickelodeon. She is repped by Jermaine Johnson at Zero Gravity Management.

Kryzz Gautier

"Afterlove"

Kryzz Gautier

"Afterlove"

Logline:
A sardonic med student in search of cheap rent moves into the neighborhood’s haunted house where she is forced to find a way to make peace with the crotchety ghost roommate she eventually falls in love with.

Bio:
Kryzz Gautier is a queer, Afro-Latina writer/director born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Since transitioning from undocumented to documented, she’s been a fellow in prestigious programs like Ryan Murphy’s “Half Initiative” for emerging episodic directors, Joey Soloway’s “Disruptors” for the best ten emerging television writers of color, a Sundance Institute Fiction Fellowship, NALIP’s “WOC TV Pilot Incubator,” WIF’s “INSIGHT” fellowship, and the DGA’s “Commercial Director’s Diversity Program.” Gautier has also been invited to take part in WIF’s Mentorship program where she is mentored by writer/director and “Queen Sugar” showrunner Kat Candler. She’s also been named an “Emerging Content Creator” by NALIP and recognized with Superlounge’s “Diversity Award for Directors.”

Marie Hanhnhon Nguyen

"Ooku"

Marie Hanhnhon Nguyen

"Ooku"

Logline:
Based on the graphic novel series by Fumi Yoshinaga. Set in 1600s Japan, a strange plague slowly decimates the male population. A female shogun rises to power, and the Ooku becomes a harem of men who serve her…

Bio:
Marie Hanhnhon Nguyen is a Vietnamese artist, playwright, and filmmaker. She was born in Saigon and moved to California with her family when she was six. Nguyen began her creative career as a film and television producer. She worked alongside director Yann Demange on WHITE BOY RICK and the “Lovecraft Country” pilot. Her play Ten and a Half was selected for the inaugural Sundance Institute and Center Theatre Group Playwriting Intensive in 2019 and was a winner of the 2020 Hollywood Fringe Scholarship.

Kenyetta Raelyn

"Tenth"

Kenyetta Raelyn

"Tenth"

Logline:
A black family strives to maintain their immaculate reputation and affluent lifestyle in 1920s Harlem, but long-held family secrets threaten to burst the family’s privileged bubble when the patriarch is blackmailed into running for NYC political office.

Bio:
Kenyetta Raelyn is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter and filmmaker and a 2019 alumna of Meryl Streep’s The Writers Lab NYC. In her formative years, she was plucked out of a Midwestern, working-class environment and shipped off to live in a New England boarding school to live with America’s wealthiest 1%. That inspired her interest in finance and led to a stint on Wall Street as a banking slave after graduating from Columbia University. Obsessed with the Gilded Age, early American 20th-century industrial tycoons, she writes vividly about capitalism, social mobility, the pursuit of the American dream, and their intersection with race, class, and immigration satus.

Ayser Salman

"Those Qaddam Arabs"

Ayser Salman

"Those Qaddam Arabs"

Logline:
Wafah is a normal American teenager looking forward to starting college and moving out. But it’s nearly impossible when your family is self-absorbed, demanding, co-dependent…. and ARAB. She’s the sole sane character in “Those Qaddam Arabs,” a single-camera sitcom, which puts a twist on the dysfunctional American family.

Bio:
Born in Iraq and raised in Kentucky and Saudi Arabia, Ayser Salman’s nomadic childhood may have left her constantly feeling like a fish out of water, but it also shaped her desire to be a storyteller. After a brief stint as a news producer in Kentucky, Ayser came to Los Angeles where she works as a writer/producer/editor on docu-series and original content for studios including Miramax, FX, and Netflix. Her comic memoir The Wrong End of the Table about growing up Iraqi Muslim in Kentucky was published in 2019 by Skyhorse Publishing. Salman is currently developing her memoir as a TV series.

Hunter Toro

"Edith"

Hunter Toro

"Edith"

Logline:
Set against the lavish 1920s, a famed mystery author frames her cigarette-heir husband for her murder and ends up with her own life being threatened.

Bio:
Hunter Toro is a writer and comedian of Puerto Rican descent from south Florida. She writes comedies for live action and animation, focusing on complicated female protagonists, blended families, and Latinx pride. Toro studied English literature and creative writing in college, only to realize she was not A Serious Person, and therefore probably not The Next Great American Novelist. Instead, she found herself blending her lifelong love of performing and writing to pursue a career in TV. While taking improv classes and teaching herself screenwriting, she worked as an assistant on multiple shows. She currently works at Bento Box Animation Studios.

Katy Berry

Popcorn

Katy Berry

Popcorn

Logline:
Wanting to escape her oppressive home life on Long Island and fit in with ‘the guys,’ sixteen-year-old Jemma Bauer gets her dream job at the local movie theater only to learn the true price women pay for male approval.

Bio:
Katy Berry is a New York-based comedian, writer, and musical improviser who has traveled the world performing at venues including The Kennedy Center and multiple sold-out Edinburgh Fringe Fest runs, and was recently featured in The New York Times for her improvised cabaret show, ELECTRIC BITCH. In addition to live performances, Berry’s original writing and videos have been features on Vulture, Studio360, Bustle, Reductress, the Magnet Comedy Film Festival, NYC Web Fest, Chain Film Festival, and more.

Elizabeth Chatelain

Sundogs

Elizabeth Chatelain

Sundogs

Logline:
When Alex’s father dies and her family farm slips into debilitating debt, she takes her 12-year-old daughter Jenny with her to work on the North Dakota oilfields. But after the oil industry’s decline begins and Alex loses her job, she must decide which is more important: the farm, or her fragile relationship with her daughter.

Bio:
Elizabeth Chatelain is an award-winning writer and director from North Dakota. Her feature screenplay SUNDOGS participated in the Berlinale Script Station, the Hedgebrook Screenwriter’s Lab, and was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship semifinalist, Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition winner, and Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competition winner.

Zoe Cooper

Danny Corpse Walker

Zoe Cooper

Danny Corpse Walker

Logline:
In the wake of an apocalyptic event, a Native American woman must walk 300 miles with her sister’s corpse in order to perform a proper burial on their home reservation.

Bio:
Zoe Cooper is a screenwriter with a passion for dark comedy and all things horror. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Laci Dent

The Girl

Laci Dent

The Girl

Logline:
After a 13-year-old girl begins to experience peculiar bodily symptoms, she and her mother find themselves at the center of a dark practice tied to their ancestry and the Baptist church in rural Louisiana.

Bio:
Laci Dent is a writer, filmmaker, and production designer from New Orleans, Louisiana—receiving an M.F.A. in Directing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. At UCLA, she received the Gina Prince Bythewood/Mara Brock Akil Four Sisters Screenwriting Award and founded the genre-driven production company, Nite Cloud Films.

Caroline Guo

Year of the Sheep

Caroline Guo

Year of the Sheep

Logline:
When a young Chinese woman brings her Asian-American girlfriend to meet her conservative family in the countryside over Chinese New Year, this unexpected guest forces them all to reconsider their relationships, values, and the true meaning of home.

Bio:
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Caroline Guo is a Chinese-American writer and director. A graduate of Northwestern University, Guo has published in film journals, co-written a Chinese-French feature film in development, places as a semifinalist for the Universal Writers Program, and wrote and directed the award-winning short film THE TEST in Beijing, China. Currently based in Los Angeles and working at MACRO, Guo is most interested in telling personal stories, especially of Asian and Asian-American women, to shed light on larger societal issues.

Michelle Steffes

Mad

Michelle Steffes

Mad

Logline:
When Henry, a charming, off-kilter hatter living in Victorian London, falls in love with Kitty, a brilliant, poetic noblewoman, he must find a way to win her heart and free them both from restrictive social convention while battling the effects of mercury poisoning and an increasingly consuming madness.

Bio:
Originally from North Carolina and now sheltering in place in Los Angeles, Michelle Steffes is an award-winning writer/director whose whimsical takes on reality earned her a spot in the short film and feature animation branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Steffes has worked as a development executive for Gary Ross, has participated in AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, and is a current fellow in Disney’s 2018–2020 television directing program.

Krenée Tolson

Finding Phoebe

Krenée Tolson

Finding Phoebe

Logline:
A teenage girl sets her sights on becoming a spoken word poet in the underground poetry scene in Baltimore, Maryland in 1997. Her pursuit of her dream turns into a story of survival when her sexual abuser—and mother’s boyfriend—is released from prison.

Bio:
Krenée A. Tolson is a writer/producer/actor born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, currently residing in Los Angeles. Her authentic, gut-led approach to filmmaking uses a universal approach to exposing the unheard stories of the underrepresented.

Jenna Bosco

"Liberty Lady"

Jenna Bosco

"Liberty Lady"

Logline:
Jamila Mahmoud, a tough parking enforcement officer and a lost millennial soul, haphazardly decides to plunge into the world of city politics when her community and family home are threatened by a gentrifying real estate developer with political ambitions.

Julia Campanelli

"The Paisley Witches"

Julia Campanelli

"The Paisley Witches"

Logline:
A 17th century midwife with an illicit past is accused of witchcraft when a child she delivered becomes demonically possessed, in the true, untold story of the last witch hunt in Scotland.

Kris Crenwelge

"Life Without"

Kris Crenwelge

"Life Without"

Logline:
After her mother dies of cancer, a precocious preteen struggles to define life without her while battling grief, her unconventional Choctaw grandmother, and reinventing herself to make friends at a brand new school.

Nancy Duff

"Hanksville"

Nancy Duff

"Hanksville"

Logline:
Back home after her mission to Mars, Commander Kiersten Thorton becomes the main suspect in a murder. Plagued by disturbing visions and with her family and career in jeopardy, she fears she has been infected by something sinister on the red planet.

Jennifer Moricz Goodwin

"The Bikini Guest"

Jennifer Moricz Goodwin

"The Bikini Guest"

Logline:
July 1989, Charlie’s left alone to run her family’s SUNTAN MOTEL when she gets one guest, Sheila—in town for a bikini contest. Their budding new friendship is dimmed by a fateful encounter that will bond the girls for life. And bury a secret in the back pool. And a yellow Trans Am.

Maggie Gottlieb

"Veronica Monster"

Maggie Gottlieb

"Veronica Monster"

Logline:
When a struggling artist and high-functioning addict reconnects with her enabling best friend (a furry purple puppet named Veronica Monster), she sets a collision course for rock bottom, taking her self-destructive behaviors to surreal and musical new heights.

Natasha Hall

"Iris"

Natasha Hall

"Iris"

Logline:
Loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, when two resurrected souls find each other again, this time in the Caribbean and American Black communities of Brooklyn in the ’90s, can their love survive, or will it only serve to ignite latent cultural tensions?

Ellie Hayden

"Relative Distance"

Ellie Hayden

"Relative Distance"

Logline:
When Earth’s scientists finally crack faster-than-light travel, a disparate team of experts take on the mission to recontact humanity’s long-isolated colonies—relics of a bygone age of one-way space travel.

Anna Khaja

"Infidelle"

Anna Khaja

"Infidelle"

Logline:
A comedic drama following Pakistani actress Anna Khan, who is caught between her pursuit of success in a world that treats identity as a commodity—and her own spiritual journey to authenticity.

Ashley Lackinger & Kristen Tepper

"Holy Hell"

Ashley Lackinger & Kristen Tepper

"Holy Hell"

Logline:
When two Catholic school teachers, each struggling to keep their lives afloat amid their own personal tragedies, find themselves attracted to one another, their unholy secrets start to unravel under the watchful eye of a strict Sister.

Katherine Langenfeld

"Farmland #12"

Katherine Langenfeld

"Farmland #12"

Logline:
When a fledgling rural veterinarian encounters a dead herd of cows, she fears a malicious zoonotic pathogen. She races to find the source and contain it… but when a mysterious governmental organization arrives, she begins to suspect the town is in danger from more than an epidemic.

Patricia Lundy

"Detail Woman"

Patricia Lundy

"Detail Woman"

Logline:
Set in the urban backdrop of 1970s Philadelphia, a driven woman struggling to make ends meet hustles for a job as a pharmaceutical rep for the Pill, only to begin moonlighting as a birth control dealer on the black market.

Mary Ann Marino

"Chavez Ravine"

Mary Ann Marino

"Chavez Ravine"

Logline:
On her thirteenth birthday, Esperanza (Espy) Cortez discovers that she can time-travel through hidden portals in East L.A. where her Tongva and Mexican predecessors reveal hidden secrets about her ancestors, her family, and herself. In present day, Espy confronts her family, challenges her community, and evolves from an immigrant daughter into a modern-day warrior, fighting for our future armed with wisdom from the past.

Heidi Nyburg

"Fab Girls" (formerly "Silicon Curve") and "Least Favorite Animal"

Heidi Nyburg

"Fab Girls" (formerly "Silicon Curve") and "Least Favorite Animal"

“Fab Girls” Logline:
Inspired by the writer’s mother, a single mom and her female coworkers, the little-known blue-collar backbone of ’70s Silicon Valley, punch the first cracks into tech’s glass ceiling while navigating the birth of technology, single motherhood, and the heat of the sexual revolution.

“Least Favorite Animal” Logline:
A local TV celebrity and her two best friends who serve on the board of their second-tier HOA fight to maintain their borderline affluent lifestyle and take up murder for all the right reasons. “Real Housewives” meets “Dexter.”

Amanda Parham

"Signals"

Amanda Parham

"Signals"

Logline:
When a reclusive woman with the ability to see radio waves discovers an alien signal warning us of our impending extinction, she must risk her anonymity to save humanity.

Tiffany Parker

"Plump!"

Tiffany Parker

"Plump!"

Sarah Richardson

"Taking a Turn"

Sarah Richardson

"Taking a Turn"

Logline:
Izzy, a struggling artist, must face old wounds after becoming the unlikely caretaker for her estranged, abusive mother—who is now a sweet old lady with dementia and can’t remember their painful past.

Lia Wang

"Model Minority"

Lia Wang

"Model Minority"

Logline:
To pay for his sister’s exorbitant medical bills, an aspiring Chinese-American scientist is coerced into working for his long-lost father’s drug empire in the midst of the current United States opioid epidemic.

BreeShawna Watts

"Dupree"

BreeShawna Watts

"Dupree"

Logline:
In 1959, at an elite boarding school for African American girls, four rebellious debutantes team up with a mysterious new teacher and an eccentric radio DJ to thwart the government’s secret policing and surveillance of Civil Rights workers.

Claire Winters

"The Personalizer"

Claire Winters

"The Personalizer"

Logline:
A struggling but devoted actor divides her time between therapy, auditions, and tutoring to pay the bills. Personal and professional lines blur when she decides to use her acting skills to be the best tutor a troubled rich kid can buy.

Amelie Yeager

"Confidence Woman"

Amelie Yeager

"Confidence Woman"

Logline:
In late 19th century Boston, feminist writer Gail Hamilton pieces together the life of enigmatic con artist Sarah Howe, who pulled off one of the most scandalous Ponzi schemes in history by creating a fraudulent all-female bank, stealing millions. Inspired by true events.

Shireen Alihaji

Blue Veil

Shireen Alihaji

Blue Veil

Logline:
In the wake of 9/11, a young Muslim teen, Amina, and her father Muhammad move to a small town to rebuild their American Dream in a time of heightened Islamophobia. The hopes of a new home and a life of anonymity become virtually impossible after Muhammad wins the lotto.

Carrie Anderson

On Water

Carrie Anderson

On Water

Logline:
When a group of marginalized teenagers want to learn to row and win Philadelphia’s elite interschool regatta, they must take on the oldest boathouses in America and teach their coach, who’s angry her Olympic dream was shattered by cancer, to rise above life’s injustices. Based on a true story.

Erica Bardin & Susan Graham

Peach Valley

Erica Bardin & Susan Graham

Peach Valley

Logline:
After the unexpected death of her father, a young teacher returns to her ultra-conservative hometown and finds that her mother has joined the board of a women’s health center that, in the name of genetic legacy, has implemented extreme and violent measures.

Clea DeCrane

Fainting Spells

Clea DeCrane

Fainting Spells

Logline:
After hearing about an unexpected death, an aspiring marine biologist experiences a series of fainting spells that upend her life. As they progress into hallucinations, she’s forced to deal with her grief or risk losing consciousness forever.

Suzanne Faber

All Things Falsely

Suzanne Faber

All Things Falsely

Logline:
The true story of a forgotten heroine—likely the woman who inspired Joan of Arc—who leads an army, fights in armor, and defeats the forces of France only to be locked away, falsely declared “mad” by a jealous English King, while her oppressor—a fanatic as brutal as he is pious—ends up canonized. Set against a backdrop woven of misogyny, violence, superstition, even fake news, her story is eerily resonant today.

Lauren Fields

Frat Star

Lauren Fields

Frat Star

Logline:
After Dylan, an irresponsible mess, is kicked out of her sorority partly due to her entitled, frat-bro ex-boyfriend, she winds up moving into the LGBTQ rainbow dorm since it’s the only available housing on campus. She teams up with new LGBTQ friends to go undercover and pledge her ex-boyfriend’s fraternity to take them down from the inside.

Marisa Forrest

Skyfoxes

Marisa Forrest

Skyfoxes

Logline:
TOP GUN meets OCEAN’S 8—A former Navy pilot-turned-plane thief recruits an all-female crew to steal a U.S. fighter jet for international gangsters.

Ivette Garcia Davila

The Cuban Millie Crisis

Ivette Garcia Davila

The Cuban Millie Crisis

Logline:
With her marriage on the rocks, an uptight Cuban-American plastic surgeon recruits her two estranged best friends, a conservative Southern belle and a tough-as-nails Puerto Rican, to search for her family’s long-lost treasure in Cuba, but they must shift gears when a sexy con man gets in their way.

Suzanne Griffin

The Sleeping House

Suzanne Griffin

The Sleeping House

Logline:
When eccentric artist Carl Hoffman falls madly in love with Susannah, his brother’s mysterious new wife, Carl discovers she shares a dark history with his own late wife, a survivor of the Soviet Gulag. Now, Carl and Susannah must destroy the demons of the past before they can destroy their love.

Gabriela Lugo

Pixie

Gabriela Lugo

Pixie

Logline:
A spunky Latinx teen goes on a road trip to try to find Antonio Banderas, the man she believes is her father, in order to coerce him into giving her twin sister a kidney, but along the way she discovers family is more than blood or organ donation.

Adetoro Makinde

The American Can

Adetoro Makinde

The American Can

Logline:
Based on a true story set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a disillusioned Marine veteran, John Keller, must confront his inner demons and a racial standoff to save the people trapped in his apartment building before violence erupts… or worse.

Caitlin McCarthy

Wonder Drug

Caitlin McCarthy

Wonder Drug

2019 Academy Nicholl Top 50 script/Top 10 female writer and 2018 Black List “Featured Script”

Logline:
The story of DES, a “groundbreaking” synthetic estrogen prescribed to millions of pregnant mothers, that became one of the biggest medical disasters in history.

Leslie Nipkow

Salt of the Earth

Leslie Nipkow

Salt of the Earth

Logline:
In 1953, blacklisted film director Herbert Biberman assembles a motley gang of fellow outcasts and heads to the desert where, despite an inexperienced crew, untrained actors, obstruction, mayhem, angry vigilantes, and Hedda Hopper, they manage to make the first American independent film. Based on a true story.

Selina Ringel

#LikeMe

Selina Ringel

#LikeMe

Logline:
When Ana, an insecure Latinx high schooler, gets a magical phone that allows her to body switch with the people she’s been idolizing on social media, she realizes nothing is what it seems.

G. Michelle Robinson

Plaçage

G. Michelle Robinson

Plaçage

Logline:
New Orleans, 1825: It was not uncommon for a White man to enter into an open and consensual common-law union with a free woman of color—the practice was called Plaçage. Emilie’s whole life, she’s been told this was her path because of her racial mix, but not fitting squarely in the White nor Black worlds, she’s determined to find her own path in the burgeoning new Missouri Territories.

Jamie Severson

Guilt

Jamie Severson

Guilt

Logline:
During the final days of the Second World War, an SS Officer newly assigned to a Nazi death camp struggles between duty and conscience when confronted with the realities of his choices.

Heather Spiegel

February

Heather Spiegel

February

Logline:
When her wayward sister unexpectedly moves in with them, an emotionally unavailable New Hampshire school teacher and her devoted boyfriend are forced to confront hard truths about their seemingly perfect but ultimately dysfunctional relationship.

Ivana Strajin

The Immigrants

Ivana Strajin

The Immigrants

Logline:
In 1993, an immigrant engineer driven by pride hangs by a thread as she builds a new life with her toddler in Canada, after being separated from her husband, conscripted to fight in a war back home.

Alexia Verbeke

From Rio with Love

Alexia Verbeke

From Rio with Love

Logline:
Fifteen years after her sister’s rape and death, a resourceful young woman seeks vengeance upon the man responsible, who’s inches away from being appointed Director of the FBI.

Gillian Weeks

Let There Be Life

Gillian Weeks

Let There Be Life

Logline:
Bob Edwards, a brilliant underdog from Yorkshire, England, sets out to create the world’s first “test tube baby” in 1978, defying the moral and medical establishment and leading to the birth of in vitro fertilization—and 8 million people (so far).

Stephanie Westendorf

Tupac is Alive on Discovery Island

Stephanie Westendorf

Tupac is Alive on Discovery Island

Logline:
A Native American girl caught in a custody battle goes on a trip with her foster siblings to find her idol, Tupac, but ends up stranded in a mysterious abandoned theme park.

Krystal White

Black Mozart

Krystal White

Black Mozart

Logline:
The true story of a blind slave with gifts that would awe thousands, but who would never be free.