Screenwriters Lab
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Screenwriting Lab

What is the Screenwriting Lab?

Film Independent’s Screenwriting Lab is an intensive five-week program that runs two to three evenings a week in Los Angeles in September and October. The Lab is designed to help screenwriters improve their craft, develop their voices as writers, and take their current scripts to the next level. During the Lab, Fellows receive feedback on their scripts from the Lab Mentor, outside advisors, and the other writers in the program.

A secondary goal of the program is to help advance 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 have several guest-speaker sessions with established screenwriters to do case studies of their films, hear about their career, 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.

A maximum of ten projects are selected for the Lab. Writing partners are welcome to apply as teams. Applicants to the Screenwriting Lab who are current members of Film Independent will receive written coverage on their submission regardless of acceptance.

Robbie Pickering’s Natural Selection

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.

Screenwriting Lab Fellows receive:

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

Past instructors include Meg LeFauve (producer, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys), Jeff Kleeman (UA/MGM), Mardik Martin (co-writer, 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 include 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, applicants must be alumni of Loyola Marymount University.




How to Apply:

To be eligible, applicants must be the writer of a feature-length narrative film. Writing teams are welcome to apply together. Applicants must submit the online application, which includes:

  • 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)
  • Non-Member applicants accepted into the Screenwriting Lab are required to become current Film Independent Members at the standard rate of $95 or above

Documentary, short film, and television projects are not eligible to apply.

Film Independent is looking for well-written, compelling, independent screenplays that have gone through at least one complete draft yet are nonetheless not fully polished. 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 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? We’ve got answers. 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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