Diversity in TV: WWFC Launches Pilot Accelerator For Writers
Participants will have a chance to pitch projects to HBO and other companies in an effort to help women establish careers in TV
NEW YORK—The Women’s Weekend Film Challenge’s (WWFC) has launched a new pilot accelerator program that will allow six to eight emerging TV writers to pitch ideas to a number of studios and production companies.
HBO, HBO Max, Warner Horizon Television, Jax Media, Berlanti Productions, Broadway Video, Element Pictures, Fabel Entertainment, Tornante and others will be hearing the pitches in October 2021.
WWFC will be accepting applications for the accelerator from June 17 to July 21, 2021.
WWFC was founded by Katrina Medoff and Tracy Sayre in 2017 to address the lack of women’s representation behind the camera and on screen. The organization, best known for a film challenge that has produced 30 short films, also launched a popular virtual workshop series as a response to COVID-19.
The pilot accelerator designed both to help emerging writers advance their careers and to increase the representation of women and non-binary people in television. This program is geared toward writers with strong, completed pilot scripts who lack the industry connections to sell their series or break into the writers room.
“So many members of our community have pilot scripts ready to go but no one to pitch to,” WWFC co-founder Tracy Sayre said. “This gap became especially apparent over the last year as we’ve hosted weekly virtual workshops; far and away, the most popular events have centered around how to pitch and how to break into the writers room. This accelerator is a natural response to the career goals of our community.”
After the applications are received, six to eight selected fellows will be vetted by a panel of prestigious judges including Nicole Mirante-Matthews (co-executive producer, “The Walking Dead”), Elle Johnson (co-showrunner of Netflix’s “Self-Made”), Charise Castro Smith (screenwriter of Disney’s upcoming “Encanto”), Obehi Janice (staff writer for Hulu’s “Castle Rock”) and Kristina Thomas (staff writer for the upcoming Bad Robot/HBO “Demimonde”).
Fellows will attend a three-week intensive training on pitching, where they’ll learn directly from industry insiders, including public speaking coach Samara Bay, best known for dialect work with clients Gal Gadot and Rachel McAdams; Elle Johnson, co-showrunner of Netflix’s “Self Made”; and entertainment lawyer Anuj Gupta. The program will culminate with a week of pitching to studios, production companies and producers who are looking for new material and/or new writers.
On board to hear pitches are HBO, HBO Max, Warner Horizon Television (“Queen Sugar,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “You”), Jax Media (“Younger,” “Broad City,” “Russian Doll,” “Emily in Paris,” “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” “Search Party”), Element Pictures (“Normal People”), Berlanti Productions (“Riverdale,” “The Flash”), Broadway Video (“Shrill,” “30 Rock,” “Portlandia”), Fabel Entertainment (“Bosch”), Tornante (“NOS4A2”), Kevin Fox (co-EP, “Law & Order: SVU”; supervising producer, “Lie to Me”), and Clifton Campbell (EP, “Sleepy Hollow,” “The Glades”).
WWFC co-founder Katrina Medoff noted, “we have seen firsthand how much talent is out there, but many underrepresented writers lack the opportunity to get their work in front of industry decision-makers. Without programs like our new pilot accelerator, audiences will continue to miss out on so many amazing stories and voices. That’s what WWFC is all about — breaking down the barriers to women and non-binary people progressing in the industry.”
The program will take place entirely online. Interested writers can apply on FilmFreeway. Applications open on June 17. The regular deadline is July 1, and the late deadline is July 21, 2021. For more information, visit their website (opens in new tab).
The latest product and technology information
Future US's leading brands bring the most important, up-to-date information right to your inbox
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.