Ever wish that you could just go somewhere, be with like-minded people, hone your craft, and further your career? Well, you can! Screenwriting labs are just that kind of place. Labs bring writers together to learn and develop their writing under the guidance of mentors. They're a good option for writers who have some good writing experience but are looking to take their craft to the next level. Labs can be competitive to get into, so you're not going to want to submit any first drafts here.
In today's blog, I'll introduce you to the top screenwriting labs around the world, for your consideration, including one that I've attended myself.
- Stowe Story Labs - Stowe, Vermont, USA
Based on my own experience attending the 2019 Stowe Story Narrative Lab, I can say that this is an incredible lab that includes mentorship from working industry professionals, meeting other writers, and learning how to pitch and present your work. The four-day lab focuses on developing skills relating to story, structure, characters, and theme, packaging, and presenting your script, as well as financing and distribution. The lab is kept to a limited size and set in a quaint, picturesque ski town.
There is an application fee. The fee to attend is $2,450, and they offer several scholarships.
- Outfest Screenwriting Lab - Los Angeles, CA, USA
Five screenwriters are chosen for this lab, to work closely with mentors who will help develop their work over three days. Following the lab, participants will work with experienced Outfest directors to present staged readings of their screenplays at the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival. All participants will receive mentorship and guidance for one year.
There is an application fee, and the lab does not guarantee travel for fellows based outside of Los Angeles.
- Sundance Screenwriters Lab - Sundance Mountain Resort, UT, USA; Morelia, Mexico; Tokyo, Japan
A five-day intensive lab in Utah, this is just one of the many labs and other opportunities the Sundance Institute offers. The Screenwriters Lab offers writers the chance to work with creative advisors in one-on-one sessions as they immerse themselves in working on their scripts.
There is an application fee to apply. If you're selected, there is no fee to attend, and the cost of airfare, accommodations, and meals for up to two participants per project will be covered.
Sundance also hosts screenwriting labs in Morelia, Mexico, and Tokyo, Japan.
The Morelia labs are organized in collaboration between the Sundance Institute and the Berta and the Morelia Film Festival. The goal of the lab is to support a new generation of artists in Mexico.
The NHK Screenwriting Workshop is a partnership between the Sundance Institute and Japan's national broadcasting organization, NHK.
- Film Independent Screenwriting Lab - Los Angeles, CA, USA
The Film Independent Screenwriting Lab is a week-long workshop that aims to provide individualized script and career guidance for up and coming screenwriters. The lab includes one-on-ones with advisors, networking with industry veterans, as well as guest speakers who screen and discuss their projects.
There is an application fee to submit, but no cost or tuition if you're selected to participate.
- The Writers Lab - Chester, CT USA
Presented by the New York Women in Film & Television founder and co-founders, The Writers Lab is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for women over the age of 40 to work on their feature scripts with mentorship from industry professionals. The four-day lab includes panel discussions, one-on-one meetings, and peer workshops. Past mentors have included Kirsten Smith ("Legally Blonde," "Ten Things I Hate About You"), Guinevere Turner ("American Psycho," "The Notorious Bettie Page"), and Meg LeFauve ("Inside Out," "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys").
There is an application fee, and the lab provides transportation from New York City to the retreat. There's no fee to attend.
I can't say enough good things about my Stowe Story Lab experience. It set me up to be able to take advantage of the opportunities I've received since attending, and I'm sure these other labs would be no different. I hope I've inspired you to apply or find another lab that appeals to you.