Writing Fellowship

Your Story Begins Here

The HBOAccess® Writing Fellowship provides mentorship for up to 8 diverse, emerging storytellers. Following a one-week intensive of master classes, participants are immersed in 8 months of mentoring by HBO creative executives, as each participant develops a script suitable for HBO® or Cinemax®.

  • What is the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship?

    The HBOAccess Writing Fellowship is designed to give emerging, diverse writers the opportunity to develop a half-hour or hour script suitable for HBO or Cinemax.

    The program will select up to 8 diverse writers to take part in a series of master classes held over one week in July at the HBO campus in Santa Monica. Classes will consist of discussions with HBO executives and showrunners and will focus on the craft of writing, including structure, story and character, as well as the business aspects of securing an agent and effective networking.

    Each participant will then be paired with an HBO or Cinemax development executive, who will serve as his/her mentor over the course of 8 months. Mentoring can be done remotely or in person pending whichever is logistically feasible. In addition, we will hold monthly group meetings during which projects will continue to be work-shopped.

  • What is the submission process?

    The submission portal will open on Film Freeway at 12pm ET/9am PT on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. The submission portal will close on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 12pm ET/9am PT.

    Candidates are required to supply the following:

    • Film Freeway application
    • Resume or bio
    • Original scripted narrative material
    • Answer to short essay questions
    • Agree to terms and conditions
  • Will waivers be offered and accepted?

    No late submissions will be accepted. No waivers will be offered.

  • What kind of material should I submit?

    Submissions must be an original scripted half-hour comedy pilot or one-hour drama pilot, one-act play or full-length play. No feature film scripts, webisodes, short stories, novels, graphic novels or blogs will be accepted.

  • Who is eligible to apply?

    Any diverse writer, 21 or over, who meets the application requirements.

  • I am not 21 now, but what if I turn 21 by the time the program begins?

    Feel free to apply if you are over 21 by the time the program starts in July.

  • What is the definition of diversity?

    For the purposes of the HBOAccess program, diversity is defined as those who identify as any of the following: Asian, Pacific Islander, Sub-Continental Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, Middle Eastern. Diversity is also defined as those who identify as female or transgender.

  • Are people with disabilities considered diverse?

    Yes, provided they also identify in one of the above categories.

  • How about LGBTQ?

    If you also consider yourself to be a female or a person of color, then yes, feel free to apply.

  • Are there any guidelines on who can apply?

    Yes, applicants may have previously served as staff writer for up to 6 episodes. They should not have had a feature film released by a studio, independently or shown in major film festivals. They can also not have had a play professionally produced on Broadway. Ideally, applicants should be interested in staffing on an HBO or Cinemax series.

  • What is the personal statement prompt?

    Essay prompts are generated randomly by the Film Freeway website. The prompt may ask for you to tell us about your inspiration, challenges, history or influences.

  • Can writing teams apply?

    Yes, teams can apply; however, no more than 2 people can constitute a team. Teams should cut and paste both resumes into the resume section and should answer the prompt as a team.

  • What if only one of the team qualifies?

    If any part of the team qualifies under the above guidelines, then the team is considered eligible to apply.

  • When does the application process open?

    March 1, 2017 at 12pm ET/9am PT.

  • When will it close?

    The submission portal will close on March 4, 2017 at 12pm ET/9am PT.

  • Can I still apply if I am represented by an agent or manager?

    Yes, you are still eligible to apply.

  • Are there any costs to the candidates?

    No, it is free of charge.

  • Is the program open only to those interested in television?

    This program is for those who would like to work in hour and half-hour series television.

  • Who are the mentors?

    Each participant will be paired with a creative executive from HBO Programming, HBO Films, or Cinemax.

  • When will interviews be held?

    Interviews will be held in late May 2017.

  • How will the selection process play out?

    In May, we will choose 20 semi-finalists who will be invited to take part in a phone interview and asked to submit a second script. Of those 20, 12 of them will be asked to interview in person with our team of HBO executives. At that time, candidates will be required to pitch an idea that he/she will be working on throughout the program. From those 12, eight participants will be chosen as our HBOAccess Writer Fellows.

  • Will I have to submit a second sample?

    Yes, but only if you are chosen to advance to the final-round interviews.

  • Can that second sample be a blog, essay, late-night packet or short story?

    No, but the second sample can be a feature film screenplay, one act play, full play, one hour or ½ hour television script.

  • Will I have to pitch an idea?

    Anyone chosen to advance to final-round interviews will be asked to come prepared to pitch their idea which will be developed during the 8-month mentorship. Concepts can be for either a half-hour comedy for HBO or a one-hour drama suitable for HBO or Cinemax.

  • Can I pitch more than one idea?

    Yes, you may pitch up to three ideas.

  • Do I have to be in the WGA to apply?


  • What days/times will the master classes take place?

    The classes will take place July 17–21, from 10am–5pm, at the HBO campus in Santa Monica.

  • Will HBO pay for travel and lodging for the one-week course?

    HBO will provide a small stipend to those selected. However, all participants in the program will be responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.

  • Do I have to be in LA for the 8-month mentoring process?

    No, mentoring can be done remotely via phone, email or Skype. How you connect with your mentor is up to the two of you.

  • Must I be a U.S. citizen in order to apply?


  • What if I am not a U.S. citizen, but have the right to work or a work visa or permit?

    No, you are not eligible for consideration.

  • Can HBO employees apply?

    Those who work for HBO directly are ineligible for the program.

  • Is there a submission cap on the number of entries?


  • What if I am out of the country during the days that the Film Freeway is accepting submissions?

    We recommend that you find a computer with a strong internet connection, figure out the time difference between countries, and apply. Since there is no submission cap, if you get your application in before the deadline date, your submission will be entered.