The program is an effort between The Black List and WIF LA that provides mentorship and career opportunities to six rising women television writers. Beginning October 1, the Lab will run twice weekly for four weeks for an entire year and will consist of script development, peer workshopping sessions, and Master Classes with established writers and industry executives.
The writers’ final pilots will be read by agencies and networks. This year’s advisors and Master Class teachers include Monica Beletsky (Parenthood), Carly Wray (Westworld), Sono Patel (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Glen Mazzara (The Dark Tower) and others.
Read the participants’ bios and their projects for this year’s Lab.
“The Resurrected” – When a dead body comes back to life and then escapes from a Manhattan funeral home, the determined Funeral Director must track down the body to clear herself of wrongdoing
Kim Garland was raised in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, and grew up as part of a family of Puerto Rican descent, that ran and lived above their funeral home. She worked her way through college covering the night shift at her family business, and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Creative Writing (and a whole lot of stories about the dead). She’s written and directed several films that have screened at film festivals and comic conventions across the country. Garland’s work focuses on dark stories set in dark worlds, reflecting her particular love of the horror, sci-fi, and thriller genres.
“Fortune Bay” – In the American territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Captain Owen Arthur Bradshaw and his descendants fight to claim their inheritance of a sugar plantation from a clan of billionaires while great events in history unfold between 1917 and 2017.
Dr. Robin J. Hayes is an award-winning filmmaker who directed the documentary feature Black and Cuba. A Yale alumna who studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she produced the off-off-Broadway play 9 Grams, which was directed by Emmy- and Obie-winner S. Epatha Merkerson. The Ford Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities have both funded Hayes’ work. Her book, A Love for Liberation, is forthcoming from University of Washington Press. Hayes is currently developing several projects including the Screencraft Film Fund semi-finalist Inside Exile, about iconic Black Panther Party leader Neal Cleaver.
“Oh Monica” – A scandal erupts at Freedom High when incoming freshman Monica Lewinsky develops a crush on popular school president Bill Clinton… and the rest, is history class.
Rosette Laursen was born in a hut in Kauai and raised all over California. She was a professional ballet dancer for years before having the epiphany that she could combine her three favorite things—writing, TV, and comedy—into a profession. She immediately quit dance and started studying screenwriting at UCLA Extension while working as an assistant at a variety of entertainment offices and on television shows. Laursen is very happy to no longer be dancing on her toes for money, but has applied the aggressive discipline she learned from dance to her writing endeavors.
“Homefront” – A group of female veterans are struggling to salvage their lives in the American South when tragedy strikes amid their ranks, leading them to set out to help fellow veterans throughout the country.
At the age of nine, Jude Roth dabbled in crime by stealing stacks of notebooks because she desperately needed to write—but couldn’t tell anyone. (Now, she tells everyone.) Growing up in Leominster, Massachusetts, the “Plastics Capital of the World,” Roth experienced the effects of big business on small-town America, inspiring her to write personal stories against grander political backdrops. Her scripts have been finalists in the Sundance Episodic Lab and Humanitas New Voices program, and have earned her spots on the acclaimed WeForShe WriteHer List and The Black List’s “Featured” category. (And she’s also very sorry about the whole stealing thing.)
“Inside Cunt” – When a depressed twenty-something suddenly starts intercepting Russian spy signals through her vagina, she’s pulled into a dangerous world of global intrigue.
Salinas is a Latinx writer, filmmaker, and comedian, and the creator of the viral Instagram webcomic Bad Comix by Anna, which chronicles her struggles with anxiety, depression, and cheese. She is a regular writer/performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade and one half of the all-Latina sketch duo John Baxter—whose comedy videos have been featured in various publications including Mashable, WhoHaha, and Vulture. Salinas holds an M.F.A. in screenwriting from UCLA and is a 2018 Sundance New Voices Lab fellow.
“Political Science” – A mother and daughter, both fallen politicos, battle for power in the dirtiest swamp of all: the political science department of an elite college.
Gillian Weeks has turned to narrative film and television writing after a decade in the documentary space. In 2018, the Tribeca Film Institute awarded Weeks a Sloan Grant to write her first feature, The New Miracle, which chronicles the invention of in vitro fertilization. A year later, she was selected as a 2019 Sundance Institute fellow for the same project. In addition, Weeks is now developing several original drama series. Before writing full-time, she oversaw series development for Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions, helping create series including Netflix’s “Salt Fat Acid Heat” and “The Family,” Showtime’s “Enemies,” and AMC’s forthcoming “Hip Hop.” Weeks graduated with a B.A. in Political Economy from Williams College and Oxford University.