3-Month Intensive Screenwriting Mentorship Program with Maya Perez
Program Begins January 13, 2020
APPLY BY January 5, 2020
We are very excited to offer a limited enrollment 3-Month Intensive Screenplay Mentorship Program with writer/producer/teacher Maya Perez. Maya is an executive producer on the television series On Story, now in its ninth season on PBS and distributed in 85% of the national marketplace. On Story won a Lone Star EMMY Award® for Best Interview/Discussion Program Series in 2018 and for Best Arts/Entertainment Program in 2014. It has just been nominated for a 2019 Lone Star EMMY Award® and was also nominated in 2016.
Her own work has been recognized by fellowships from SFFILM/Westridge, Sundance Institute, The Writer's Room at The Betsy-South Beach, and NY Stage & Film, and she is also co-editor of three published collections of interviews with screenwriters and filmmakers: On Story – The Golden Ages of Television, On Story - Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films, and On Story - Screenwriters and Their Craft, all from the University of Texas Press.
Maya currently teaches screenwriting at The University of Texas at Austin and first-year seminar at the Michener Center for Writers and is a screenwriting mentor for SFFILM and SXSW. She also serves on the board of directors for Austin Film Festival and Fantastic Fest. She received a BA from Vassar College and an MFA as a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin.
“Deadlines are a writer’s best friend. And motivation. Deadlines and motivation are a writer’s best friend. Okay, and bourbon. Deadlines, motivation, and bourbon are a writer’s best friend.” - Maya Perez
The Intensive Screenplay Mentorship is a fast-paced, immersive course designed to shepherd hardworking screenwriters from Title through to The End of an original feature-length screenplay. Again, the goal is to have a first draft of a screenplay at the end of the three months. This course will adhere to a strict writing process, and Maya will offer instruction, deadlines, constructive feedback, and encouragement, as well as suggestions for next steps for the project (revisions, finding representation, production, etc.). There are various structure models writers can use, but this course will use the three-act structure as writers explore the basic dramatic principles of the form: character, story, and structure.
In addition to their writing, each week, writers are expected to read at least one produced contemporary screenplay, write a scene-by-scene breakdown of that screenplay, and watch the movie. Maya recommends reading the script first, then watching the movie with script in hand so writers can compare how the scene was written with what appears on the screen, taking note of how much or little detail is given in action lines, descriptions, setting, character gestures, dialogue, etc.
The ideal applicant has the discipline to be an online student and the desire to complete a feature-length screenplay during the program. Writers accepted into the program should already have a basic knowledge of screenwriting format, terms, and the three-act structure of writing screenplays. Applicants should have a logline (1-2 sentence pitch that summarizes the premise of their movie) and a treatment (a 3-5 page “short story” description of their proposed screenplay, including beginning, middle, and end—including twists where they would happen in the movie). The treatment will probably change over the 3-month mentorship, but the exercise is important so that the applicant can picture the entire span of the movie. (Tip: the second act should be the longest section in the treatment; it is the meat of the movie.)
This mentorship will give hard deadlines, help writers to develop a screenwriting practice, and motivate and inspire both beginning and advanced screenwriters. Writers accepted into the program are looking for an intensive experience to complete a new script in three months, an experience they can use as a model for writing future screenplays. Interested applicants will understand that growth in the craft requires consistent work and dedication. Accepted applicants will agree to be punctual in submission of work; however rough those pages may be. This is in fairness to Maya but mostly to themselves.
How It Works:
Upon acceptance into the mentorship program, you will schedule an initial one-on-one call with Maya to discuss your screenplay, your goals, and the work plan for the next three months.
A Completed Draft Is the Goal. We will only be moving forward, toward The End in this course. Writers can and should make notes for changes they want to make in the next draft, but until they reach the end, they should not make revisions. The bulk of the mentorship will consist of Maya giving written and verbal feedback and advice on the writing process and the screenplay itself. Critique will include notes on structure, character, plot, dialogue, as well as general feedback on writing. Maya may recommend screenplays, movies, craft books, or articles, that she thinks will help the writer.
In your biweekly submission, you will send a letter (1-2 pages) detailing the progress you’re making with your script, the challenges, thoughts for next draft, notes on scripts you will have read during that month (whether directly related to the project or not), and your areas of concern and victory that month. Sharing your own sense of victory is as important as sharing the areas of challenge.
This Three-Month Mentorship Consists of the Following:
One-on-one initial consult via phone, email, or GChat
Calendar for achieving your project goals
Access to mentor via email for three months
Critique of pages, including bigger-picture notes and questions
Personalized readings and assignments based on your specific development needs
Access to a community of dedicated screenwriters
Mentor’s Monthly Input:
Emails that discuss individual monthly goals and progress
Notes on submitted script pages
Based on each week’s accomplishments, mentor may suggest new readings or exercises to aid in growth as a screenwriter
Available to answer questions and provide encouragement via portal
Mentee’s Monthly Responsibilities:
Attend monthly seminar through dial-in and participate in one-on-one meetings with mentor
Send pages to mentor
Process-reflection letter discussing achievements for the month
Participate in group discussions online via private portal
Read screenplays, articles, or craft books mentor may assign to aid growth in specific areas
Complete Application Questionnaire at the top of this page and submit a 1-2 sentence logline and a 3-5 page treatment in PDF format to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please title the email “SAMPLE: 3-Month Screenwriting Mentorship with Maya Perez.”
*Submissions must be in English and original work of the applicant. They may not be based on any other fiction or nonfiction material, published or unpublished, produced or unproduced. Entries may be adapted from the applicant’s original work, which should be noted in the logline.
Full tuition for the 3-month program is $1,750. Accepted writers must commit to the full three months and meet all assigned deadlines. Once accepted into the program, writers can pay the tuition in full or in two equal payments of $875 (1st payment made upon acceptance on January 10, 2020, and 2nd payment made by February 14, 2020).
Important Dates for 3-Month Intensive Screenwriting Mentorship with Maya Perez:
1/5 - Application deadline
1/10 - Acceptance to program announced
1/13-15 - Initial one-on-one consults via phone/Gchat/email scheduled 10:30AM-3PM CST
1/26 - First draft of outline due
1/31 - First seminar; 12-3PM CST (Act One: characters, motivation, setting/world building, stakes, first ten pages, inciting incident, first act break)
2/9 - Second draft of outline due
2/23 - First act due
2/28 - Second seminar; 12-3PM CST (Act Two—first half: characters, motivation, stakes, obstacles, midpoint)
3/8 - Through midpoint due
3/9-13 - One-on-one consults scheduled 10:30AM-3PM CST
3/13 - Third seminar; 12-3PM CST (Act Two—second half: characters, protagonist’s motivation, stakes, obstacles, lowpoint)
3/22 - Through lowpoint due
3/27 - Fourth seminar; 12-3PM CST (Act Three - climax and resolution; what next? Revisions, representation, competitions, production)
4/5 - Through end of act three due - FADE OUT
4/13-17 - One-on-one consults scheduled 10:30AM-3PM CST
Additional Program Information:
Tuition is $1,750
Class size limited to 6-8 writers
Program dates: January 13, 2020, to April 17, 2020
NOTE: Shifting some dates around may be necessary but any changes will be communicated well in advance, if possible.
Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this mentorship program.
Mentor Maya Perez is a writer and producer. Her writing has appeared in Joyland, Electric Literature, The Masters Review, Misadventures Magazine, and she is co-editor of three collections of interviews with screenwriters and filmmakers: On Story – The Golden Ages of Television, On Story - Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films, and On Story - Screenwriters and Their Craft, all published by the University of Texas Press. She is an executive producer on the television series On Story, now in its ninth season on PBS. On Story won a Lone Star EMMY Award® for Best Interview/Discussion Program Series in 2018 and for Best Arts/Entertainment Program in 2014. It was nominated for a Lone Star EMMY Award® in 2016. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Michener Center for Writers, SFFILM/Westridge, the Sundance Institute, New York Stage & Film, and was named one of MovieMaker Magazine and Austin Film Festival’s “25 Screenwriters to Watch” for 2016. She received a BA from Vassar College and an MFA as a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin. Maya currently teaches at the Michener Center for Writers and The University of Texas at Austin. An active member of the arts and education community, she serves on boards and committees for several organizations, including Austin Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, Texas Book Festival, and Vassar College. She grew up in Kenya, Zambia, and the United States and now lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, artist Johnny Walker, and their daughter.