There’s no doubt about it — Hollywood has a growing interest in stories from different perspectives. Managers and agents are signing writers from underrepresented backgrounds in record numbers as the industry is finally taking strides to become more inclusive and diverse.
Diverse Voices is a dynamic virtual screenwriting lab with a proven track record of helping move the needle for stories that are told from perspectives that are often underrepresented in Hollywood today. This includes writers of color, women writers, writers with disabilities, writers over 40, writers in the LGBTQ+ community, and any other voices that have historically been ignored by Hollywood.
A minimum of 4 winners will be selected to participate in this career-changing lab!
All readers for this competition come from diverse backgrounds, and all entrants will receive a page of FREE written feedback on their script from their first round’s judge.
Over a dozen past winners have been signed, staffed, and optioned as a direct result of their Diverse Voices Lab meetings. Past finalists and winners have signed with companies including Heroes & Villains Entertainment, 3Arts, Zero Gravity, APA, ColorCreative, and more. See some of our past WeScreenplay success stories.
Plus, since it started in 2015, Diverse Voices has raised over $40,000 for various nonprofit organizations. What’s not to love?
All coverage packages include a 72-hour turnaround time at no additional charge.
Gabrielle Utsey started work in children’s television at The Jim Henson Company and later working with Prentice Penny (Insecure, Uncorked, Happy Endings, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) as his assistant on his first television show, The Hustle. Gabrielle went on to explore opportunities in unscripted and branded content as well as post-production before returning to scripted television at HBO Max. Working her way up from assistant, she is currently a coordinator working on original drama series The Flight Attendant, Raised By Wolves, Pennyworth and DMZ. Gabrielle eventually would like to write and produce full time, focusing on placing marginalized people in genre bending stories that explore topical and culturally relevant themes. She enjoys comic books, graphic novels, action movies and crime thrillers. Gisselle holds a bachelor's degree from Clark University in Urban Development and Social Change and a masters degree in Policy, Planning, & Administration from Boston University. She is a proud first generation transnational bilingual Afro-Latina with a deep connection to her Dominican heritage. She coaches individuals and teams on owning their power, story, and journey to amplify and unlock their potential to achieve personal and professional growth.
David (he/they) has been on the comedy team at HBO Max since it’s founding in 2019. While there, he has been fortunate enough to work on a slate of wildly original comedies, including HACKS, MADE FOR LOVE, HARLEY QUINN, SORT OF, THE OTHER TWO, SEARCH PARTY, and the forthcoming JULIA and OUR FLAG MEANS DEATH. In the years prior, he cut his teeth in the comedy world at 3 Arts Entertainment and the Fox Network. He is passionate about supporting, encouraging, and platforming LGBTQ+ voices and talents, and has spent most of his quarantine drinking wine and making mac & cheese.
Li is a Chinese writer-director who has developed a range of multi-cultural projects in both the USA and China. His short films Hank and Waiting For Frank have received international recognition, screening at Palm Springs International ShortFest, Cleveland International Film Festival, Chicago International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and more than 30 other festivals. Luo also recently launched a project through his company called Stars Collective, which looks to support diverse and authentic voices through mentorship and project development opportunities. Currently, Li is a Development Executive & In-House Writer for Starlight Media, the production and finance company behind titles including Crazy Rich Asians, Malignant and Wuhan Wuhan.
Kirsten Jacobson started her Hollywood career in the mailroom at UTA, where she spent most of her time reading scripts in the supply closet. After a short stint as an assistant on a TV Lit desk, she followed her agency boss to Moonshot Entertainment, where she worked in development for 4 years on a number of shows including SNEAKY PETE, THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS, and THE ELECTRIC DREAMS OF PHILIP K DICK. She then took a job as a Creative Exec at Friendly Films, working on QUEEN OF THE SOUTH and developing a number of TV projects for Fox21. Kirsten has since transitioned to lit management - first independently and now at Good Fear Content - where she focuses on advocating for underrepresented voices.
Maya Rodrigo is an LA-Native and a self-proclaimed ‘Jew-Rican’ with a deep-rooted passion for storytelling. Raised in a family of diverse artists, Maya’s background has informed her personal mission to honor & champion global voices, both in front of and behind the camera, through authentic and accessible storytelling. At M88 she serves as a Literary Manager representing boundary-pushing filmmakers and multi-hyphenates such as Blindspotting & Raya and the Last Dragon filmmaker Carlos López Estrada, Palme d’ Or winning filmmaker Yi Tang, actress and producer Naomi Scott, and Michael B Jordan and his production outlet Outlier Society, among others. Prior to M88, Maya served as Creative Executive for QC Entertainment, the production and finance company behind the Academy Award-winning films Get Out & BlacKkKlansman. During her time at QC she identified, cultivated and helped to shepherd projects across QC’s film and television slates from conception through distribution.
Patrick Strapazon started in development at HBO. Following his time at HBO, he assisted writer/director Joss Whedon on MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. before moving to London for principal photography on AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. Wanting to get experience at a studio, he joined Fox 2000 Pictures where he worked on a number of films including LOVE, SIMON and Oscar nominated HIDDEN FIGURES. He relocated to Belfast after being hired by multiple Emmy award winning director David Nutter to work as his assistant on GAME OF THRONES. Patrick continued his work in the genre space by accepting a job with showrunner Rafe Judkins on the television adaptation of THE WHEEL OF TIME, the bestselling book series that he has loved since childhood. He became the Development Coordinator at Judkins’ production company, Long Weekend, before becoming a manager and producer. Patrick is the founder of Stellar Entertainment, a literary management and production company that represents artists across television and film. He is thrilled to advocate for writers, bring their creative vision to life and to amplify underrepresented voices.
As Manager of Scripted Television Development & Production at MACRO Television Studios, Ilayda works to highlight emerging BIPOC talent and produce creative properties driven by people of color. In addition to her regular executive duties, she specializes in shepherding literary adaptations driven by authors and television writers of color for MACRO’s slate. Prior to starting at MACRO, Ilayda worked in the Literary Packaging department at WME, building out her expertise in tracking, acquiring, and adapting IP for television. She utilizes her background in working with literature & media rights at William Morris to source a variety of intellectual property for MACRO’s television slate. Her passion for progressing on-screen representation, especially for women of color, stems from her experience growing up as a first-generation Turkish American. As a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she hopes to produce premium television for multicultural audiences.
Amanda --Nigerian-born and Texas-raised--started her Hollywood journey as an intern at Deadline Hollywood before becoming a full time reporter where she contributed to the daily news breaks for both film and television, conducted interviews, as well as covered events such as Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes, Comic-Con, SXSW, ATX Television Festival, and more. She also co-hosted the award-winning podcast, Deadline New Hollywood, which championed people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community and other underrepresented voices in film and television. She recently transitioned to development and joined the team at Yoruba Saxon Productions, a production company that focuses on values-based content with an aim to shift the culture and color outside the lines.
The Diverse Voices Virtual Lab is a one-of-a-kind experience. At least 4 winners will be selected to participate in this game-changing virtual lab. Writers chosen for the virtual lab have a long weekend PACKED with workshops to hone their craft, mentorship calls with working writers, and general meetings with studio execs, literary reps, and more.
This is not a “sit back” passive webinar experience. It is a “get your questions answered, find the right literary representation, and meet potential collaborators” busy several days. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any emerging screenwriter.
Our virtual labs have directly led to writers getting staffed, signing with their dream reps, and more! Want more info? You can read about the Diverse Voices Lab experience here.
Additionally, the winners get access to ongoing mentorship from WeScreenplay including an initial phone call, guidance for drafting query letters, research methods for finding the right representation, prep before big meetings, and strategic planning for next steps in their careers — all based on the writer’s specific goals.
A portion of every single Diverse Voices submission is donated to charity. Since the program was launched in 2015, Diverse Voices has raised over $40,000 for various nonprofit organizations including those listed below. THANK YOU to all the amazing writers who’ve helped us get there.
Founded by Ava DuVernay, Array is an independent film distribution and resource collective comprised of artist advocacy organizations, maverick volunteers, and rebel member donors worldwide. Their work is dedicated to the amplification of independent films by people of color and women filmmakers globally.
Hollywood HEART is a nonprofit organization that empowers young people through the arts, building supportive communities and safe environments that cultivate confidence, creativity, and self-esteem. Hollywood HEART serves an expanding list of LGBTQ+ youth, underhoused youth, and youth affected by HIV/AIDS. They bring the arts to life through online programming, in-person workshops, and their annual summer camp, creating opportunities for collaboration, exploration and expression.
Check out more of our Writers’ Successes.
After winning the Spring 2021 Diverse Voices competition, Brittany took meetings with literary reps and production companies WeScreenplay set up as part of the Diverse Voices Lab. She signed with literary managers at Thoro Artists, and is in development on two features.
“The WeScreenplay team is fantastic, their feedback is thorough and extremely helpful. I’ve done a few labs with other competitions I’ve placed in and the Diverse Voices Lab was by far the most engaging, useful and inspiring I have taken part in. They really believe in the program they have created to uplift diverse and underserved narratives.“
After placing as a Finalist the Spring 2021 Diverse Voices competition, WeScreenplay provided career consulting and got Teresa’s work read at numerous management companies, resulting in her signing with a literary manager at Heroes & Villains Entertainment.
“Honestly I was floored when WeScreenplay reached out to me as a Finalist in the Diverse Voices competition saying that they also work with finalists to get their work seen and help their careers. I didn’t expect that anyone other than those selected for the lab would have gotten that kind of help. Sarah Eagen graciously met with me to offer loads of great career guidance. It’s a real testament to WeScreenplay that they go so out of their way to help all the writers that come into their orbit. I couldn’t be more grateful!”
After winning the Fall 2020 Diverse Voices Competition, WeScreenplay set up Elise with a general at UCP. Shortly after the Diverse Voices Lab, Elise got staffed on CANDY for UCP/ Hulu, starring Elisabeth Moss.
“Diverse Voices was an incredible experience, and one that I’m very happy to have had. Sarah Eagen and the staff at WeScreenplay put a lot of (very appreciated) work into creating a lab that would prepare us for the next step in our careers, while encouraging us and doing anything they could to help move us forward. Once you’re part of the WeScreenplay family, it feels like they are truly rooting for your success and do what they can to help you achieve it.“
After winning the Fall 2020 Diverse Voices Competition, WeScreenplay set Junot up with numerous meetings with literary reps. After fielding multiple offers, he signed with manager Cameron Cubbison at Zero Gravity and agent Halle Mariner at APA!
“WeScreenplay gave me inspiration and encouragement. It just takes one person to believe in you to help you get a running start. WeScreenplay filled those shoes, and I’m grateful. The world is hungry for fresh news in the form of story, and you as the artist are their chosen messenger. Your story and voice are worth it. WeScreenplay treated us all with care, support, and insight. My first reader’s notes were the most helpful, actionable notes I’d ever received.“
After winning the Fall 2020 Diverse Voices Competition, Phylicia worked with the WeScreenplay team to target reps and prep for specific meetings, landing literary rep with Issa Rae's new company ColorCreative!
“Being a part of this community has opened my eyes to the magic that can come from collaboration and how powerful you can become when other people are supporting you. I am so grateful everything Sarah and WeScreenplay have done for me and it was a true bright spot of 2020!”
After placing as a Finalist in the Spring 2021 Diverse Voices, WeScreenplay pitched Soma to several managers, garnering multiple meetings and offers. As a direct result, she signed with Josh Goldenberg at Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment.
Considering entering a WeScreenplay competition? “Absolutely go for it! You can get invaluable feedback to polish your script and it’s an amazing opportunity to get your work in front of reps. I’d like to say a big, heartfelt thanks to WeScreenplay for helping me connect with representation. Sarah Eagen was the epitome of professionalism and courtesy. I don’t doubt that I would be much further behind in my journey to find representation if it weren’t for her help.“
Jai Jamison won the 2020 WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Competition with his race-bending Superman pilot THE AMERICAN WAY before getting staffed on the new CW show SUPERMAN & LOIS and signing with KPE.
“Submitting to contests is a great way to make sure your writing is sharp and clear before you send it out to the industry. Winning the Diverse Voices Lab was great because it put me on the radar for a lot of folks and introduced me to the great team at WeScreenplay who have been fantastic (and very patient) resources for me. I’m now staffed on SUPERMAN & LOIS and signed with great managers at Kaplan / Perrone!”
A FREE, 1-page mini-version of our phenomenal coverage from the entry’s first round judge, including their scores!
*Note: You can upgrade your free Judges Notes to WeScreenplay’s famous Classic Notes for an additional fee!
A new reader and another full read for every script that makes it to this round.
*Note: You can upgrade to include a fresh round of Judges Notes for a small fee!
Another new reader and another full read for every script that makes it to this round … and you are welcome to submit an updated version of your script for only $6.
All scripts that make it to this round will be read internally by the WeScreenplay team as well as by our industry jury. Scores will not be provided for this round, as judging will be discussed privately.
The top scripts as selected by the industry jury and WeScreenplay team! We’ll be reaching out to the winners for inclusion in our Diverse Voices Lab, which has resulted in numerous signings, collaborations, and staffings.