Contact: Gregg Mitchell (323) 782-4574
 
News Release: December 13, 2012
 
WGAW Feature Access Project Honorees Announced 

Program Aims to Open Doors for Diverse Screenwriters 

LOS ANGELES -- The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has announced its Feature Access Project (FAP) honorees, recognizing five members who competed in the Guild’s pilot diversity screenwriting program. They are:

  • Chuck Hayward for Potluck 
  • Dwayne Johnson-Cochran for Bibi 
  • Vivian Lee for Eve at the Bar 
  • Zak Shaikh for The Ignoble Rise of Lord Rex 
  • Paula Yoo for Popular Science 
Coordinated by the WGAW Diversity Department, the project seeks to identify outstanding diverse writers and make their scripts available to entertainment industry decision-makers, including producers, studio executives, agents and managers, to help raise their profile and generate potential employment opportunities. More information about the honorees and complete versions of their screenplays can be found at: http://www.wga.org/fap.html.

“There is no more troubling statistic in the film and TV industry than the underemployment of persons of color, particularly in the area of feature screenwriting. Good writers can write about anybody, not just those characters whose biographies they share. I’m proud to have been an advisor for the WGAW’s Feature Access Project, which shines light on the talents of writers whose voices should be heard – and encourages the consideration of all writers for all jobs, regardless of who they are, where they’re from, or what they look like,” said FAP Advisory Committee member Doug Atchison (Akeelah and the Bee).

“Our diversity programs introduce the industry to very talented WGA writers that may have been previously overlooked and also make the point: good writers of all walks of life write good material and deserve to be hired based on their talent,” said WGAW Board of Directors and FAP Advisory Committee member Katherine Fugate (Valentine’s Day). “By highlighting a strong pool of diverse candidates we hope the program will be an important resource for executives who are acquiring or developing feature film scripts.”

Each honoree will be paired with an established WGAW feature writer who will serve as a career mentor. “I especially look forward to the mentorship aspect of this program,” said FAP honoree Paula Yoo. “As a TV writer/producer and novelist, feature writing always struck me as the perfect marriage of both worlds. I love creating stories in this genre, and I'm grateful to the WGAW's Diversity Department for this opportunity.”

“The decision to target minority writers in this pilot program was based in significant part on data contained in the WGAW’s 2011 Hollywood Writers Report. Statistically, minority writers are the most underemployed group of writers in feature films. In fact, in 2009 the employment of minority writers in feature films declined for the first time in a decade – from 6% to 5% of all writers employed in this segment,” said WGAW Director of Diversity Kimberly Myers.

For FAP consideration, qualified minority writers were invited to submit a current, feature-length, unproduced spec script. Entries were read and scored on a blind submission basis by a panel of judges comprised of WGAW members recruited by the FAP Advisory Committee.

For press photos of the WGAW’s FAP honorees, please click here.

Photo credit: Michael Jones

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.