Universal Filmed Entertainment Group has announced the Universal Animation Writers Program through its Global Talent Development & Inclusion (GTDI) department. Here are details about the program and how writers can apply to participate:

  • According to Universal, their program is the first to cover writing for both animated films and tv. Budding writers can apply to a film track or one of two tv tracks, aimed at preschool (3–5) and kids (6–11) respectively.
  • The full-time program lasts one year, and each writer will be paid $75,000 for the year. In that time, participants will develop two scripts for either features or tv pilots.
  • According to Universal, “The program identifies and develops an inclusive group of talent who can build upon the studio’s commitment to telling stories with unique narratives that appeal to and reflect the vast diversity of its audiences.”
  • The writers will collaborate with producers and executives. The program is run in partnership with divisions and subsidiaries of Universal, including Dreamworks Animation, Illumination, and Universal 1440 Entertainment.
  • Universal notes that while scripts written during the program may be considered for development, this is not guaranteed.
  • “Representation in the family entertainment space is so important as all young audiences should be able to see themselves and their families portrayed onscreen,” said Janine Jones-Clark, senior vice president at Universal’s GTDI. “We’re excited to further expand on our commitment to make authentic content with this animation-focused program, and we look forward to harnessing more access and awareness for emerging voices in both film and television who want to make an impact on family audiences everywhere by telling their own stories.”
  • Since 2017, GTDI has already run similar programs in other sectors, including Universal Writers Program, Universal Directors Initiative, and Universal Composers Initiative. A number of alumni from those schemes are now working on projects at the studio.
  • Applications are open until Monday, December 16 Friday, January 17 (the deadline was extended), and the program will start in June 2020. Participants must reside in L.A. More information can be found on the studio’s website.
  • Universal is owned by NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast.

(Image at top: Illumination’s “Minions — All-New Mini-Movie.”)

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