Screenwriter Program

The screenwriter internship program will launch in Fall 2019

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Screen Nova Scotia has partnered with Netflix to deliver the film commission’s television writing training program, the Screenwriter Internship Program. This program, now in its second year, is designed to help emerging and mid-level Nova Scotian screenwriters grow their network, sharpen their professional skills, and bring new perspectives and ideas to the writers’ rooms of established television series.

“The Screenwriter Internship Program tops out as Screen Nova Scotia’s most coveted talent development program,” said Laura Mackenzie, Executive Director, Screen Nova Scotia. “Nova Scotia has always had a deep arsenal of strong writers, and we’re proud to partner with Netflix to showcase this talent in the writers’ rooms of Internationally celebrated showrunners.”

Last year’s program, which saw an overwhelming number of applications, placed three local screenwriters in the writers’ rooms of Canadian series in Toronto, including Mary Kills People (Cameron Pictures; CTV) and Diggstown (Circle Blue Entertainment, Freddie Films, and Waterstar Entertainment; CBC). With Netflix signing on as a presenting partner, the program will expand into the writers’ rooms of US series in Los Angeles and New York in addition to Canada, connecting Nova Scotian writers with some of North America’s top showrunners and screenwriters.

“Netflix is thrilled to partner with Screen Nova Scotia to expand the acclaimed Screenwriter Internship Program,” said Lisa Hamilton Daly, Director, Original Series at Netflix. “We look forward to helping Nova Scotian writers grow their networks and are excited to provide them with opportunities to work with world-class talent across North America.”

Participation in these two-week internships will offer local screenwriter’s hands-on training, industry insight, invaluable experience and practical knowledge to help them advance as writers of compelling scripts for television. Their experience will also make them ideal candidates for local producers who are looking for talent to develop projects within Nova Scotia.

The Screenwriter Internship Program will launch its first call for applications in Fall 2019. We are currently not accepting applications.

Please note: The program is designed as a professional screenwriting training program, not an introductory course. An emerging screenwriter has experience in or has completed basic education and training in screenwriting, film and television production, film studies, and/or any field related to narrative and story structure. To be approved as a Screen Nova Scotia member, you must be actively involved in the province’s screen industry. Participants will be determined via a competitive application process. 

Program Format:
Applicants will be selected on the basis of the following materials:
1) A resume/CV that includes credits as well as relevant education and training;
2) A writing sample;
3) A letter of interest and intent;
4) A letter of reference.

Selected writers will be paired with a writers’ room for a two-week internship, which allows them to gain invaluable screenwriting experience, as well as facilitate relationships that can prove invaluable in developing a screenwriting career. There is no fee to apply, and Screen Nova Scotia will cover all costs of the internship (flight, accommodation, etc.)

Eligibility Criteria: Emerging and mid-level screenwriters can apply to the program with a writing sample for an original, English-language concept for a television series suitable for broadcast. Only concepts in the genres of drama, comedy, and children’s and youth programming are eligible. Projects may be 1/2-hour series, 1-hour series or mini series, in either live action or animation. The following are ineligible: Feature films, talk shows, game shows, reality-based series, documentary series, news, stand-up and sketch comedies. While the program welcomes and encourages stories that include diverse perspectives, themes, and characters, this is not a requirement.

Eligible applicants must:
1) Be a resident of Nova Scotia;
2) Not be enrolled in any full-time school or university program;
3) Demonstrate ownership of all underlying rights to their original concept;
4) Be a member of Screen Nova Scotia (Not a member? Join HERE);
5) Demonstrate in the support material an understanding of the fundamentals of television screenwriting, such as story arcs and character development;
6) Commit to the two-week, full-day intensive writers’ room internship.

Submission Requirements: In addition to completing the online Application Form, entrants must include the following:
1) A letter of interest and intent describing why you believe this program is right for you, based on your background and career objectives.
2) A resume/CV that includes credits as well as relevant education and training.
3) A current letter of reference (2018-2019) from a recognized industry professional.
4) A writing sample: One script for either a 1-hour or 1/2-hour TV series. Not eligible are feature film scripts, co-written scripts, and spec scripts for existing television series.

FAQ’s: If you have any other questions, please contact Melanie Solomon, Industry Services & Locations Manager: / (902) 229-1499.

Do I have to be a member of Screen Nova Scotia to apply to the program?
Yes, all entrants must be a member in good standing at the time of their submission. Participation in professional development opportunities and training programs are one of the many membership benefits of Screen Nova Scotia. Learn more about membership HERE.

How will my application be evaluated?
Applications will be reviewed by an independent jury of experienced screenwriters and showrunners.

How will participants for the program be chosen?
Participants will be chosen on the strength of their creative material and its development potential as a television series.

How will I know if I’ve been selected?
All entrants – even those who are not selected – will be notified of the status of their application by email.

May I send in additional support material beyond what is required?
No, the jury will only review the required materials. Additionally, incomplete applications will not be considered.

What do you mean by ‘emerging’ screenwriter?
The program is designed as a professional screenwriting training program, not an introductory course. An emerging screenwriter has experience in or has completed basic education and training in screenwriting, film and television production, film studies, and/or any field related to narrative and story structure.

What do I need to include in my letter of interest and statement of intent?
It’s important for us to know that this program is right for you and that you are serious about pursuing a career in television screenwriting. Your letter should reveal your personality (including humour) so that the jury has a good idea of who you are.

What are the acceptable program genres?
You may submit drama, comedy or children’s and youth projects – live action or animated. Formats include hour-long dramatic series, half-hour series, and mini-series. Ineligible formats include feature films, talk shows, game shows, reality-based series, including home improvement and food shows, documentaries, documentary series, news shows, stand-up and sketch comedies.

Why can’t I submit a spec script for an existing television series?
Spec scripts will show us that you can write within an existing framework, but they won’t reveal your abilities to create original projects.

May I apply with more than one project?
No. We will accept only one project/writing sample per applicant.

May I apply if a producer has already optioned my project?
No. Projects that have already been optioned are not eligible. You may, however, apply with a different project.

May I apply with a co-screenwriter?
No, co-written writing samples are not accepted.

If selected, is there a fee for participating?
No, Screen Nova Scotia covers all costs.