2018 Native American TV Writers Lab Opens Call for Submissions

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Walt Disney Animation Studios senior creative executive Bryan Davidson (left) meets with 2017 lab writers Jade Puga and Richard Montes.

The workshop’s third edition is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, Netflix, CBS Entertainment Diversity and HBO.

The third annual Native American TV Writers Lab, presented by the LA Skins Fest, is now accepting applications through March 9.

Modeled after the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s popular writers program, the five-week intensive is sponsored by CBS Entertainment Diversity, Comcast NBCUniversal, Netflix and HBO. Six to seven Native writers will be selected for the lab, which is set to run from mid-May to late June in Los Angeles and feature panels, one-on-one meetings and group workshops. By program’s end, participants are expected to complete at least one half-hour comedy or one-hour drama script, which will be read by network executives.

Past editions of the lab included face time with execs from major companies including CBS, NBCUniversal, Lionsgate, Bad Robot Productions, Fox and ABC.

“The lab gave me tons of insight on story structure and character work,” alumna Kelly Lynne D’Angelo (of the Tuscarora tribe), who recently penned an episode of Hasbro’s My Little Pony, said in a statement. “It opened many doors of opportunity, including the chance to pitch several networks and studios. The lab was a huge catalyst for my career.”

According to the WGA West’s most recent Hollywood Writers Report, published in 2016, the number of employed TV writers who are Native fell from 10 people in 2008 to four individuals in 2014. In contrast, the number of white writers rose from 2,715 to 3,548 over that span.

“Several Native American TV writers who have participated in the lab have made great strides,” said LA Skins Fest founding director Ian Skorodin (Choctaw). “In our third year, we look forward to offering unique and rare opportunities to a new group of brilliant and exceptional Native American talent.”

The regular deadline to submit applications is March 2, and the late deadline is March 9. More information and instructions can be found at the Skins Fest website.