There Aren’t Enough Female Screenwriters in Hollywood, and Meryl Streep Is Doing Something to Fix That.

Meryl’s “The Writer’s Lab” will bring together eight promising female screenwriters for a weekend retreat with the Oscar winner herself.

image via (cc) flickr user mostribus84

Between 2010 and 2012, the number of movies written by women represented an abysmally low 9 percent of the total scripts sold in Hollywood for those years. It’s a disheartening figure, but one that should come (unfortunately) as little surprise in a field with a well-earned reputation for lopsided gender imbalance. That so few women’s voices are represented in Hollywood is not only troubling for viewers eager to see new and different perspectives in cinematic storytelling, but also poses a long-term problem for an industry which thrives—if not survives—on creativity and fresh voices (present crop of cinematic reboots, sequels, and “shared universes” notwithstanding).

Well, you know who’s fed up with not seeing more women-written scripts? Meryl friggin’ Streep, that’s who.

Last weekend, during the annual TriBeCa film festival, Streep announced the establishment of a new, exclusively female-focused writers workshop, created “in recognition of the absence of the female voice in narrative film, along with the dearth of support for script development.” Co-founded with New York Women in Film and Television, “The Writers Lab” will bring together eight women screenwriters, all over the age of 40, for a weekend spent learning with some of the movie industry’s established female talents. Per the workshop’s description:

In its inaugural year, The Lab will take place September 18-20, 2015 at Wiawaka Center for Women on Lake George, NY. Caroline Kaplan (Time Out of Mind, Personal Velocity), Kirsten Smith (Legally Blond, Ten Things I Hate About You), Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On, Aquamarine), Mary Jane Skalski (Win Win, The Station Agent), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Secret Life of Bees, Beyond the Lights) will be among others will be serving as mentors, pending scheduling. Mentors advise in one-on-one meetings with additional group events designed to inspire artists to hone their creative vision.

To participate, you need to be a woman born on or before June 1, 1975, and must submit a feature-length, English-language narrative spec scrip at part of your application. As the workshop’s FAQ points out, no previous screenwriting or Hollywood experience is necessary: “The Lab seeks to foster exciting emerging voices, regardless of professional film experience.”

If you, or someone you know, fits those criteria and are interested in not only working with some of the film industry’s most talented storytellers, but helping to even the playing field for female screenwriters everywhere, the application process for this one-of-a-kind opportunity opens May 1.

[via the mary sue]


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