Home Industry 17 Best Screenwriting Fellowships for 2023 [Ranked]

17 Best Screenwriting Fellowships for 2023 [Ranked]

by Aaron Calimlim

Aspiring writers are always looking for ways to break into the screenwriting industry. One of the most effective ways is by participating in a screenwriting fellowship. Fellowships enable writers to sharpen their skills and establish important industry relationships. Many programs focus on securing writers representation or staff positions.

Some programs offer script feedback, though most will charge extra for this. Looking for free peer feedback on your script? Sites like CoverflyX provide script coverage completely free of charge. If you’re interested in professional reviews, sites like The Black List can also help you.

With so many screenwriting fellowships out there, it can be hard to know which ones are best for you. With entry fees for most, applying to every available fellowship can get expensive fast.

To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the 17 best screenwriting fellowships for 2023.

The List: Screenwriting Fellowships

1. Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting 

Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This organization is best known for hosting the annual Academy Awards (or Oscars). It is easily the most prestigious and lucrative fellowship for amateur screenwriters. 

Every year, The Academy selects up to five winners. Each receives a $35,000 prize and an invite to take part in a week-long Los Angeles residency. There they meet with industry professionals and attend workshops and networking events. 

The Academy has a history of discovering some of the most talented emerging writers. 

Past winners include:

  • Ehren Kruger (Top Gun: Maverick)
  • Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12)
  • Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figures)

The submission deadline is typically in mid spring. There’s an Early, Normal and Late deadline for submissions. Submitting early will save you on entry fees so be sure to have your script ready. 

Find more info on the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting application process.

2. Sundance Screenwriters Lab

A writing workshop that also focuses on the art of directing. The Lab provides writers a supportive environment in which to develop their scripts. 

Sundance selects up to 10 writers each year to take part in their Screenwriters Lab. Participants are provided residency in Utah for the duration of the program. There they receive feedback, attend workshops, and work on their scripts. All this takes place under the guidance of experienced mentors and industry professionals. 

Notable past participants include:

  • Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) 
  • Cary Fukunaga (True Detective)

Sundance Screenwriters Lab  – Applications for the Screenwriters Lab are available online each year, typically through mid-May.

3. 2023 Disney General Entertainment Writing Program 

The DGE Writing Program offers a unique opportunity for emerging television writers.  Participants receive training from experts at one of the world’s largest media entities. 

The program selects up to eight writers from a highly competitive pool of applicants. The twelve-month paid fellowship  includes intensive workshops and access to top showrunners. 

Participants also attend weekly seminars and meetings hosted by industry professionals. These events give writers a more comprehensive understanding of the television industry. 

Many alumni of the Disney Writing Program have gone on to successful writing careers. Past fellows have gone on to write scripts for current Disney/ABC series. Some have secured work on notable shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, and This Is Us.

Disney/ABC Writing Program Submission and FAQs are available exclusively on their Facebook Page 

4. WBD Access (Formerly: WBTV Writers’ Workshop)

For over 40 years, the Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop has been the premiere writing program for new writers. Sadly, previous iterations of the WBTV Workshops have been discontinued. The good news is, the program lives on in a new form: WBD Access. 

WBD Access offers best-in-class talent development programs, mentorship, placement opportunities and industry exposure. These programs connect underrepresented talent with a varied network of content and brands. 

Participants gain valuable experience through mentorship. Participants work on professional video sets, sponsored productions and more. This program is great for developing writers looking to further their careers. Many alumni have secured staff positions on Warner Bros.-produced television shows. 

Full list of WBD Access programs.

5. NBC Launch / TV Writers Program

A signature program of NBCUniversal Launch with a focus on inclusive storytelling. The TV Writers Program aims to nurture the next generation of diverse creators.

The eight-month program selects writers from underrepresented communities to take part. Writers create and workshop an original pilot with the guidance of programming executives. 

Weekly workshops focus on developing writers’ soft skills. Writers get to learn the ins and outs of the business of television. At the program’s conclusion writers have complete materials for submissions and staffing consideration. The staffing focuses on placing writers throughout various NBCUniversal platforms.

NBC TV Writers Program Application 

6. Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition 

One of the largest screenwriting contests in the world. The Austin Film Festival offers writers the chance to showcase their work on a global stage. The competition accepts screenplays and teleplays in various genres and formats. The potential to open doors for writing careers at this event is huge.

Submissions range from feature-length scripts to television pilots, and short films. Regardless of acceptance, entrants may opt-in to receive expert feedback on their work. This provides them with an invaluable perspective on their writing. 

Options are also available for those who want more in-depth feedback. The festival’s script coverage program offers detailed analysis of scripts. This includes a breakdown and suggestions for improvement. 

Each year finalists receive various prizes, travel grants, and benefits. This competition can be instrumental in helping writers hone their craft. Stand-out writers can take their writing career to new heights. 

Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition Submission 

7. Humanitas New Voices Fellowship

A prestigious mentorship program designed to support emerging television writers and screenwriters. The New Voices Fellowship is for writers exploring complex human experiences and issues. 

The program aims to empower writers otherwise overlooked by traditional marketplaces. In particular, they seek to identify those from underrepresented communities. 

The program lasts for approximately six months and selects five writers each year. Entrants can submit works in the format of a 30- or 60-minute screenplay (pilot or feature).

Fellows have access to mentorship, workshops, professional development meetings, and other networking opportunities. They are paired with a mentor who works with them for the duration of the program. 

Fellows are also invited to attend the prestigious Humanitas Prizes event in the fall. Each fellow receives a trophy and a $7,500 stipend to help support their creative endeavors.

Since the program’s start in 2010, 63 fellows have completed the New Voices program. Many have gone on to become successful showrunners, producers, directors, and staff writers. 

Humanitas New Voices Fellowship Submission and FAQs 

8. Annual Black List Lab / Sloan Foundation Fellowship 

A renowned platform dedicated to nurturing written storytelling and empowering writers. The Black List was first established in 2005. The goal was to establish a survey of Hollywood’s most-liked, but unproduced screenplays. The Black List has since grown into a comprehensive resource for film and TV writers.

The Black List Lab is a month-long feature program that takes place every year in the fall. The program includes one-on-one sessions with screenwriting mentors and peer workshops. 

During the selection process up to 30 writers are chosen.  Based on the strength of their scripts, up to 15 writers make the shortlist. From there they submit a one-page personal statement and professional resume. Finally, six to eight writers are chosen by The Black List to take part in the Lab. 

Selected writers may also opt in to the 2023 Sloan Foundation Fellowship. This fellowship focuses on science and technology-based feature screenplays. Sloan’s Film Program encourages filmmakers to rethink stories about science and technology. Sloan hopes to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the collective imagination.

Black List Labs and associated fellowships

9. FOX Entertainment Writers Incubator 

A selective initiative that provides rigorous training to more established writers. The Incubator focuses on rewriting existing material and honing writing skills. Participants also explore the business of media and entertainment. 

The program aims to select four writers with diverse backgrounds and life experiences. During this extensive 3-month workshop, participants focus on perfecting their original scripts. Writers receive the support of experienced mentors, established in the industry.

FOX Entertainment has a 30-year legacy of innovative, hit programming. Upon completion of the program, writers receive priority for staffing on FOX networks. Popular FOX shows include: 9-1-1, The Masked Singer, LEGO Masters, and American Idol. 

FWI Application and FAQs

10. Inevitable Foundation / Accelerate Fellowship – 

A year-long program designed to empower mid-level disabled screenwriters. The Accelerate Fellowship, exclusively sponsored by Netflix, provides $40,000 in funding. Writers are also provided bespoke mentorship, industry connections and community. All the elements needed to become industry-leading creators.

Fellows receive an unrestricted grant of $35,000 to help them cover more than six months of expenses. This allows them to put all their focus on their careers. An extra $5,000 is added to cover professional development expenses.

Weekly conversations with industry leaders provide fellows with advice and mentorship. Ongoing writing workshops come with personalized check-ins from the Inevitable team. Fellows sharpen writing and pitching skills with help from showrunners and creative executives. These mentors guide their development and prepare writers for staffing opportunities.

The year-long program gives writers the chance to develop and sell their own content. This provides an incredible opportunity to further advance their careers.

Accelerate Fellowship eligibility, FAQs and application 

11. PAGE International Screenwriting Awards 

This annual contest seeks to identify the best new screenplays and teleplays. The submissions span 10 categories across television and film. The contest offers Gold, Silver, and Bronze prizes, as well as a grand prize of $25,000. The grand prize is presented to the best overall submission, regardless of category. 

Each year, the contest attracts a large number of industry judges. They review submissions and identify new screenwriting talent from all over the world.

What sets PAGE apart is their proven track record of success.  They’ve launched careers of countless emerging screenwriters over the years. Many PAGE Award winners have secured top literary representation and even sold scripts. 

Past winners have gone on to have movies and television shows produced on the air, and in theaters. Even those who do not win a prize in the contest have benefited greatly. 

The PAGE Awards contest is one of the top sources for new screenwriting talent in the industry.

PAGE International Screenwriting Awards Contest Page 

12. Film Independent Screenwriting Lab 

A program designed for more established writers to hone their unique voice. The Film Independent Screenwriting Lab is a highly focused program. 

The primary goal is the development of a single feature screenplay. The program offers up-and-coming writers two weeks of tailored story and career development.

Each screenwriting fellow pairs up with a creative advisor. They work one-on-one and in group sessions to develop their project over the course of the program. Guest speakers offer guidance on both the craft and business of screenwriting. The program culminates in a final pitch event with industry executives present.

The lab is open to any writer with a completed draft of a feature-length project. The submission requires a variety of materials. This includes written statements, project synopses, and creative samples. This workshop is best for writers who have a complete project and an eye toward production.

Film Independent Screenwriting Lab FAQs and application.

13. Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest 

An annual international feature film and television screenwriting competition. The Final Draft Big Break Contest has helped to launch the careers of aspiring writers for over 20 years. Winners have had their screenplays optioned, sold, and secured high-profile representation. 

A highly respected company in the industry. Final Draft holds a long reputation for identifying and promoting emerging talent.

The competition is open to all writers over the age of 18. Writers may submit screenplays in these categories: 

Feature Film (any genre)

Television (any genre, half-hour or hour-long)

Short Film (under 30 pages). 

Winners of each category receive a cash prize and other benefits. This includes screenwriting software, consultations with industry professionals, and meetings with literary agents. Final Draft also partners with major studios and production companies. This provides further opportunities to competition winners.

Winning or even placing in the competition is a big deal. Writers can establish valuable connections and gain exposure for their big break.

Be sure to apply early as the cost of entry goes up throughout the submission period. 

Final Draft Big Break Contest Page

14. WGA Writer Access Support Staff Training Program 

This program aims to provide underrepresented groups opportunity in the television industry. The Training Program was launched under the guidance of expert writers and producers. The program targets BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled writers, and writers over the age of 50. The ultimate goal is for participants to secure entry-level writing jobs.

The program’s 12-week course offers tailored instruction for writers’ assistants and script coordinators. Positions that have historically been important to learn the writing process firsthand. Graduates are included in a list of trained writers’ assistants and script coordinators. These lists are then made available to studios, networks, and showrunners. The program aims to capture stories from all corners of the human experience.

This first-of-its-kind initiative provides graduates with invaluable working knowledge. The access provided also gives crucial resources to underrepresented groups in the TV industry. 

WGA Writer Access Project – Training Program

15. ISA Fast Track Fellowship 

A respected program that helps emerging writers advance their careers. Started in 2014, The ISA Fast Track Fellowship is a  whirlwind week of career development. Selected fellows meet with top-level agents, managers, producers, and executives.

Individual ISA Development Executives also offer guidance throughout the entire process. Past mentors include executive staff from popular shows such as: Ted Lasso, Dear White People, and WandaVision.

Winners each receive $500 cash and evaluation for acceptance to the Development Slate.  After the week-long program, fellows join the ISA Development Slate for a minimum of one year. 

During that time, ISA development executives actively champion their fellows. This gives them a chance to pitch their projects to industry partners.

This program opens the door for fresh, original, and personal writing in all genres. Fast Track Fellows have signed with major agencies like CAA, Paradigm, and ICM. Many have also had their scripts optioned, leading to development deals.

ISA Fast Track Fellowship

16. ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for aspiring screenwriters. The ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship offers seven days of intensive development. Entrants also receive three months of career consultation and unique opportunities for growth. 

Participants receive career guidance with personalized plans of action. Thoughtfully curated industry meetings allow fellows to expand their network with major players. 

The ScreenCraft fellowship is a respected and sought-after program. They boast an impressive track record and commitment to fostering emerging talent. 

Few screenwriting programs have had the consistent success that the ScreenCraft Fellowship delivers. Past fellows have gone on to write film and television for nearly every major network.  The list includes names like Netflix, Apple TV+, ABC, The CW, Amazon, FX, NBC, and Hulu. 

Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship

17. Nickelodeon Writing Program

Designed for television comedy writers from underrepresented communities. The Nickelodeon Writing Program is a year-long development program. 

Established in 2000, this program is a paid, full-time opportunity.  Participants focus on developing writing skills and building professional relationships. Writers go through classes, workshops, executive mentorship, and networking.

The program takes place in the iconic writers’ rooms at Nickelodeon. This gives participants valuable firsthand experience in the live-action and animation industry. 

Nickelodeon is looking for unique voices in kids’ and family content. For a writer with a fresh perspective, this program may be the perfect opportunity.

Nickelodeon Writing Program – Application & FAQs


There are a multitude of screenwriting fellowships available to aspiring writers. Each comes with its own unique benefits and opportunities. The key takeaway is for screenwriters to improve their craft during their fellowship. 

While competition for these programs is fierce, they can be invaluable for writers. Many fellowship opportunities exist for those seeking financial support, mentorship, or industry exposure. 

Choosing a fellowship tailored to fit your specific needs and requirements is paramount. The right program can put writers one step closer to bringing their stories to life on the big screen.

We hope this list of the 17 best screenwriting fellowships for 2023 has been helpful in your search. Stay committed to find the best opportunity to take your writing career to the next level.

Ready to hone your skills? Let Celtx help you write your next screenplay


  • Aaron Calimlim

    Aaron is a professional writer, script analyst, and content creator. He is obsessed with storytelling and enjoys helping others bring their stories to life.

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