(May 4, 2012)
Since it began in 2009, 63 writers have been selected as honorees in the Guild’s Writer Access Project (WAP). The program helps television writers from underrepresented groups gain access to industry showrunners and acts as a hiring resource for staffing series. A recent reunion of honorees illuminated the myriad ways in which WAP alums have benefitted from being part of the program:
“Very rarely do you walk into a writers room where there is another black writer, so you feel alone a lot. The Writer Access Project placed me in a fraternity, or sorority, if you will, of other diverse writers who I had never met before. It was helpful because while I may be alone in that writers room on that show I know now that in the world of Hollywood I am not alone.”
--- Wendy Calhoun, former producer, Revenge and Justified,
developing a pilot for Jennifer Lopez’ Nuyorican Productions, 2010 honoree
“The biggest impact of the program for me came from attending the panels where you talk to showrunners. Glen Mazzara, who had run The Shield
and Walking Dead
, gave us a tutorial on how to interview with showrunners for staff jobs, which was eye opening. It gave us a peek into the mind of a showrunner and what they are looking for in writers, which is not easy to know unless you’ve been told what it is."
--- Sal Calleros, executive story editor, Rizzoli & Isles, 2011 honoree
“My writing partner and I had been writing together for fun, but we didn’t think of ourselves as a team. The Writer Access Project gave us the confidence. It was the first step in recognizing ourselves as a genuine, viable writing team."
--- Aurorae Khoo former staff writer, Running Wilde and In Plain Sight
(along with writing partner Gina Gold), 2009 honoree
“The Writer Access Project ended up rebranding me. I was just coming off Lincoln Heights
as a producer-level writer and wanted to be creating shows. Submitting my original pilot to the Writer Access Project helped give me an ego boost knowing that showrunners were reading it. As a result my representation was more disposed to look at me as someone who could credibly go out and pitch television shows. And WAP does a full court press. They notify agents and showrunners around town and help us get consideration for staff jobs. And if our shows go to series this is a good first place to come for hiring people."
--- Nelson Soler, former writer, Lincoln Heights, now writing two pilots, Invisible Girl and
My Criminal Romance, 2009 and 2010 honoree
“The program was designed to get writers meetings with showrunners, and it did that perfectly for us. Any opportunity you can take advantage of to help pull your script out of the pile is a good thing. This is a business of connections and relationships.”
--- Shelley Meals and Darin Goldberg, former consulting producers,
Rizzoli & Isles, former co-executive producers, Hawthorne, honorees 2009
The Writer Access Project will resume in September 2012. Submission requirements and procedures will be posted on the WGAW website no later than July 2012.
Read honorees’ scripts submitted in 2009, 2010 and 2011