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.

For questions, please contact the WIF Programs Team at programs@wif.org.

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

WIF thanks the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for their support of the Writing Labs.

Program Details

2021 Episodic Lab

The Black List and WIF will invite six to eight promising non-professional television writers who are of underrepresented genders (women, NB/GNC, and/or trans, and others) to the Lab. The Lab will kick off the first week of October 2021, running twice weekly for four weeks, and will consist of script development, peer workshopping sessions, and master classes with established writers and industry executives. Lab participants will have their final pilots read by agencies and networks. Past advisors and master class teachers include Monica Beletsky (“Parenthood”), Carly Wray (“Watchmen”), Sono Patel (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Glen Mazzara (“The Dark Tower”), Erika L. Johnson (“The Good Lord Bird”), Kira Snyder (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), and many others.

Through WIF, applicants can submit up to three scripts. Each script must be submitted through its own application, so fees and/or waivers are applicable per script.

2021 Feature Residency

The Black List and WIF invite six promising non-professional screenwriters who are of underrepresented genders (women, NB/GNC, and/or trans, and others) to participate in a one-year residency in 2021. Throughout the Residency, writers work on one feature screenplay in peer workshops and one-on-one sessions with screenwriting mentors. Then, throughout the following 12 months, writers are supported through arranged meetings with representation, production companies, and fellow writers to elevate their projects and career trajectories. Check out the 2020 reflection here. Sessions are approximately monthly, with slightly increased frequency in the first quarter of the Residency. Writers are also invited to exclusive Black List and WIF events through the end of May 2022.

Writing Fellows

Feature Residency

Episodic Lab

Feature Semifinalists

Episodic Semifinalists

Myra Aquino

LAMB

Myra Aquino

LAMB

Logline:
Set in the island of Guam in 1996, a young CHamoru boy tries to save his grandfather from dying of a broken heart.

Bio:
Myra Aquino is a Los Angeles-based writer-director who grew up in Guam and the Philippines, and graduated with an MFA in Directing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. She is passionate about writing stories that explore the impacts of multiculturalism and globalization on Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander, and other underrepresented communities.

Liann Kaye

ELECTABLE

Liann Kaye

ELECTABLE

Logline:
When Quinn Chin becomes the mastermind behind her crush’s high school presidential campaign, she stumbles upon someone much better for the job—Herself.

Bio:
Liann Kaye is a Chinese American writer/director. She is a grant recipient of The NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music, and Theatre, a 2020 Athena Lab winner, and a Top 9 Semi-Finalist for SeriesFest’s Women Directing Mentorship in partnership with Shondaland. Her short film THE BLESSING won “Best Comedy” at the New York Short Film Festival and is now becoming an episodic series.

Diana Ly

MISEKAKERU

Diana Ly

MISEKAKERU

Logline:
A Japanese rental wife, along with her best friend, searches for true connection after her long-time fake husband “breaks up” with her.

Bio:
A Vietnamese-American screenwriter and playwright born in Oklahoma and raised in the Philippines, Ly has been a Project Involve Fellow at Film Independent and is currently a member of The Sống Collective’s Inaugural Việt Writers Lab. Coming into her creativity after a career in tech, she writes stories about dysfunctional families, immigrants, nerds, and women who defy stereotypes.

Emily-Anne Mikos

MISS DICKPUNCHER

Emily-Anne Mikos

MISS DICKPUNCHER

Logline:
After a failed attempt to lose her virginity, a sixteen-year-old girl is sent to an all-girls etiquette camp where she solicits the help of her delinquent CIT to lose her V-Card before the summer of ’84 ends.

Bio:
Emily-Anne Mikos is an MFA Screenwriting student at the University of Texas and a self-proclaimed cool Canadian. As the queer feminist daughter of a strip club owner, Mikos writes funny, female-driven young adult narratives that challenge the perceived norm and characters that seek to find understanding in friendship and community.

Huriyyah Muhammad

GOD HELP THE GAYES

Huriyyah Muhammad

GOD HELP THE GAYES

Logline:
As the world awaits a new ruling from the Supreme Court that could effectively overturn gay marriage, a lesbian celebrity couple, Pam and Rosa Gaye, are thrust into the spotlight and hands of a publicity-seeking marriage guru, when Rosa insists she wants a divorce.

Bio:
Huriyyah Muhammad is an award-winning writer, director, and producer whose projects have been invited to the Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Institute, AFI Fest, Austin Film Festival, New Voices in Black Cinema, and many others. She is a recipient of the 2020 Sundance Creative Producing Award for the critically acclaimed film FAREWELL AMOR, and her directing credits include the cult favorite sci-fi series “Keloid,” which screened extensively throughout the U.S. and won Best Web Series at multiple film festivals including the American Black Film Festival. Her award-winning children’s short OUTGROWN continues to screen at festivals and has won awards including Best Short Film.

Yael Schick

BLESSING

Yael Schick

BLESSING

Logline:
When her religious girl band breaks up, a young Jewish woman starts drumming for a decidedly un-Orthodox rock group. But nothing in Bracha’s sheltered upbringing prepared her for the rock and roll life, and she must find her own rhythm between these two worlds that march to very different drums.

Bio:
Yael Schick is a writer and educator from New York City. An alumna of Yeshiva University, she serves as the Director of Programs at the national literacy nonprofit Writopia Lab, and is currently a Saul Zaentz fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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.

Isabelle Barbier

GUTS

Isabelle Barbier

GUTS

Logline:
A timid young woman battling an anxiety disorder confronts her sexually traumatic past when she joins a local all-girl punk band.

Tracee Comfort

MASTER RACE

Tracee Comfort

MASTER RACE

Logline:
A black science prodigy is recruited by the government to help create the atomic bomb while falling in love and surviving racism in America during World War II.

Chloe Simone Crawford

COLORED ACTRESS

Chloe Simone Crawford

COLORED ACTRESS

Logline:
In 1940s Hollywood an ambitious Black woman paints herself as white in order to be win the Best Actress Oscar.

Lauren Ferebee

BRILLIANCE

Lauren Ferebee

BRILLIANCE

Logline:
After losing her husband, oceanographer Sophie Carrigan returns home to see her estranged mother Marie, and the two women grapple toward understanding grief through their shared love of science.

Natalie Harris

PURE

Natalie Harris

PURE

Logline:
For 17-year-old queer Celeste, senior year in her affluent Black community means following family tradition and becoming a debutante… but she longs for a different kind of coming out.

Cate Honzi

THE LAST FALL

Cate Honzi

THE LAST FALL

Logline:
In the wake of society’s collapse, a determined but bitter woman must protect her precocious niece and isolated farmhouse from suspicious newcomers, mysterious fires, and violent bandits as the impending winter threatens to bury them all.

Summera Howell

BIG, STRONG, AND BRAVE

Summera Howell

BIG, STRONG, AND BRAVE

Logline:
Told in three parts spanning five decades, BIG, STRONG, AND BRAVE traces the consequences of Seri’s childhood rape over her lifetime.

Christina YR Jun

GYOPO

Christina YR Jun

GYOPO

Logline:
When an 11-year-old aspiring violinist, her troubled brother, and their single mother emigrate from Seoul to escape their toxic father, they must navigate the disillusions of the American dream or lose the very thing they came to save: their family.

Melissa Kong

WONDERFUL WORLD

Melissa Kong

WONDERFUL WORLD

Logline:
It’s the 1960s and four first-generation, Chinese-American women form a band to escape their limited and mundane lives, but find themselves at a crossroads of what they want in life.

Tricia Lee

GOOD CHANCE

Tricia Lee

GOOD CHANCE

Logline:
This comedic drama is about a feisty transgender teen who saves a church-going, undocumented Asian woman escape deportation, and they form an unlikely friendship that helps them heal the rifts in their own mother daughter relationships.

Lela London

BUMMIT

Lela London

BUMMIT

Logline:
With one week to hitchhike from the UK to Croatia, four young women learn more about themselves—and they places they end up—than anyone could imagine.

Ariel Mahler

FLOCK

Ariel Mahler

FLOCK

Logline:
A woebegone trans couple visits a therapy retreat in Maine where they become enmeshed in a cult led by an ideologue with a sinister past.

Caitlin McCarthy

RESISTANCE

Caitlin McCarthy

RESISTANCE

Logline:
The Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and the horrors of Auschwitz are seen through the eyes of one girl, forced to grow up quickly as she moves from the school yard to the concentration camp, working for the Resistance along the way.

Melanie McCoy

SILENT BIRD

Melanie McCoy

SILENT BIRD

Logline:
When her deeply religious husband dies, a grieving woman seeks solace in the wilderness; but finds herself tormented by the memories of his abuse.

Jhanvi Motla

DIVYA

Jhanvi Motla

DIVYA

Logline:
Set against the backdrop of communal tensions among Hindus and Muslims, we follow Divya, an ambitious Indian woman, whose desire to uplift her family from poverty is forced to reconcile with the social, political, and economic realities of being born female into lower-middle-class Indian society.

Leslie Nipkow

SALT OF THE EARTH

Leslie Nipkow

SALT OF THE EARTH

Logline:
In 1953, blacklisted director Herbert Biberman leads a band of Hollywood “undesirables” into the desert to make a socially relevant movie in the face of dangerous opposition by white supremacists, vigilantes, Red-baiters, Hedda Hopper, and their own racial blindspots. Based on a true story.

Maria Ponce

HELLA AQUA NET

Maria Ponce

HELLA AQUA NET

Logline:
A free-spirited misfit dreams of being a beautician, yet struggles with deceiving her father, who expects her to take over their family’s hundred-year-old Mexican bakery tradition.

Rebecca Robinson

SEX, GOD & MUSIC: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DOLLY PARTON

Rebecca Robinson

SEX, GOD & MUSIC: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DOLLY PARTON

Logline:
SEX, GOD & MUSIC: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DOLLY PARTON celebrates Dolly Parton’s trinity of passions, from her dirt-poor childhood to the heights of fame, delving behind the boobs to expose the heart of the groundbreaking and enigmatic artist/philanthropist/entrepreneur.

Andrea George Turner

THE RULE OF THIRDS

Andrea George Turner

THE RULE OF THIRDS

Logline:
A homeless teenager blames herself for a devastating accident that injures her 9-year-old brother, forcing her to move into a group home and return to school, where she learns about love and friendship through the lens of a camera.

Brittany Worthington

GOLDEN STATE

Brittany Worthington

GOLDEN STATE

Logline:
An adolescent girl struggles to come to terms with the deterioration of her mentally-ill mother during a road trip to Los Angeles, in hopes of finding her supposed birth father: Tom Cruise.

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:

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.