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

Episodic Lab

Feature Residency

Episodic Semifinalists

Feature Semifinalists

Lydia Caradine

"Polite Society"

Lydia Caradine

"Polite Society"

Logline:
An ambitious, wealthy young woman balances being young, gifted, and black at the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance with the unfortunate realities of racism, colorism, and gender inequality in the early twentieth century. Collette is going to roar, ’20s or no ’20s.

Bio:
Lydia Caradine is a writer and actress from Cleveland, OH. She has a background in development and was previously staffed in a comedy mini-room. She writes TV and features: dramedy, historical drama, comedy, and adult animation. Caradine has a B.S. in Mass Communications, is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., performed with Monkey Butler Improv, and studied at Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre. Her obsession with corsets and alternate historical POVs inspired the creation of “Polite Society,” which placed in the 2021 ScreenCraft Pilot Competition. She’s repped by Sydney Blanke/Colleen Washington at Fourth Wall Management.

Christan Leonard & Mads Gauger

"That Woman"

Christan Leonard & Mads Gauger

"That Woman"

Logline:
Ten years after an affair with a married congressman ruined her life, Zoe Bauter decides to get back at him the only way she knows how, by running against him for office.

Bio:
Christan Leonard and Mads Gauger are bleeding-heart liberals and recovering stand up comedians from Seattle, WA. They met six years ago at a hate-free comedy show and started writing together four years later (which is about average for how long it takes to make friends in the PNW). Together they write socially relevant, queer-centered comedies inspired by their nonprofit backgrounds and northwest roots. They are the first writing team to take both first and second at Austin Film Festival Pitch Competition and are thrilled to be bringing their brand of screwball comedy to the Black List x WIF Episodic Lab.

Marisa Hardwicke

"Founders"

Marisa Hardwicke

"Founders"

Logline:
After a top VC firm announces they’ve set aside money to fully fund one lucky female-founded tech venture, two ex-Stanford roommates and former business partners find themselves once again at odds as they compete to get their projects fully funded.

Bio:
Marisa Hardwicke was born and raised in the heart of Silicon Valley, where she spent her after-school hours doodling on whiteboards at her parents’ startup and summers with her family in Mexico. Wrestling between the two cultures, Hardwicke expressed herself in writing, crafting realtionship-driven dramas and grounded science fiction. She attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she earned a BFA in Dramatic Writing. In 2019 her script ¿SEGURO? was a quarterfinalist for the Nicholl Fellowship. In 2020, Hardwicke was a finalist for Universal Studios’ Writing Program. She is repped by Greg Shephard and Nadya Panfilov at Writ Large.

Alex Rubin

"Lost Hope Hotel"

Alex Rubin

"Lost Hope Hotel"

Logline:
The most haunted hotel in the world is in Lost Hope, Pennsylvania, plagued with spirits since Crazy Lainey died there ten years ago. But the secret Katie, manager of the hotel and daughter of the legendary Lainey, has kept for a decade is… it’s all fake.

Bio:
Alex Rubin writes about broken families trying to put themselves back together. She was a resident of SPACE on Ryder Farm and the National Winter Playwrights Retreat, a Big Vision Empty Wallet Playwriting Fellow and Annenberg Fellow, and the winner of The Writers Digest Award in Playwriting. Her work has placed in the Austin Film Festival, Final Draft Big Break Competition, ScreenCraft Competition, and more. Rubin has written for iHeartRadio’s “Solve” and “The Jackie Cox Variety Show” on PEG. She holds an MFA from University of Southern California’s John Wells Division of Writing for Film and Television.

Nalini Sharma

"Rowdy"

Nalini Sharma

"Rowdy"

Logline:
A successful Indian American diplomat returns home to Atlanta only to discover her uber-dysfunctional family in ruins, forcing her to stay and fix their lives while possibly getting a life of her own…all before she has to freeze her eggs and shit.

Bio:
Nalini Sharma spent her childhood on naval bases in India, grew up in small towns across the U.S., and is currently in Los Angeles. She is a writer and performer across all mediums. She was selected for the legendary Steve Martin’s comedy writing Masterclass and as a performer for the CBS comedy showcase in 2018. She co-wrote “A Funny Thing Happened On Our Way To India,” a hit sketch show with sold-out runs at the Second City Theater. Her short film GARBAGE was an official selection at HBO’s Women in Comedy Festival 2019. Her dark comedy pilot, “Crooked,” was a semifinalist at the 2019 Screencraft Writing Fellowship Award.

Hannah Stoddard & Jenny Ulmer

"Dark Horse"

Hannah Stoddard & Jenny Ulmer

"Dark Horse"

Logline:
Life in the ’80s goes from glam to gore when a washed-up circus star accidentally kills the ringmaster. Packing up her family—and the corpse—she flees to her estranged mother’s lavish estate, only to discover that when it comes to disposing of bodies, mother knows best.

Bio:
Hannah Stoddard & Jenny Ulmer are an L.A.-based writing duo defined by their female-led dark comedies and unshakable love of Judy Greer. Stoddard hails from Las Vegas and possesses a knack for magical period pieces. Ulmer grew up in South Dakota and has a flair for the dark and twisted. Together, they form a unique partnership with an appetite for transgressive women, impassioned second winds, and reliably unpredictable plots. Their genre-blending scrips have become finalists at Austin Film Festival, the AFF Pitch Competition, and the Josephson Entertainment Fellowship. (Also, Judy, if you’re reading this, please call us.)

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.

Mithra Alavi

"Rules for Being a Mutt"

Mithra Alavi

"Rules for Being a Mutt"

Logline:
It’s 2002. When Iranian Muslim American, Batol, suffers bullying from her high school classmates during the holy month of Ramadan, she starts to wonder if she will ever fit in in her small Southern town.

Rae Binstock

"Bailey's"

Rae Binstock

"Bailey's"

Logline:
A retired female world champion and former child star reluctantly join forces to save their beloved boxing gym from closing, only to discover that their alliance has possibilities—and risks—beyond anything they expected.

Adi Blotman

"Looking Down"

Adi Blotman

"Looking Down"

Logline:
From beyond the grave, a well-meaning yet controlling mother tries to fix her broken family, which she now realizes she knew little about.

Lauren Ciaravalli

"S.L.U.T."

Lauren Ciaravalli

"S.L.U.T."

Logline:
When Lia, a smart yet sheltered virgin, takes a stand after being slut-shamed, she finds herself the unlikely leader of fed-up popular girls, rebels, and outsiders alike.

Winter Coleman

"Maybe It's Me"

Winter Coleman

"Maybe It's Me"

Logline:
A quick-witted young film student living in New York City is torn between her studies and her personal life after discovering she’s being cheated on at her boyfriend’s surprise party.

Rachel Hoiles Farrell

"Okefenokee"

Rachel Hoiles Farrell

"Okefenokee"

Logline:
In this darkly funny drama set in the swamplands of Georgia, a pregnant park ranger teams up with her petty criminal brother to navigate the bizarre aftermath of her husband’s disappearance following his involvement in an environmental scandal.

Ari Friedman

"Camp Machane"

Ari Friedman

"Camp Machane"

Logline:
In 2002, a born and bred New York City tween is sent to Jewish sleepaway camp in California to get over her 9/11 trauma and learn how to be a kid again.

W.G. Holley

"The Fab"

W.G. Holley

"The Fab"

Logline:
Matt Peterson, an earnest tech engineer involved in a novel mind-altering program to combine man and machine at the chip fab where he works, realizes all is not what it seems and tries to escape to find out what happened to his life and those he left behind after he entered the program.

Meg Mateo Ilasco

"Tigers"

Meg Mateo Ilasco

"Tigers"

Logline:
Prop stylist Cat Chau seeks support from her best friends as she navigates a painful divorce from her newly-out husband Archie–unaware that her friends are wrestling with problems of their own.

Anastasia Illinger

"No Man's Land"

Anastasia Illinger

"No Man's Land"

Logline:
When five strangers on the run find themselves stuck in a small desert town, they must confront the wyrd and forgotten things of the American South West before the past catches up with them.

Lacey Jeka

"The Dead Girl"

Lacey Jeka

"The Dead Girl"

Logline:
Feeling under-appreciated by her friends, family, and boyfriend, a woman fakes her own death to teach them all a lesson—only to find them relieved she’s gone. Dead to the world, she plots to disguise and reintroduce herself as a new woman in town.

Alison Moore

"Show Code"

Alison Moore

"Show Code"

Logline:
A cynical ICU nurse has a morbid method of caring for her patients, but when she is forced to train the idealistic new girl, her dark secret is uncovered, threatening both of their futures.

Alexis Rooney Perkins

"The Mclean Ladies' Foundation for Modern Literary Appreciation"

Alexis Rooney Perkins

"The Mclean Ladies' Foundation for Modern Literary Appreciation"

Logline:
In 1955, a group of housewives in a conservative suburb of Washington D.C. accidentally acquire superpowers.

Jacquelyn Revere

"Alz Val"

Jacquelyn Revere

"Alz Val"

Logline:
Alz Val is a fictional gated community created to care for loved ones declining from Alzheimers. We follow the caregivers of this community as they tackle hilarious moments, grieve, make difficult decisions and lean on each other while this disease slowly takes their loved ones away.

Dana Rosendorff

"Trippin'"

Dana Rosendorff

"Trippin'"

Logline:
When a young schizophrenic con-woman in Las Vegas accidentally causes a near-fatal ambulance crash, she finds herself on the run from cops and family with only her brash hallucinated best friend by her side.

Bree-Shawna Watts

"Dupree"

Bree-Shawna Watts

"Dupree"

Logline:
1960; At an elite boarding school for African-American girls, four
rebellious teenagers team up with their mysterious new teacher and
an eccentric Radio DJ to stop the FBI from destroying Civil Rights
groups and leaders.

Nic Yulo

"Night Witches"

Nic Yulo

"Night Witches"

Logline:
When Germany betrays their Russian armistice and all men are fighting at the front, a group of teenage female fighter pilots must defend their home against invading Nazi forces.

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.