Screenwriters Lab
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Screenwriting Lab

What is the Screenwriting Lab?

An intensive five-week program that runs two to three evenings a week in Los Angeles every Autumn, Film Independent’s Screenwriting Lab is designed to help screenwriters develop and express their unique voices as writers to take their current scripts to the next level. Through meetings with lab mentors, outside advisors, and other writers in the program, Fellows will receive personal feedback and the necessary tools to revise and refine their scripts for production while gaining invaluable knowledge along the way.

Robbie Pickering’s Natural Selection

The Screenwriting Lab also helps to further the careers of the Lab Fellows by introducing them to film professionals who can advise them on both the craft and business of screenwriting. Lab Fellows connect twice a week with various established screenwriters and explicate their films, learn about their careers, and discuss the writing process. Additionally, Screenwriting Fellows have one-on-one meetings with established screenwriters, producers, and other industry professionals who act as advisors on the Fellows’ projects.


Past Projects

Robbie Pickering’s Natural Selection (Spirit Award 2012 Nominee, Best First Feature; SXSW 2012 Grand Jury Prize Winner, Audience Award) Suzi Yoonessi’s Dear Lemon Lima, (Los Angeles Film Festival 2009), Beth Schacter’s Normal Adolescent Behavior (Tribeca Film Festival 2009), Scott Prendergast’s Kabluey (Los Angeles Film Festival 2007), Minh Nguyen-Vo’s Buffalo Boy (Vietnam’s entry to the Academy Awards 2007), and V. Prasad’s Ocean of Pearls (Toronto ReelWorld Film Festival 2007).

Past Creative Advisors

Meg LeFauve (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys), Jeff Kleeman (UA/MGM), Mardik Martin (Mean Streets, Raging Bull), Jeff Stockwell (Bridge to Terabithia, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys), Robin Swicord (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Barbara Turner (Georgia, The Company) and Lee David Zlotoff (Spitfire Grill).

Past Guest Speakers

Doug Atchison (Akeelah and the Bee), Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling (The Sound of My Voice), Mike Binder (The Upside of Anger), Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere), Scott Frank (The Lookout), Rian Johnson (Brick), Karen Moncrieff (The Dead Girl), Diana Ossana (Brokeback Mountain), Howard Rodman (Savage Grace), Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) and Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight).

LMU SFTV Screenwriting Fellowship

Alumni of Loyola Marymount University who apply to the Screenwriting Lab can ask to be considered for the LMU Screenwriting Fellowship. The fellowship includes a $10,000 cash grant as well as inclusion in Film Independent’s annual Screenwriting Lab. To be eligible for this fellowship, applicants must be alumni of Loyola Marymount University.


Applications for Screenwriting Lab are currently closed


How to Apply

A maximum of ten projects will be selected for the lab. Writing partners are welcome to apply as teams. To be eligible, the applicant must be the writer of a feature-length narrative film. Writing teams are welcome to apply together. Applicants must submit the following materials for consideration:

  • Cover Letter explaining your interest in the Screenwriting Lab
  • Complete feature-length screenplay
  • Logline and synopsis
  • Bios of key cast and crew attached, if any
  • Project status and history
  • Non-refundable application fee ($45 Film Independent Member; $65 Non-Member)

Film Independent membership is not required when applying to Film Independent Artist Development Labs; however, all participants accepted into the labs are required to be Film Independent members at the standard rate of $95. Applicants who are already members of Film Independent will receive written coverage on their submission regardless of acceptance. Documentary, short film, and television projects are not eligible to apply.

Selection Criteria

Film Independent is looking for well-written, compelling, and independent screenplays that have gone through at least one complete draft. The Lab is structured to support writers who are still creatively engaged in the writing of the script and are at the point where they would welcome and benefit from feedback on and discussion about their work. Writers are accepted into the program to work on the specific screenplay with which they apply.


Aside from the application fee, there is no tuition to attend Film Independent’s Artist Development Programs.

Film Independent offers the Filmmaker Labs to support emerging writers, directors, and producers in the development of their craft as well as their projects. We ask that once completed, films that have been supported by the Labs include the end credit “Developed with the help of the Film Independent Filmmaker Labs” with the Film Independent logo.

Got questions? Click here for Filmmaker Labs FAQs

For more information, please contact Angela Lee, Artist Development Manager, at 310.432.1262 or



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