The Norman Jewison Film Program - Writers' Lab

2022 PROGRAM DATES


    APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN

    APPLICATION DEADLINE:

    JANUARY 31, 2022 @ 5:00 PM EST

    PROGRAM STARTS:

    JULY 2022

    PROGRAM ENDS

    DECEMBER 2022

      Exact dates for the 2022 program are to be determined.
      To receive email notifications regarding key program dates, please SIGN-UP HERE.
Overview
HOW IT WORKS
APPLY

WHAT IS IT?

The Writers’ Lab is one of four Labs in The Norman Jewison Film Program.

It is a 5 & 1/2-month, full-time program for up to five (5) writers a year and provides the opportunity to:

  • Build your confidence by exercising narrative, cinematic, and technical storytelling skills
  • Establish strong relationships through collaboration with directors, editors, producers, and other key creatives
  • Engage with actors to workshop your scripted material
  • Define what your unique offerings are within the screen industry
  • Generate and develop work that showcases your voice
  • Help package your projects for the marketplace
  • See some of your written work onscreen, including a fully realized proof of concept to showcase your voice and writing, and to promote your feature

Ultimately, the experience in the Writers’ Lab gives you a host of new relationships and enhanced skills, an expanded slate, a professionally produced proof of concept, and a primary project or two at an advanced development stage to further showcase your talent, along with an understanding of the next steps needed to advance your career. 


IS THIS THE PROGRAM FOR YOU?

This program is designed for emerging/mid-level writers who are self-driven and committed storytellers, who are open and ready to explore new approaches and creative partnerships, and are eager for artistic collaboration.

We are looking for writers who have:

  • Professional writing experience and a growing body of onscreen work that showcases your voice, personal perspective, and storytelling
  • A strong desire to collaborate with other artists/creators throughout the script-to-screen process, and to broaden your creative and business relationships
  • An interest in furthering your understanding of the changing marketplace and professional opportunities
  • A project and/or slate that you are eager to further develop

We are looking for writers who bring different points of view, different types of stories, and different experiences and skills to the table, working across all narrative genres and styles.

You can have experience in various forms of filmmaking, or can be transitioning from other forms of writing (plays, novels, journalism, video games, etc.), but your focus while in the Lab will be on your narrative storytelling.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.


TUITION & FEES

Tuition is $8,000 CAD. 

Through the generosity of donors and partners, the CFC offers financial assistance, including full or partial scholarships and bursaries, to help offset tuition fees and additional costs associated with participating in our core programs each year. For more information, please visit: cfccreates.com/cfc-financial-assistance.

Please note that there is a $100 CAD application fee via PayPal for all applications to The Norman Jewison Film Program. If the application fee is a barrier to applying, please contact: programs@cfccreates.com.


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

The CFC is committed to providing accessible practices that are in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you require accommodation at any stage of the application process, or have any questions regarding appropriate accommodations, please contact Deborah Fallows, Executive Lead, People & Culture, at: dfallows@cfccreates.com.


CONTACT

For questions and clarifications, please contact programs@cfccreates.com.

HOW IT WORKS

The Writers’ Lab experience is a combination of individually focused mentorship, Lab-specific and cross-discipline workshops, and sessions targeting the artistic, collaborative, practical, and business aspects of writing and creating.

Each writer in the Lab will have different trajectories and goals coming into and upon leaving the program, so we take a targeted approach to individual mentorship and project development, consulting with you along the way.

This program is designed to engage a multitude of working professionals on short-term contracts as workshop leaders, consultants and mentors, that best reflect the needs of each cohort. We do not operate with a full-time/permanent faculty.

To ensure we have the flexibility to build the right program activities for each individual and cohort, we do not have a set curriculum. Elements of the program, including mentors, guests, and workshops, will change annually according to the needs of the current cohort, and the projects in question, while continuing to reflect the core components outlined below.

The program is full-time, with the expectation that this is a priority for you. We schedule a lot of activities, as well as pockets of time for you to apply feedback and advance your work, to take time to digest the learning, and to regroup/reassess as needed.

In general, the program runs Monday to Friday during business hours, with exceptions made for guest availability, and for production activities as necessary. We cluster in-person program days wherever possible, with other days being set up for virtual/remote participation as appropriate.

The Writers’ Lab is designed to be highly collaborative with the other Labs (Directors, Producers, Editors), and wherever possible, with the talent in CFC’s other core programs, including the CBC Actors Conservatory and the Slaight Music Residency. This Lab is for writers who are ready to collaborate with other artists to develop and realize their work, as a way of expanding your professional skills, your work, and your creative process.

Writers retain all original IP to the projects and work that you bring into the program to develop. The CFC does not take any ownership of underlying IP, but we do own the completed produced exercises, short films, and showcases, as all insurance, agreements, and ongoing liabilities are with the CFC.


1. DEVELOPING VOICE & CREATIVE VISION

Writers explore different practices and approaches, to build a range of experiences you can draw upon when examining and evolving your work and process, through:

  • Case studies with other creators, which help break down a variety of approaches, styles, and work
  • Hands-on workshops and production exercises, to give you the opportunity to see your creative work realized, and improve your cinematic storytelling and screenwriting skills
  • Individual coaching throughout, to increase your ability to better articulate and execute on your vision at all stages of the creative process, and support your exploration of what makes you and your projects distinct

2. BUILDING COMMUNITY & STRONG CREATIVE PARTNERSHIPS

Writers expand your understanding of how best to respect and engage with directors, producers, actors, editors, and other key collaborators through practical interaction, workshops, and mentorship.

The opportunity to work through artistic differences, develop and navigate effective communication styles, and discover your best approach all serve to deliver on this component.

As you work together with other creatives in a variety of ways on several exercises and projects, you will build relationships, expand your networks, and ideally forge long-lasting partnerships.


3. UNDERSTANDING THE BUSINESS OF WRITING & THE MARKETPLACE

Writers meet with a range of industry professionals from all facets of our business, both traditional and non-traditional, gaining valuable insights on key considerations for content creation, best and evolving practices, and feedback on your projects/slate and larger career strategy.

These sessions and meetings are meant to help bridge the gap between your creative aspirations and the business, while also expanding your own professional network.


4. PROJECT ACCELERATION & PACKAGING

Writers come into the program with a primary narrative feature project, and a project slate which reflects your vision across different genres and formats.

Primary projects will be actively developed, through workshopping and/or actor table reads, as well as feedback from mentors, consultants, and peers.

Throughout the Lab, you will work to identify and articulate the distinctive elements of these projects, while developing your primary project/script, the pitch, and the creative package.

You will also work to develop and produce a fully realized proof of concept in the program, which speaks to your distinct voice, and showcases your feature.


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

The CFC is committed to providing accessible practices that are in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you require accommodation at any stage of the application process, or have any questions regarding appropriate accommodations, please contact Deborah Fallows, Executive Lead, People & Culture, at: dfallows@cfccreates.com.


CONTACT

For questions and clarifications, please contact programs@cfccreates.com.

APPLY

WHAT YOU NEED

As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete an online form, as well as upload a PDF comprised of your Resumé/CV and Filmography/Writing Credits. 

1. LETTER OF INTENT [MAX 1000 WORDS]

This is our introduction to you! Please include a description of what your immediate and long term goals are as a writer/creator. How might the Lab specifically help you advance your goals, and what aspects of the script-to-screen process do you want to focus on? 

2. RESUMÉ / CURRICULUM VITAE [MAX TWO (2) PAGES]
and FILMOGRAPHY / WRITING CREDITS [MAX ONE (1) PAGE]

Your Resumé/Curriculum Vitae should contain an up-to-date account of your experience, education, and/or training.

Your Filmography/Writing Credits are a rundown of your work to date, listing any applicable credits you have from film, television, theatre, novels, short stories, published writing, etc. 

Your Filmography/Writing Credits should include:

  • The title of the project.
  • Your role(s) on the project.
  • The year the piece was written.
  • The format of the project (feature, short, series, play, novel, article etc.)
  • Other key creatives you worked with (writer, director, producer, editor, if applicable).
  • The development or production status (was it produced/performed/published?)

Please upload a single PDF file [MAX THREE (3) PAGES]. Be sure to include your full name at the top of each page, as well as the title of the document.

3. Primary Project Description

This is a description of the primary project (feature film) you are most keen to develop/workshop during the Lab. 

You will be asked to provide:

  • The title of the project.
  • Your role(s) on the project.
  • Other key creatives affiliated with the project (co-writer, director, producer, editor, if applicable).
  • The genre.
  • A synopsis [MAX 300 WORDS].
  • An artist statement explaining your creative vision [MAX 500 WORDS].
  • The development stage (outline, treatment, draft, etc.)
  • The development history (if applicable).
  • The funding history (if applicable).
  • If the project is an adaptation.
  • If you have the option/rights to the material.
4. PROJECT SLATE

Your slate is a rundown of film, television, documentary, and/or web projects you are interested in exploring, or have on the go, that have yet to be produced. You may submit up to five (5) projects. You do not need to include your primary project outlined above in your project slate. 

You will be asked to provide:

  • The title of the project.
  • Your role(s) on the project.
  • Other key creatives affiliated with the project (writer, director, producer, editor, if applicable).
  • The format of the project (feature, short, series, web, etc.)
  • The genre.
  • A brief synopsis [MAX 75 WORDS].
  • The development stage (outline, treatment, draft, etc.)
  • The development history (if applicable).
  • The funding history (if applicable).
  • If the project is an adaptation.
  • If you have the option/rights to the material.
5. Feature Screenplay

Submit the screenplay that you believe best showcases your writing and original voice. Submissions should be an un-produced, feature length script in proper screenplay format, between 80-110 pages. This screenplay cannot be co-written. Your script should be proof-read and clearly marked with your name, the feature title, and draft date on the cover page.

You will be asked to provide the details below. If this is the same as your primary project (above), you may use the same description:

  • The title of the project.
  • Your role(s) on the project.
  • Other key creatives affiliated with the project (co-writer, director, producer, editor, if applicable).
  • The genre.
  • A synopsis [MAX 300 WORDS].
  • An artist statement explaining your creative vision [MAX 500 WORDS].
  • The development stage (outline, treatment, draft, etc.)
  • The development history (if applicable).
  • The funding history (if applicable).
  • If the project is an adaptation.
  • If you have the option/rights to the material.
6. YOUR ADVOCATES

Please provide us with contact information (phone and email) for up to two (2) people who are familiar with you, your work, your process, and/or your creative aspirations. We may reach out to your advocate(s) to arrange a phone or video call.


OUR SELECTION PROCESS

APPLICATION

Please review the application requirements in advance of submitting.

All applicants will be notified via email of their application status throughout the process.

Due to the high volume of applicants, feedback will only be offered to shortlisted applicants.

INTERVIEW

A pre-selection committee comprised of industry professionals and key program staff will be assembled to create a shortlist of applicants selected for a final interview, after a thorough review of your application materials.

Prior to the final interview, shortlisted artists will be put in touch with a recent program alum to answer any questions you have about the program design, outcomes, expectations, and the interview itself. We will also share in advance who is on the final selection committee.

Our pre- and final selection committees will reflect a cross-section of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, and will include CFC alum/working professionals.

The interview is structured as a conversation with each artist/applicant, as a way to get to know more about your work, your process, and your goals. It is a key step in helping the committee determine their final decisions.

The CFC will set up virtual/remote interviews with all shortlisted applicants.

The CFC will provide feedback to all shortlisted candidates who request it, regardless of the outcome.

Applicants selected for the program will be contacted within a few weeks after the interviews. 


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

The CFC is committed to providing accessible practices that are in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you require accommodation at any stage of the application process, or have any questions regarding appropriate accommodations, please contact Deborah Fallows, Executive Lead, People & Culture, at: dfallows@cfccreates.com.


CONTACT

For questions and clarifications, please contact programs@cfccreates.com.