WarnerMedia has launched an expanded entry-level Access Writers program that looks to amplify underrepresented voices and historically marginalized narrative writers to provide a pathway into the television industry.
The program was originally called HBO Access but is now the WarnerMedia Access Writers Program. It is one of several innovative initiatives being led by the company’s new Enterprise and Inclusion department and will provide emerging writers access to mentors and opportunities across WarnerMedia’s cable, network and streaming properties. Applications for the program will be accepted starting March 8 and continue through March 21.
“We realize there’s a continued need for representation from a wider variety of perspectives, and we are deliberate about discovering, developing and supporting writers who reflect the range of our global audience,” said Karen Horne, senior vice president for Equity and Inclusion at WarnerMedia. “We are intentionally exposing talented writers to our ecosystem in order to change the behind-the-camera landscape of television.”
An Advisory Council comprised of established producers including Sara Hess, Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Sarah Schechter, Bird Runningwater, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Sonya Winton-Odamtten, Jonathan Kidd, Bill Lawrence, Mindy Kaling and Ben Stephenson as well as executives like Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer, HBO and HBO Max and Channing Dungey,Chairman Warner Bros. Television Group will help conduct an interviewing and screening process to select up to 20 writers across various genres for the inaugural seven-month program.
This effort aims to more than double the cohort size from previous years. Participants will learn about the television business from internal executives and attend master classes on storytelling and collaborative creative writing with showrunners and other established special guests.
Access Writers will be mentored by WarnerMedia’s upper-level writers who will offer their perspective on their creative growth and career advancement. Completed material will be circulated to internal programming teams, agents and managers leading into staffing season. Recent alumni of the aforementioned former HBOAccess Writing Fellowship, have worked on HBO series including The Nevers and the critically acclaimed Lovecraft Country.
The Access Writers program is a core component of WarnerMedia’s overall recruitment and development process. The company has several Access programs in development, including initiatives for diverse directors and below-the-line crew members.