The Writers Guild Foundation’s Veterans Writing Project

Veterans Wrilting Project group workshop

via TVWriter™ Press Service

The mission of the Writers Guild Foundation’s Veterans Writing Project is to identify emerging writers from United States military backgrounds and provide them with the tools and insights to nurture their passion for writing and successfully navigate the entertainment industry.

We do this in two phases over a yearlong program: A weekend-long retreat, and monthly follow-up workshops and special events. Each military veteran is paired with WGA members. Our writer-mentors represent some of the most beloved movies and television series of the past and present, and are committed to guiding the voices of the future.


When is it?
The program’s kickoff event – the weekend retreat – takes place in spring 2019. Ongoing mentorship workshops and networking events will continue each month through spring 2020 on weekday evenings.

Where is it?
All sessions take place at the WGF’s Shavelson-Webb Library in Los Angeles, CA.

How much does it cost?
The program is free. NOTE: those from outside the Los Angeles area are expected to cover their own transportation and lodging costs.

Am I eligible?
We encourage U.S. military veterans and military service members who are interested in the craft and business of screenwriting and storytelling to apply. Applicants must be 21+ years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Should applicants have writing experience?
Writing experience is not a requirement — what is most important is that applicants show a passion for the craft and business of writing and a commitment to completing 1 screenplay or TV pilot during the program.

How many vets does it serve?
About 50 veterans are accepted to the program per year.

How can I apply?
The application window to apply to the 2019-2020 Veterans Writing Project is now open. View the application here. Please read instructions carefully before submitting.

What is the deadline to apply?
The deadline to apply to the 2019-2020 Veterans Writing Project is Monday, February 25 at 11:59pm PST.

Will there be an interview?
WGF staff and/or selection committee members may reach out to select applicants for a phone or Skype interview.

I am a WGA member; how can I help?
If you are a WGA member and you are interested in mentoring, please contact Libbie at And please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.

I am not a WGA member or a veteran; how can I help?
Our volunteer needs are currently met, but you may email Libbie at for more information on how to give your time to the Veterans Writing Project. And please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.

The application window to apply to the 2019-2020 Veterans Writing Project is now open!


Please subscribe to the Project’s email list here to receive updates about the program.

Are You Ready for the Women Writing Competition?

Another reason to admire Kyra Sedgwick:

TVWriter™ Press Service

Broadening its mission to cultivate opportunities for and about women, SeriesFest is proud to partner with Big Swing Productions (founded by Emmy®- and Golden Globe®-winner Kyra Sedgwick, Meredith Bagby and Valerie Stadler) for the Women Writing Competition to discover and celebrate bold new series with a distinctly female perspective.

The script writing competition gives female artists the opportunity to share diverse ideas through visual media and create unique and powerful roles for women. The winning artist(s) will receive a year-long development deal with Big Swing Productions and a live read of her script with professional actors.


Interested participants should submit a pilot script for a female-centric episodic story along with a series regular and recurring character descriptions. We are accepting concepts for a 30-minute or 60-minute series. Visit the Women Writing Competition submission page for more information on guidelines, entry materials, entry fees and key dates.

All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges. Finalists will be notified in September 2019 to set up meetings with Big Swing Productions and SeriesFest. A winner will be announced as soon as possible following the interviews. Unregistered submissions will not be reviewed!

Read it all at SERIESFEST.COM

A Message from TVWriter™’s First Contributing Editor, Herbie J Pilato

by Herbie J Pilato

Last Friday was the official pub-date of my new book, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, on the 2nd Anniversary of Mary’s passing.

Below are two excerpts of the book; one from the Television Academy and; the other in Closer Magazine.

And on the left is a photo expressing my utter delight of seeing this book come into being.

I hope you enjoy the pic and the excerpts.

With my smile,

Herbie J

The Television Academy/ excerpt of MARY

The Closer Magazine excerpt of MARY

NOTE FROM LB: On the not-so-off chance you’d like to buy Herbie’s great new read, is available at Amazon.Com, RIGHT HERE

7 Screenwriting Tips from – Oh, You Guessed! – Screenwriters

The mother and father of all showbiz trade maags, Variety.Com comes up with a winner for writers. In other words, this is about writing because that’s how we and our viewers win, yeah?

Here’s what Variety has to say about this vid:

Variety recently sat down with some of our 2016 Writers to Watch, including the scribes behind “Moana” and “Sully,” at the Whistler Film Festival where they gave us a few tips on how to become a successful screenwriter in Hollywood.

Making a No Budget Film? Here’s What You Need to Know

Well, some of it anyway. (We don’t want to start over-promising this early in the year. Give us a couple of weeks, though, and then…hehehe:)

4 Solutions for No Budget Film Problems
by Rose Goldthorp

Never mind solutions: the challenge is where to begin with the problems.

This post is for all of you newbies, like myself. This coming year I intend to make my fourth and (possibly) fifth feature. They are No Budget features, as I still have another year at University and am thus skint. Apologies for teaching people to suck eggs, when I am but an egg myself. But you never know. There may be an odd but useful nugget in here.

Here are my suggested solutions for no budget film problems:

1) Keep it Simple

A lot of this arises from the script. Limit your number of locations. You can keep changing them and ensuring that these changes contrast with each other, but don’t have scenes that mean that the cast and crew have to move great distances or even go to other terrain that requires an overnight stay.

Yes, Gareth Evans did it in a van  with his film Monsters, but his was a micro budget ($400k), not a No Budget.

Keep it live action, unless you have a MA in graphics and a few years experience in animation yourself (because you are very unlikely to find a collaborator for extensive animation work). This means that you avoid sci-fi and fantasy genres. Also, avoid costumes. So again, this means no sci-fi, fantasy, or period drama.

Finally, use your own intellectual property,not another writer’s. This way you avoid paying both options and rights as well as having to argue with your writer as to why you just don’t think that septuagenarian, lesbian pornography would work in this TV feature (sic!)

Humble admissions of idiocy: I usually use several building locations, and lots of different outdoors ones, too. So, yeh, my cast and crew get lost, despite detailed instructions and maps, and it’s like herding cats. Did do a sci-fi, but it was very simple. Also, the VFX I have done, again, have been very simple, e.g. with a ghost, or a monster in the fridge. And, yep, I did a 3/4 hr. featurette, set in the Edwardian era. Lovely people loaned me costumes for credits, only, but, ohhhhhh, the hassle of not fitting, and pinning, and different characters in different scenes, but she is wearing his spats and why won’t this bow tie tie? If you must get a period wardrobe, you must get a wardrobe person, too!

2) Only Pick People Who Want a Career in Film

Cast and crew who want clips for reels are the ones to go for. These are the people who seriously want to get on with their careers. They’re are not doing it for a laugh and will not suddenly realize that their hangover feels better in bed than out of it on your shooting day.

Early professional people will still work for credits and a share in possible profits. I have managed to get actors from NZ’s Shortland Street and the Maori TV channel. Mind you, when I have been let down, I have had terrible sweeties step in at the last moment. One guy, when phoned at 8:30 a.m. one morning, dropped everything and came in. I found out later that his own firm had just started scaffolding an office block tower that morhing, so he was unable to supervise them (I hope he had a number two.)

3) Use a Wiki Page

I started with a Wiki page at the onset of this mad career so I could have organizational lists, shooting schedules, carpools, costumes, locations, and so on to share with others and give me something to point them to.

If you have a website, you can just shove the Wiki page on one bit of it. That means you need to keep sending shout-outs on social media that say, “Look at my Wiki page!”

I try to get people to look at least twice a day. This is because I constantly have people texting or phoning saying that their Aunty Bertha has had an aneurysm and can they miss tomorrow? Or, like my last lead said, her boss had just stopped two out of her three weeks of holidays (the swine). To anticipate this and start fire-fighting asap, make sure you’re always asking people if they are happy with their forthcoming dates and times. (Yunno, nonchalantly, while  putting the non-flat wheel back on your megalithic Volvo estate.)

4) Keep Your Sense of Humour

This is the entertainment business. You are not dealing with ruptured colons or emergency root canals.
You are not rescuing old ladies from the roofs of moving trains, and, sorry, your work does not advance the cause of democracy in North Korea.

So what have you got to lose?

The good thing about making film at this level is that you don’t have investors sharpening their knives at you. At the worst, you have to cobble bits of footage together as a featurette/short.

Next worst is that you don’t get any screenings or awards. So? You all got some credits and experience and can move on to the next project. Don’t reproach your colleagues. You are sure they are trying their best, even if they did say, “I LIKE that hat” instead of “I like THAT hat.”

Look to the poor blighters’ health. Did they have brekky? Give them snacks and ensure they bring water bottles, sun hats, and lotion, if outdoors. Make sure everyone has transport home, especially the young and elderly.

Finally, enjoy yourself. Tell yourself, this could be the supermarket, the office, or the factory floor. Think about that and smile. (No gritted teeth, now.)

Originally published here at Stage 32,  where you’ll also find the pictures we cut out…and lots more info about film and TV.