2014 WGAW Writer Access Project Honorees Announced
The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has announced its 2014 Writer Access Project Honorees, a slate of 15 diverse television writers who've competed in Comedy and Drama script categories. Coordinated by the Guild's Diversity Department, WAP identifies talented, diverse writers with television staffing experience through a peer-judging process and provides a vehicle for accessing their outstanding work to entertainment industry decision-makers, including showrunners, producers, network/studio executives, agents, and managers. This year's WAP Honorees and their scripts are:
2014 WAP COMEDY HONOREES
Gloria Calderon Kellet - Accidental Sluts
Geetika Lizardi - Sofa King
Cynthia Riddle & Peter Hunziker - Invisible
Sara Saedi - The Most F**ked Up Book Club Ever
2014 WAP DRAMA HONOREES
Beth Armogida - Charlotte Tanner
Will Berson - Elsinore
Yule Caise - World Affairs
Lana Cho - Damaged
John Lau - The Business of Pleasure
Susan Gauthier - The Bitches of St. Brigid's Hall
Adam Rodman - The Real Thing
Jared Romero - Repossessed
Deborah Swisher - Smart Girl
Marc Scott Zicree - Mad Men: Walking Distance
First launched in 2009, and timed to coincide with TV staffing season, the program was created as an attempt to address the chronically low numbers of diverse writers hired in television writing rooms. As WAP matures it is yielding tangible results: for example, 2013 WAP honoree Lena Waithe is currently a staff writer on TV's Bones. In addition, comedy writing team and 2012 WAP honorees Jacqueline McKinley & Antonia March were subsequently staffed as producers for TV's Are We There Yet?, as well as consulting producers on First Family. This year, McKinley & March were also selected to participate in the WGAW's 2014 Showrunner Training Program, which mentors experienced TV writers to become the next crop of showrunners.
"The intention of the Writer Access Project is very simple. It draws the best, experienced writers who, for whatever reason, have not been able to get their material in front of showrunners and lets their work speak for itself. The focus is put on the one thing that truly matters when hiring a writer: the words he or she puts on the page," said 2014 WAP Drama judge Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead).
For WAP consideration, qualified WGAW members were invited to submit their work in one of five diversity categories: minority writers, writers with disabilities, women writers, 55-and-over writers, and gay and lesbian writers. Entries were read and scored on a blind submission basis by panels of WGAW members with extensive television writing experience, including current and former showrunners, as well as writer-producers. This year's panel of WAP judges included writers David Shore (House), Adele Lim (Star Crossed), Graham Yost (Justified), Dawn Prestwich (The Killing), Andre and Maria Jacquemetton (Mad Men), Janine Sherman Barrois (Criminal Minds), Mike Royce (Enlisted), Michael Oates Palmer (Crossbones), and William Martin (Ground Floor).
"The career of a TV writer has fewer access points than many careers. That's why I loved judging for the WGAW's Writer Access Project. Let's make sure those new strong voices can be heard," said 2014 WAP Comedy judge Jane Espenson, writer on Once Upon a Time and Husbands co-creator with partner Brad Bell.
This year, a total of 164 scripts (106 in Drama / 58 Comedy) were submitted for WAP consideration - and a total of 93 Writers Guild members served as 2014 WAP judges during the selection process.
"The Writer Access Project was conceived from the beginning with a dual function - to benefit both mid-career diverse television writers by improving their access to those making hiring decisions during staffing season and to serve as a resource for showrunners who are looking for diverse writers for their staffs. Five years in, the program is working. Many honorees have gone on to staff and many have moved up the ranks from staff writer into Story Editor or Producer level writing jobs. Showrunners are beginning to see the Writer Access Project as a trusted source - recommended by their peers - of quality, experienced TV writers from a wide variety of diverse backgrounds. In the crush of staffing season this program offers a valuable resource for both sides of the hiring equation," said WGAW Director of Diversity Kimberly Myers.
For more information about the WGAW's Writer Access Project and 2014 WAP Honorees, including their scripts, please visit: http://www.wga.org/wap.
The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit: www.wga.org.
Photo credit: Michael Jones