Universal’s Global Talent Development & Inclusion department today announced the opening of applications for three unique writing experiences: the Universal Writers Lab; the Universal Animation Writers program; and the brand new Universal Global Writers program, set up in partnership with Working Title.
The Universal Global Writers Programme, marking GTDI’s first talent program to be headquartered internationally, will work with experienced and promising UK-based writers pursuing careers in feature film. The program will seek to develop storytellers who organically integrate multicultural and global perspectives into their writing and provide them with creative guidance from executives, producers and/or appointed creative consultants to help shape their material.
As Uni’s first and flagship DEI program, the Universal Writers Lab aims to increase participants’ knowledge of the studio system, expand their networks both within NBCUniversal and industry-wide. , as well as improving their ability to deliver business concepts and scripts, setting them up for increased job opportunities and career momentum during and after their tenure.
In its second year, the Universal Animation Writers program combines film and television content into a single animation writing program that identifies and develops an inclusive group of talent who can build on the studio’s commitment to storytelling. with unique stories that appeal to and reflect the great diversity. of its audiences. Writers will work closely with DreamWorks Animation and Illumination’s animation creative executives in a variety of ways, including brainstorming, participation in the writers room, and various writing exercises.
The launch of the Universal Global Writers program makes Uni the only studio with three dedicated feature film writing experiences, as well as the first major studio to launch a paid international program of this nature. Today’s Uni announcement marks the first time the studio has launched apps simultaneously, giving interested writers the chance to choose the experience that works best for them. All three experiences are one-year, paid opportunities that provide professional development through workshops, seminars, executive and creator-led roundtables, and an in-depth look at the studio’s production process. Applications are currently open with a deadline of October 5.
“When I first envisioned the department that would become GTDI, I wanted to put diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of what makes our studio business so unique: innovative and diverse narratives of voices distinct and inclusive. [Jones-Clark, Executive Vice President, Inclusion – Talent & Content] and her team have created over the past five years has totally exceeded my expectations,” said Donna Langley, president of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. “These three exceptional experiences – the inaugural Global Writers program with our long-time partners at Working Title, as well as the Writers Lab and Animation Writers program – are just a taste of the incredible work they do. Each strategy and experience we ‘they develop brings a lot to the table and touches nearly every aspect of our business, from marketing and distribution to physical development and production.
“We have been so impressed and inspired by the incredible work the GTDI team has done over the past five years,” added interim co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. “With the new Global Writers program, our partnership will continue to build on our organizations’ joint missions to share impactful stories from unique perspectives by connecting with audiences around the world.”
Alumni of all GTDI writing experiences have found success on various movies, shows, and cable TV series. On the live-action writing front, Jennifer Coates became the first screenwriter to receive a blind screenplay deal with Universal after completing the program, with Derek Asaff’s screenplay of her tenure currently in development by the studio. Other hits include Juel Taylor, one of Universal’s and The SpringHill Company’s writers. Shooting Starswhich recently wrapped production in Cleveland, and Leon Hendrix, co-writer and executive producer of Peacock’s upcoming series Cointelpro. Additionally, the first cohort of the Universal Animation Writers program just wrapped up their year with the studio, where all television writers received standalone episodes of an upcoming DreamWorks Animation series.
When GTDI was created by Langley in 2017, it became the first diversity, equity and inclusion department for a film studio. The company-led group creates programs, initiatives, and strategies that ensure DEI is at the forefront of work culture and content creation at Universal Pictures, Focus Features, and DreamWorks Animation, ahead and behind the camera.
Working Title is a leading production company behind more than 125 films, which together have grossed over $8.5 billion worldwide. His films have won 14 Oscars, 40 BAFTA Awards and numerous prestigious awards at festivals such as Cannes and Berlin. The company’s upcoming slate includes: ticket to paradisewritten and directed by Ol Parker and starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Kaitlyn Dever; What’s love got to do with it?written by Jemima Khan and directed by Shekhar Kapur, starring Lily James, Shazad Latif and Emma Thompson; swimmerswritten by Jack Thorne and Sally El Hosaini and directed by Hosaini; Catherine, called Birdy, written and directed by Lena Dunham, and starring Bella Ramsey, Andrew Scott and Billie Piper; and a film adaptation of the musical staging by Roald Dahl Matildadirected by Matthew Warchus and written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. Polite company, a London-based action comedy written and directed by Nida Manzoor, is in post-production for release next year. Meanwhile, Coralie Fargeat’s explosive feminist take on body horror, The substancestarring Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley, is currently in production.
More information about Universal’s writer programs and initiatives can be found here.