Can I apply for the 1497 Writers Lab if I don’t live in America or if I’m not a US Citizen?

Absolutely. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this inaugural Lab will be conducted virtually, so location isn’t a barrier. However, please note that our application guidelines state that applicants must understand that these scripts and the 1497 Writers Lab are targeting the American film market. Keep that audience and industry in mind when submitting a script (for example, English should be the primary language of the script.)


Can writing teams submit?

Definitely. However, if any member of the team is not of South Asian descent, they won’t be permitted to go through the Lab. 1497’s mission is specifically to support talent of South Asian descent.


Can I submit more than one screenplay?

No. But kudos to you for having multiple projects ready! Choose the one that puts your best foot forward. Also please note: if a writing team submits a screenplay, that counts as one application for both writers.


Can I apply with one screenplay and workshop a different project during the Lab?

No. The screenplay you apply with will be used to match you to your mentor, among other things. Be sure the screenplay you apply with is the one you want to develop.


Does my script need to be about America?

Not at all. The goal of this Lab is to empower and uplift screenwriters of South Asian descent (whatever they may want to write) and introduce them to the American film industry. So the script doesn’t need to be about America specifically, but keep in mind that the film’s audience will be primarily Americans.


Does my script need to be culturally specific to the South Asian experience or feature South Asian characters?

Only if that’s the story you want to tell. Our mission is to support South Asian writers, not just South Asian stories. We want you to be able to write whatever you want, in whatever genre you want!


Is the 1497 Writers Lab only for feature film screenplays?

Yes. However, we are hoping to launch more programs in the future to support talent of South Asian descent in other professions in the industry. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to hear about future programming.


Do I have to fill out the application in one sitting? 

Yes. So keep in mind that in addition to basic contact/demographic info, the application asks for a bio (max 150 words), artistic statement (max 500 words), script development history (max 500 words), logline (max 50 words), script synopsis (max 750 words), and the first 10 pages of the screenplay uploaded as a PDF. You’ll also be asked to confirm that you are age 18 or over, that you’ve read and agreed to the 1497 Writers Lab Submission Agreement, and that you’ve paid the $25 application fee via PayPal (NOTE: this fee is WAIVED for applications submitted from July 10-24, 2020).


Does my title page count towards the “first 10 pages” of my script for the application?

No. In fact, to help us with our blind review process, please omit the title page entirely.


What is the “blind review” process?

Every application will first undergo a screening by someone not involved with the scoring process, which will remove identifying features such as name, gender, and nationality, making the applications “blind.” The applications will then be read and scored on a rubric by two of three 1497 team members, who will use these blind reviews to whittle the pool to the ten semifinalists.


What does this mean: “The ten semifinalists will also receive feedback on their scripts after the three Mentees are announced”?

The ten semifinalists’ scripts will be read by SIX people, half of whom will be part of a Script Advisory Team made up of folx who read and give feedback to scripts for a living. They will each score the full script on a rubric and provide written feedback. The ten semifinalists will then receive six paragraphs of feedback total (one from each person who read/reviewed the script), regardless of whether or not they are named one of the three finalists.


If I submit my screenplay, do I still own the rights to my work?

Yes of course. It’s yours! Please read the 1497 Writers Lab Submission Agreement for more information. If accepted to the Lab as one of the three finalists, there are additional Agreements to sign with your Mentor and Advisors, as well as an NDA, to further protect your work.


Why does 1497 define South Asia as comprised of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka?

1497 is currently following the definition of “South Asia” as laid out by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), The World Bank, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), among others, which all recognize Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as, collectively, South Asia. However, we acknowledge that geographical definitions are inherently political and in many cases, are the result of conflict drawn by those who colonized and occupied South Asia. For this reason, we consider our definition of the countries that comprise South Asia to be a living definition; it will evolve as our own knowledge and understanding grows. We are currently consulting scholars of South Asia, including at UC Berkeley, to help us navigate our efforts in de-colonizing the definition of South Asia and aim to partner with a historian or scholar full time to guide us on this journey.


I don’t have a screenplay ready. Will there be a Lab next year?

Yes! Our intent is for the 1497 Writers Lab to be an annual program. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to hear when applications open for future Labs and other programs.

Ready to Apply?

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