NBCUniversal has opened applications for its 2021 writers program. The initiative, which is operated by the company’s global talent development and inclusion team, will accept submissions via its website through Feb. 21.
Universal Writers Program aims to find rising screenwriters who have unique points of view. Those selected for the one-year, paid program will be given the opportunity to develop two feature scripts under the guidance of Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation production executives, as well as producers who have first-look deals with the studio.
Janelle Monae, Chris Pratt, “Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow and “Aladdin” producer Dan Lin served as producers to the current class of writers. Kasi Lemmons, Will Packer and Amy Pascal joined the 2020 cycle as program ambassadors, a new component to the program.
NBCU’s global talent development and inclusion team revamped the writers program in 2017 and has seen a steady increase in submissions in subsequent years. More than 1,500 people applied last year alone.
Alumni of the Universal Writers Program have gone onto success in film, broadcast and cable. One graduate, Juel Taylor, co-wrote “Creed II” and made his episodic directorial debut on the BET series “Boomerang.” He is currently developing a project with Universal and LeBron James’ The SpringHill Company. Another alumni Sarah Cho is a staff writer on the upcoming Hulu and Universal Content Production show “The Girl From Plainville.” And Leon Hendrix is a co-writer and executive producer on a new Peacock series in development called “Cointelpro.”
“Bringing eclectic stories from unique perspectives to audiences around the globe has been the cornerstone of Universal’s creative mission,” said Universal Pictures president Peter Cramer. “The Universal Writers Program brings together talented individuals who seek that same aim, and I can’t wait to welcome a new group of writers and work closely with them and the GTDI team on furthering these efforts.”