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Writing

For over 25 years, the Disney | ABC Writing Program has been lauded as one of the most successful writer programs in the entertainment industry. The one-year program is the only program of its kind sanctioned by the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW). The program has launched the careers of many writers, including: Maria Jacquemetton (Mad Men); Jane Espenson (Once Upon A Time); Saladin K. Patterson (Psych); Bryan Oh (Chicago Fire); George Mastras (Breaking Bad); and
Veena Sud (The Killing).

Created in 1990 in partnership with the WGAW, the Disney | ABC Writing Program is based in
Los Angeles and is widely recognized as one of the entertainment industry’s most coveted
writing programs.

About the Writing Program

Writers become employees of Disney│ABC Television Group (DATG) and will be paid a weekly salary of $961.54 ($50,000 annualized) plus any applicable benefits for which they are eligible in accordance with the then-current Company benefits. The one-year program begins in February and ends in February of the following year. Please note that time frames are subject
to change.

The primary goal for Program Writers is to staff on a DATG series as a staff writer during the one-year program; however, staffing is not guaranteed. The program also provides access to executives, producers and literary representatives through various meetings and events designed to facilitate relationships that can prove invaluable in developing a television writing career. For at least the first month the Program Writers participate in a curriculum designed to better prepare them for staffing consideration. Past activities have included workshops led by veteran television writers, producers and Disney │ABC Writing Program alumni; improvisational workshops; and networking mixers with DATG current programming and development executives.

From self-branding to creating new writing samples, the goal is to present DATG executives and producers with viable writing candidates who will make invaluable contributions in a
writers’ room.

"The Writing Program offers not just the possibility of staffing on a show, but an encouraging place to strengthen your writing, establish your room skills and interact with network and studio executives. In a town of closed doors, the Program presents one of the scarce keys to breaking into the business."

- Jason George (2012)

Co-Producer, Scandal

REQUIREMENTS

Applicants must be able to legally work in the United States and be at least 21 years of age. Television production experience is not required, but strongly recommended. Past participants who entered the program with television production experience (e.g. writers’ assistant, script coordinator, etc…) have found that knowledge helpful in establishing a writing career. Those applying must submit a completed application and the following.

1) An original pilot script that captures the writer’s unique tone, style and point of view.
2) A spec script for a live-action cable, broadcast or streaming-service (e.g. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu) series airing during the current television season. The timeline for your spec must reflect the series’ current timeline. Applicants are encouraged to select a series that is well-established in at least its second season. The spec script should demonstrate the writer’s ability to adapt to an existing format while at the same time infusing a unique point of view and sensibility.

Material should tonally translate to the type of programming broadcast on DATG series. Both samples must be live-action content. Animation samples of any form are
not accepted.

3) Completed application and signed release forms for each script.
4) Résumé outlining chronological salaried employment (may include entertainment and
non-entertainment positions). Only list jobs or positions where compensation was received with the exception of entertainment industry internships and full-time volunteer work at non-profits.  Positions must have been held within the past 15 years (two pages or less).
5) Essay reflecting the applicant’s unique life experiences and personal stories which will demonstrate the writer’s ability to make distinct contributions to a writers’ room. Please refer to the application instructions made available during the open submission period for the essay question.

6) Letters of recommendation (optional) from entertainment industry professionals who have read the applicant’s material and can comment on the applicant’s ability. This would include network, studio and production company executives, writers/producers, episodic and feature directors and educators (e.g., professors or writing instructors) who have entertainment industry experience and/or produced credits. Letters from representation (e.g. agents, managers or attorneys) will not be accepted. Letters must be on either corporate or personal letterhead listing a name, contact information and dated in the current calendar year. It is recommended that those signing recommendation letters include either a title or a brief introduction indicating their position or affiliation. A maximum of two (2) recommendation letter(s) are strongly encouraged, but are not mandatory.

DO NOT USE STAPLES, PAPERCLIPS OR FOLDERS OF ANY TYPE WHEN SUBMITTING
APPLICATIONS. Submission envelopes should only contain the above listed items.
Submissions received without elements 1-5 will be disqualified and destroyed.

Please read the FAQs for additional information and details.

  • WHEN TO APPLY

    The annual submission period for the Writing Program opens during the month of May. Specific dates vary year to year. Follow us on Facebook to receive updates and alerts about the submission period.

  • HOW TO APPLY

    Visit this website during the submission period to obtain the application and instructions. The application is only available during the open submission period. Applications will not be accepted prior to the submission period opening date and submissions MUST be postmarked no later than 11:59 pm on the designated deadline date. You are not required to send your application
    via registered mail or through a courier service, however it is recommended for tracking purposes to ensure proof of delivery. Due to the high volume of submissions received, we are unable to confirm receipt of any
    application submitted.

  • NOTIFICATION

    Due to the volume of submissions received, those not accepted will not be notified. Please check our Facebook page for announcements regarding individuals selected to join the Writing Program. Typically finalists are announced in November and selected program writers are announced in December.