Universal writers program

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  • Universal writers program

    Go at it but be quick. Submission deadline is October 1st.

    https://www.universaltalentdevelopment.com/writers

  • #2
    Re: Universal writers program

    Or we can walk down the hill and apply to all the programs...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Universal writers program

      I wouldn't be ready in time. But, just as a question, do your scripts end up being Universal optioned for several years? I heard some interview and the director had mentioned that you get a salary, but your scripts would be optioned by Universal and if you want them back, you have an option of buying it back? I can't find that interview now, but I would have liked a clarification on that...the moderator didn't really follow up with her.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Universal writers program

        There is a legal release form on the site you can find under the applications.

        I can't apply for multiple reasons. The biggest of which is my one script is over 120 pages. But also, I'm not really keen to leave my job and family for a year out of country on a mentorship program. Maybe if it was working on a project I developed. Even though this would be a step up in writing for me, it would be a step down in life.

        But this program is great for those that are US-based and looking to break in.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Universal writers program

          Originally posted by Friday View Post
          I wouldn't be ready in time. But, just as a question, do your scripts end up being Universal optioned for several years? I heard some interview and the director had mentioned that you get a salary, but your scripts would be optioned by Universal and if you want them back, you have an option of buying it back? I can't find that interview now, but I would have liked a clarification on that...the moderator didn't really follow up with her.
          In their FAQ:

          "Additionally, should a writer's material be identified as potential development content, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG) has the option to extend the writer's contract for a term of up to one additional year."

          They pay you $75k for the year, you're expected to write two features, and if those projects are deemed viable, they can extend an option on one or both for either feature. Also, this, on previously written work:

          "Any material written or co-written by the applicant prior to the term of the Program and owned or controlled by the applicant must be disclosed in writing, and UFEG shall have an "Exclusive First Look- right as to such material."

          Wow. That's pretty strong. Also, if you've written with a writing partner before:

          "Writers selected to participate in the Program will be required to obtain a signed release form from all co-writers of any pre-existing, co-written material as a condition of their employment."

          So, basically for $75k, Universal gets all of your work for an entire year, plus an exclusive right to all of your previous work prior to applying. Plus the right to extend options for a year, etc. So if you really want to get deep into Universal, this is a good program.

          Most applicants won't have the level of writing Universal would want, so it's probably not a big deal. But still this program sounds best for someone younger who doesn't have a bunch of irons already in the fire.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Universal writers program

            Originally posted by Merrick View Post
            There is a legal release form on the site you can find under the applications.

            I can't apply for multiple reasons. The biggest of which is my one script is over 120 pages. But also, I'm not really keen to leave my job and family for a year out of country on a mentorship program. Maybe if it was working on a project I developed. Even though this would be a step up in writing for me, it would be a step down in life.

            But this program is great for those that are US-based and looking to break in.
            See we didn't make it up! Gentle busting balls.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Universal writers program

              Originally posted by lostfootage View Post
              In their FAQ:

              "Additionally, should a writer’s material be identified as potential development content, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG) has the option to extend the writer’s contract for a term of up to one additional year."

              They pay you $75k for the year, you're expected to write two features, and if those projects are deemed viable, they can extend an option on one or both for either feature. Also, this, on previously written work:

              "Any material written or co-written by the applicant prior to the term of the Program and owned or controlled by the applicant must be disclosed in writing, and UFEG shall have an “Exclusive First Look” right as to such material."

              Wow. That's pretty strong. Also, if you've written with a writing partner before:

              "Writers selected to participate in the Program will be required to obtain a signed release form from all co-writers of any pre-existing, co-written material as a condition of their employment."

              So, basically for $75k, Universal gets all of your work for an entire year, plus an exclusive right to all of your previous work prior to applying. Plus the right to extend options for a year, etc. So if you really want to get deep into Universal, this is a good program.

              Most applicants won't have the level of writing Universal would want, so it's probably not a big deal. But still this program sounds best for someone younger who doesn't have a bunch of irons already in the fire.
              it also states clearly that this is an exclusive arrangement which means you cannot develop anything outside of the spec you write for them. so, no writing for 40 hours for universal and writing your own pilot to send out on your "other" time. that's a lot to ask for $75,000. which isn't a lot for LA.

              btw, anyone know if they still ask for exclusivity when you're staffed on a show? somehow i thought that was going away? misinformed?
              "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Universal writers program

                Originally posted by Bono View Post
                See we didn't make it up! Gentle busting balls.
                I know you didn't make it up. I already knew the limits before writing. I'm okay with breaking limits is all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Universal writers program

                  Also no senior citizens! I'm out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Universal writers program

                    Originally posted by Merrick View Post
                    I know you didn't make it up. I already knew the limits before writing. I'm okay with breaking limits is all.
                    I know. Maverick Merrick. I get it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Universal writers program

                      Originally posted by Friday View Post
                      I wouldn't be ready in time. But, just as a question, do your scripts end up being Universal optioned for several years? I heard some interview and the director had mentioned that you get a salary, but your scripts would be optioned by Universal and if you want them back, you have an option of buying it back? I can't find that interview now, but I would have liked a clarification on that...the moderator didn't really follow up with her.
                      Universal has a first look on everything you've written for the duration of the program, plus a few months. Your original work (the stuff you wrote prior to the program) reverts back to you fully, usually in August.

                      Regarding the scripts you develop specifically for Uni, they own the work you did on contract, I believe. I do think you can buy it back if you want, but I'm sure that'd be pricey.

                      Here's the thing. Look at the program's track record. How many of those scripts has Uni made? Not one. How many writers have even had their contracts extended to develop their projects further? ONE. This year was the first time it has happened. How many writers got other work right out of the program?


                      Yes, it's like $75k for a year, and you get WGA health insurance. That's good. BUT you don't get admitted to the guild as a result of it, despite writing two features for a studio.

                      FWIW, I know several writers who have been through this program, and they've all ended up back at their day jobs afterward. They do have more connections than they did when they started, so that's a big plus. And they got to write full time for a year and pitch on studio projects, so that's great (but none of them AFAIK landed an OWA from those meetings).

                      Point is, it's a good program, and there are certainly positives to doing it. BUT it's not exactly the golden ticket to a writing career that many writers assume it to be. But if you work it, you may be able to make something good come out of it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Universal writers program

                        Originally posted by TVWriterCB17 View Post
                        Universal has a first look on everything you've written for the duration of the program, plus a few months. Your original work (the stuff you wrote prior to the program) reverts back to you fully, usually in August.

                        Regarding the scripts you develop specifically for Uni, they own the work you did on contract, I believe. I do think you can buy it back if you want, but I'm sure that'd be pricey.

                        Here's the thing. Look at the program's track record. How many of those scripts has Uni made? Not one. How many writers have even had their contracts extended to develop their projects further? ONE. This year was the first time it has happened. How many writers got other work right out of the program?


                        Yes, it's like $75k for a year, and you get WGA health insurance. That's good. BUT you don't get admitted to the guild as a result of it, despite writing two features for a studio.

                        FWIW, I know several writers who have been through this program, and they've all ended up back at their day jobs afterward. They do have more connections than they did when they started, so that's a big plus. And they got to write full time for a year and pitch on studio projects, so that's great (but none of them AFAIK landed an OWA from those meetings).

                        Point is, it's a good program, and there are certainly positives to doing it. BUT it's not exactly the golden ticket to a writing career that many writers assume it to be. But if you work it, you may be able to make something good come out of it.

                        Thanks for the insight. That's interesting that none of the writers' careers really took off from the program. Obviously, that's really what the candidates are looking for. The 75 k is nice, but it's really the career boost they want. Good thing you clarified about the first look. I wasn't too clear when I heard that interview. A lot of writers have seeds of a project and could possibly have a dozen projects that will end up completing at some point, but had the start of it somewhere in their hard drive...so wasn't sure if their language covered all of that.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Universal writers program

                          It also states that a screen treatment is required, but must not be based on the submitted screenplay. Does that mean it's asking for a screen treatment for a different script?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Universal writers program

                            Originally posted by Bono View Post
                            Also no senior citizens! I'm out.
                            I missed that, somehow... Must be these darned new-fangled spectacles...

                            Anyhow, no way my attorney is signing that last page.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Universal writers program

                              Originally posted by Friday View Post
                              Thanks for the insight. That's interesting that none of the writers' careers really took off from the program.
                              Just to clarify, I didn't say those writers' careers didn't take off. I just said it wasn't the Uni program that directly launched them.

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