Saturday, February 20, 2010

Writing Fellowships

This is some advice on how the Writing Fellowship programs work. Take a look! Great information!

Hi, I'm a past Disney Fellow (that program is now defunct,with only the ABC TV Writing and Daytime Writing Fellowships still available and paid).

I helped judge the fellowships for several years,
as well. They look at your sample first and, if it makes a passing
grade by the reader in the first round, the coverages are sent to
executives who narrow down their favorites (and their friends' specs ;-)
for the third round, i.e., the writers they want to bring in for

First, however, their assistants call you for a
"pre-interview" call to feel you out - if you get that call you are
being judged over the phone and if you sound cool and upbeat AND if you
say you have another piece to show them when they ask for it, then you
will most likely be called in as one of the twenty-thirty finalists for
a personal interview with the executives in one of the Disney/ABC
conference rooms.

All they are looking for, especially for TV writing,
are people who can work and play well for others. They once flew a
writer to L.A. for the interview because he had THE BEST TV spec they'd
ever seen, but when he came into the room it was clear he had no
interpersonal skills and wasn't very social.

No one could imagine
sitting in a writer's room with the poor guy for 13 hours a day so he
didn't get it in spite of his great sample. So they look for both -
good, commercial writing with other samples to show, AND a personable,
enjoyable person with whom to work.

All the TV fellows got writing
staff positions by the end of the fellowship year and a couple went on
to develop their own series that aired for a season. I was 31 when I got
in and most of the writing fellows were much younger (early twenties).
There was one "older" writing fellow (38) and she told me she was pulled
aside by one of the producers on lot who was mentoring her and
encouraged to lie about her age or not reveal it (sigh).

The DGA-ABC Directing Fellowship has been completely revamped and does
still include some money but not apparently what it once did. It's more
of a shadowing thing now and, again, they look at your sample short
first and foremost to decide who they want to work with. These are also
"diversity" run programs, but I've seen white males get into both, too.
However, since this is the first year of this revamped directing
program, no one quite knows what to expect from the process yet.

Hope that helps!
Marie Rose (not Rowe ;-)


  1. Wow, thanks for posting this! I was wanting to apply for the Disney Fellowship this summer and this gave me some good insight!

  2. no problem! thanks for reading!