Eight Female Writers Announced as Finalists for Women in Film-The Black List TV Lab

kirsten schaffer_franklin leonard_Split - Getty - H 2016
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kirsten schaffer_franklin leonard_Split - Getty - H 2016

In March, Women in Film and the Black List set out to find talented women writers by partnering on an inaugural television lab for female scribes. Now, the two organizations have selected eight lucky finalists.

They are Erica Bardin & Susan Graham, Gesha-Marie Bland, Denise Jaxon, Jean Lee, Jamie Mayer, Colleen McAllister, Erin Weller & Kate Heckman and Jeane Wong. The group of women were chosen by submitting scripts, which will in turn be hosted by the Black List website for free and also read by multiple agencies and networks.

The selected women will participate in the HBO-sponsored program, which will run for eight weeks beginning in August and will consist of script development, workshopping sessions and master classes with established writers and industry executives. 

The instructors for the episodic lab include Cindy Chupack (Sex and the City, Modern Family), Mara Brock Akil (Being Mary Jane, Girlfriends), Melissa Rosenberg (Jessica Jones), Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead), Stacy Rukeyser (Unreal), Monica Beletsky (Fargo, Friday Night Lights), Lauren LeFranc (Agents of Shield, Chuck) and Jenn Kaytin Robinson (Sweet/Vicious).

WIF and the Black List also announced nineteen semi-finalists Sarah Beckett, Déjà Bernhardt-Leazer, Bronwen Clark, Liz Cotone, Meagan Daine, Jenny Deiker, Nancy Duff, Melanie Holmes, Jillian Lauren, Lindsay McRae, Kate Murdoch, Erin Rodman, Paula Sabbaga, Dawn Spinella, Nadria Tucker, Kay Tuxford & E.S. Dahl, Ursula Wendel, April Wright and Sarah Zucker.

“The participants and instructors for this inaugural WIF/Black List Episodic Lab exemplify an incredible wealth and range of talent,” said WIF executive director Kirsten Schaffer. “This group of instructors, on top of their extraordinary qualifications, are passionately dedicated to helping women writers succeed in television and to raising the number of women working in writers rooms and running shows.”

"It was exceedingly difficult to narrow the hundreds of worthy scripts and writers to our final eight," said The Black List’s director of events Megan Halpern. “The bright side of such a difficult process is that it further proves the point that there are many talented women currently going unhired in this industry for reasons unrelated to their talent and writing. It's unconscionable, and the Black List is proud to be part of changing it."