Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CBS Writers Mentoring Program Now Accepting Applications

Making an Impact: In its eleven years, a total of seventy (70) emerging diverse writers have graduated from the CBS Writers Mentoring Program. Thirty-three (33) careers have been launched. The goal of the program is to positively impact the presence of diverse writers throughout the industry.

How it Works

There are many different paths writers can follow to get their first foothold in being hired in television. As part of its ongoing commitment to create additional access for writers of diverse backgrounds CBS' Diversity Institute has launched a different kind of writers program which highlights one of those paths.
The focus of this six month program is on opening doors: providing opportunities to build relationships with network executives and show runners; to support new and emerging writers in their efforts to improve their craft; and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed.
The Writers Mentoring Program is not employment and there is no monetary compensation. It is, instead, a structured program of career development, support, and personal access to executives and the decision-making processes, with the goal of preparing aspiring writers for later employment opportunities in television.
Each participant will be teamed with two different mentors.
  • One is a CBS network or studio executive with whom they will meet on a regular basis, to discuss their work, get creative feedback on their material and get advice and support in furthering their career.
  • The other is a show mentor who is a senior-level writer on a current CBS drama or comedy series. This relationship builds over the course of the Program and is focused on helping the participant with career goals.
Once a week, participants will be invited to attend a small workshop-style meeting with various CBS show runners and other industry professionals. Speakers include executive producers, agents, managers, development and current executives and show runners. The purpose of these gatherings is for participants to gain a better understanding of how the business works from many different perspectives as well as creating the opportunity to make critical networking connections.
Another important part of the Program is the opportunity for each participant to spend time observing in a writing room, as well as in the CBS current and development departments.
Each participant will have help in creating a rigorous career action plan and there will be on-going support in evaluating and achieving those goals. Another important benefit of the Program is the development of a close-knit peer support group that will sustain participants through the program and beyond.
The CBS Writers Mentoring Program helps aspiring writers to understand the unwritten rules of breaking in and moving up. It is a combination of mentoring and networking opportunities. Program opportunities such as mentoring, workshops, and observing can be scheduled around participants' existing work commitments. In order for a participant to get the most out of the Program a meaningful commitment of time and effort are required.

It's been found that in order to derive the greatest benefit from the Program, participants should be available to 1) attend a once a week (evening) workshop and 2) attend meetings or observe in various situations for a minimum of five full days (not necessarily in sequence) over the course of the six-month Program.
The primary focus of The CBS Diversity Institute’s Writers Mentoring Program is to provide access and opportunities for talented and motivated diverse writers. Aspiring diverse writers with a strong desire to write for CBS television series are encouraged to apply. You must be 21 or older to be eligible.
All completed application materials must be received between March 2, 2015 and May 1, 2015. Any submissions received before March 2nd or with a postmark after May 1st, 2015 will not be considered. No hand delivered submissions will be accepted. Finalists will be notified in mid September 2015 (or such later date as may be determined by CBS). The Program is scheduled to begin in late September 2015 and continues through April 1, 2016. CBS reserves the right to make adjustments to Program schedule.
Application Materials
Each submission must be complete in order to be considered. A complete application packet includes:
  1. Application
  2. Letter of Interest
  3. Work Resume or Bio
  4. Two (2) Writing Samples: one (1) half-hour or one-hour episodic spec script based on a current prime time television series which aired new episodes during the 2014/2015 season on any network or cable channel and one (1) original work of writing - (original pilot, stage play or short fiction story). Original material should match in tone the spec script.
  5. A signed and notarized Submission Release form for the writing samples.
Contact information must include an e-mail address for further communication from CBS. Applications cannot be processed until they are complete. Writing samples will not be returned.
Mail the completed packet to:
CBS Diversity Institute,
Writers Mentoring Program
4024 Radford Avenue
Broadcast Center, 3rd Floor
Studio City, CA 91604 

For more information, including application instructions, click HERE.

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