Episodic Lab

Providing guidance and insight to writers looking to revise, refine and pitch their pilots

Designed to support writers with original long-form episodic projects, Film Independent’s Episodic Lab will accept a diverse group of 6–8 writers or writing teams and provide them with critical support and mentorship. Through personalized feedback from experienced showrunners, creative producers and executives, Fellows will gain the tools to revise and refine their pilots and navigate a changing industry landscape.

The Episodic Lab helps to further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to industry veterans who can offer guidance on both the craft and business of writing episodic content. Each Fellow will be paired with a Creative Advisor with whom they’ll work one-on-one and in group sessions to develop their project during the month of August. Additionally, guest speakers will screen and discuss their own work to offer insights into the creative process and industry best practices. A final networking and pitch event will offer Fellows the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work to studio and network executives.

For more information on the application deadline please visit our applications page.

Alfred P. Sloan Episodic Lab Grant

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will award one participant of the Film Independent Episodic Lab a $10,000 development grant.

To apply for the Sloan Episodic Lab Grant, apply to the Episodic Lab and provide a statement on how the project fulfills the mission of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The applicant must possess the rights to the script with which they are applying. The teleplay should have a scientific, mathematical and/or technological theme and storyline or have a leading character that is a scientist, engineer or mathematician.

At this time, science fiction projects are not eligible for the Sloan Episodic Lab Grant.

About The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants in science, technology and economic performance. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience.

Sloan’s Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past two decades, Sloan has partnered with some of the top film schools in the country–including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA and USC plus six new film schools this year –and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production, along with an annual best-of-the-best Student Grand Jury Prize administered by the Tribeca Film Institute. The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs with the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, SFFILM, the Black List, the Athena Film Festival, the North Fork TV Festival, and Film Independent’s Producing Lab and Fast Track program and has helped develop over 25 feature films such as Jessica Oreck’s One Man Dies a Million Times, Michael Tyburski’s The Sound of Silence, Shawn Snyder’s To Dust, Ben Lewin’s The Catcher Was a Spy, Melissa Finell’s Sensitivity Training, Logan Kibens and Sharon Greene’s Operator, Mathew Brown‘s The Man Who Knew Infinity, Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, Marni Zelnick’s Druid Peak, Musa Syeed’s Valley of Saints, and Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess. The Foundation’s book program includes support for Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, adapted into an Oscar-nominated box office hit in 2017.

For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, please visit www.sloan.org or follow the Foundation at @SloanPublic on Twitter and Facebook.

Who Can Apply?

The Episodic Lab is open to any emerging writer applying with a completed draft of a half hour or hour-long television pilot they wish to workshop during the program. Each applicant must be the author of the script he or she submits. The submitted pilot cannot have been pitched at any point to a studio or network.

Writing partners are welcome to apply as teams and need only submit a single application. International applicants are also welcome to apply. At this time, documentary and short-form digital series are not eligible to apply.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit the following materials for consideration:

Required

  • A cover letter explaining your interest in the Episodic Lab
  • One complete, original pilot
  • A series logline
  • A series description describing the story engine and series arc of the show
  • Project status and history, including any industry exposure

Optional

  • A series proposal document that includes brief descriptions of the world of the series and its premise and genre, as well as breakdowns for the show’s primary characters and their first season arcs

Application Fee

Selection Criteria

Film Independent is looking for well-written, compelling, pilots with an original premise or vision. The submitted pilot may be original or adapted from optioned source material. Though applicants must submit a completed draft, the Lab is structured to support writers who are still creatively engaged in the writing process; those who welcome feedback and discussion will most benefit from the program as they further develop their work.

The Fine Print

Beyond the application fee, there is no cost or tuition to participate in any of Film Independent’s Artist Development programs.

Film Independent Membership is not required when applying to Artist Development Labs. However, all participants accepted into the Labs are required to join Film Independent at the standard annual General Membership rate of $95.

Applicants will be notified three to four weeks prior to the start of the program.

Applicants invited to participate in the program should plan to be in Los Angeles for the four-week duration of the Lab. Film Independent is unable to subsidize any travel, lodging and/or visa expenses for any participants attending from outside of Los Angeles. Participants are expected to attend all sessions in person.

For more information, please email: artistdevelopment@filmindependent.org.

To learn more about Film Independent Fellows and their projects, visit our Talent Guide.