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 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.
Over a dozen past winners have been signed, staffed, and optioned as a direct result of their Diverse Voices Lab meetings. All readers for this competition come from diverse backgrounds, and all entrants will receive a page of written feedback on their script from their first round’s judge.
Plus, since it started in 2015, Diverse Voices has raised over $40,000 for various nonprofit organizations. What’s not to love?
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Gisselle Ruiz Ed.M is the current Head of Diversity & Inclusion for the William, Morris, Endeavor (WME) agency where she is on a mission to #CHANGEHOLLYWOOD. She leads WME’s commitment to be an anti-racist and ally-oriented company, and she works across WME guiding and bolstering efforts in recruitment, retention and strategic partnerships to achieve the agency’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. She has led talent acquisition and DEI at top companies and organizations including NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Company, Creative Artists Agency, Google, Facebook, and most recently was the global talent acquisition leader and spearheaded diversity and inclusion initiatives at TikTok. 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.
Katrina (Katie) Mathewson - and her writing partner Tanner Bean - got their start on Fox's critically acclaimed / tragically cancelled drama PITCH. They went on to create VERSUS, a coming-of-age limited series produced by AwesomenessTV. Katie and Tanner most recently wrote on Marvel Studios' HAWKEYE — while simultaneously writing CHRISTMAS EVER AFTER, a Lifetime movie starring Tony winner Ali Stroker. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Katie is a tattooed motorcyclist who's not nearly as cool as that description sounds. Her passion for LGBTQ+ activism has led her to serve as the co-chair of the Writers Guild of America's LGBTQ+ Committee, as well as on the Guild’s Inclusion and Equity Group. Katie is a co-founder of the Rainbow Pages, an independent database of queer WGA writers.
As Executive Director of Original Programming for Freeform, Kelly oversees ratings hit CRUEL SUMMER, critically acclaimed and fan favorite GOOD TROUBLE, and EVERYTHING'S GOING TO BE OK as a Current Executive. In the past, Kelly was the covering exec on such programs as the critically acclaimed series THE FOSTERS, SIREN, PARTY OF FIVE, THE BOLD TYPE, sci-fi family drama BEYOND, FAMOUS IN LOVE, multi-cam comedy YOUNG & HUNGRY as well as the series BUNHEADS. She also ran point on Peabody Award winning series SWITCHED AT BIRTH and procedural drama STITCHERS. On top of original series, Kelly oversees Original Movies including Freeform’s THE THING ABOUT HARRY, GHOSTING, SAME TIME NEXT CHRISTMAS, TURKEY DROP, LIFE-SIZE 2, NO SLEEP 'TIL CHRISTMAS, and THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTMAS\, along with a growing original movie development slate.
Juan started his career in Universal Pictures Creative Development where he was involved in the development of feature films such as JURASSIC WORLD, MUMMY (2017), NIGHT SCHOOL etc. He later joined the world’s biggest talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in their Motion Pictures department where he worked in representation, with a strong focus on directors and writers. After CAA, Juan joined Good Fear Content as a junior manager/producer. As a junior manager, he consistently grow Good Fear’s writers and directors clients roster by scouting talents from all over the globe. In late 2018, Juan found a British horror director Alberto Marina and successfully set up his short film BAGHEAD at StudioCanal with Picture Co producing. In early 2019, Juan submitted his client’s project HICKAM to Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Steven Spielberg through CAA for production considerations. Recently, Juan joined Housefire Management where he continues to advocate for the voices he believes in.
The Diverse Voices Lab is a one-of-a-kind experience. Writers chosen for the 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.
This lab has 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 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!”
All coverage packages include a 72-hour turnaround time at no additional charge.
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 the 3-page Classic Notes for an additional $49.99!
A new reader and another full read for every script that makes it to this round.
*Note: You can upgrade to include Judges Notes for $49.99!
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 $5.
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.