Open Jan 29–Feb 26 2024
A national program for Indigenous screenwriters aspiring to write episodic television in the realm of futurism, science-fiction, and speculative fiction.
The Pacific Screenwriting Program is proud to be partnering with Paramount+ and the Indigenous Screen Office to present the 2024 Indigenous Screenwriters Lab. This new program focuses on the development of original TV pilots written in the realm of futurism, science-fiction, and speculative fiction. Through an in-person story-room process in Vancouver and a remote, mentored writing phase, the PSP will support six early to mid-career Indigenous screenwriters from across Canada to develop and refine their own one-hour pilot scripts.
The goal of the program is to provide an immersive professional development experience that focuses on developing the skills and relationships needed to be hired in the writing room of a genre TV series.
All participants will receive a stipend during the Vancouver phase. For participants outside the Lower Mainland, travel and accommodation expenses during the Vancouver phase are also covered as part of the program.
The program has three phases:
- During the in-person Story Room Phase, the participants will develop their pilots together, accessing each other’s expertise and understanding
- In the Writing Phase, paired with their individual writing mentor, the participants will outline, draft and revise their
- To wrap up, the participants will attend an Industry Event as a cohort.
Aug 12–29, 2024 full-time in Vancouver
Under the guidance of experienced Indigenous screenwriter, Jordan Wheeler, the participants will each have an opportunity to harness the collective wisdom and insights of the group as they develop their individual pilots in a writers room format.
Writing & Script Mentorship
Sept 2–Nov 22, 2024 part-time, flexible and remote
During the process of outlining, writing and revising their pilot scripts, each participant will be paired with a genre-specific writing mentor.
By launching the cohort of writers at an existing Industry Event, the participants’ profiles will be raised and their newly gained expertise highlighted. The details of this phase are still to be finalized.
This program is aimed at early-career screenwriters or those who are still finding their feet in the genre. To be eligible, applicants must:
- Meet the description of Indigenous identity as articulated by the Indigenous Screen Office
- Be an early to mid-career writer (completion of a screenwriting program or demonstrated experience writing professionally for tv or film)
- Be 19 years or older
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Be a Canadian resident for tax purposes
This program is offered at no charge to the six selected participants. Each participant will be paid a stipend of $2,500 during the full-time program in Vancouver. In addition, for all participants outside the Lower Mainland, round-trip travel costs to Vancouver will be covered, as will accommodation. Travel and accommodation for the industry event is also included.
Applications will be accepted between January 29 and February 26 2024 via our online submission portal. The deadline for submissions is 8pm Pacific, Monday February 26, 2024.
All complete applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of industry professionals, including representation from or selected by the Indigenous Screen Office.
Applicants who are not chosen to advance to the interview stage will be notified by email. Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide feedback on unsuccessful applications.
Shortlisted applicants will be contacted to confirm their video call interview date and time. After all interviews have been conducted, the final six participants will be selected.
The following documents will form your application. Please save each document as a separate PDF file with your name in the title (eg. “K Smith Resume.pdf”)
- Log line (50 words max.) and brief synopsis (200 words max.) of an as-yet-unwritten pilot episode in the identified genre (this is the project you are proposing working on during the program).
- Writing sample (60 pages max.) of a half-hour or one-hour television episodic script in any genre (not co-written)
- Your résumé, including your writing credits
- Letter of intent that includes:
• The way(s) in which you hope that participating in the program will help the development of your career and craft
• An example of a show or an episode in this genre that stands out to you and a description of why it is special or important
- An articulation of your relation and connection to your Indigenous identity
• Please tell us how you identify as Indigenous, for example, what nation or community you come from, and who your family is. What is your lived experience and relationship to your Indigenous nation/s, community, culture/s? How does this context inform your work as an Indigenous storyteller?
- A signed copy of our Release Form
- A letter of reference from an industry professional is optional
Some answers to the most frequent questions we get. Do you have an additional question? Feel free to reach out to us as well.
▸ What stage should my pilot concept be at when I apply? How about when I start the program?
For the application, you just need to provide a log line and brief synopsis of an as-yet-unwritten pilot episode. By the time the program starts, you will need to have developed a rough frame and beat sheet for your pilot episode.
▸ What level of screenwriting experience do I need to have?
This program is for writers who are serious about a career in writing for television. At a minimum, you will need to have some writing experience, either through post-secondary training, or work experience, and a strong working knowledge of television structure demonstrated in your sample script. This is not a program designed to teach writing for television. Rather, it assumes an existing understanding of television formatting and structure.
Writers who have a professional writing credit on a WGC signatory show can also apply but you should not already be working professionally on shows in this genre.
▸ I have a concept that I want to co-write with someone, can we apply together?
We are not accepting teams to the program. Please apply with a project that you want to write on your own.
▸ I missed the online Info Session, is a recording available?
Yes, you can access the recording here.
▸ Do I have to come to Vancouver for the Story Room phase?
Yes; an important part of the experience and learning is the presence together in-person. Your travel to Vancouver will be covered as will your accommodation if you live outside the Lower Mainland. You will also receive a stipend of $2,500 during that period to off-set any other costs you have or any lost income.
▸ What will the hours be in Vancouver?
The schedule will be finalized nearer the time, but you should plan to be participating in the program on weekdays from 9am to 5pm. Weekends will be off.
▸ Where will the participants stay in Vancouver?
Participants will stay at UBC in individual studio suites with kitchen facilities.
▸ What is the schedule during the Writing phase?
There may be a few sessions for the whole group during this phase, but apart from that, you will set your own schedule. During this time you will be writing an outline, getting feedback from your mentor, writing a first draft, again getting feedback, and then writing a second draft which will go to Paramount+ for feedback. So you will need to ensure that you have time for this writing process alongside your other commitments.
▸ Will I receive feedback on my application if I am not accepted?
Unfortunately we are unable to provide feedback.
▸ When will successful applicants be notified?
We aim to notify people who are accepted by early to mid June so that they have time to make arrangements for their time in Vancouver.
▸ At the end of the program, who owns the pilot script I have written?
You will be the sole owner of your pilot. Although Paramount+ will provide you with feedback, they do not have any preferential rights to the script.