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2022 NRDC Climate Storytelling Fellowship

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The Black List is thrilled to announce that it has once again partnered with NRDC’s (Natural Resources Defense Council) Rewrite the Future program, The Redford Center, and The CAA Foundation to launch a second iteration of the NRDC Climate Storytelling Fellowship.  


The Fellowship will grant $20,000 each to three writers to support revision of a feature screenplay or pilot that engages with climate change in a meaningful way through events, actions, character, emotions, plot, and/or setting. 


In addition, NRDC will connect each fellowship recipient with the following professionals for feedback and guidance on their scripts:

- A credited professional screenwriter with an interest in climate storytelling 

- A climate story consultant from NRDC’s Rewrite the Future program to advise on effective approaches to climate storytelling that are entertaining and impactful 

- As applicable, one or more NRDC experts to advise on climate issues highlighted in the script.

- After receiving these consultations, Fellows have six (6) months to complete a revision of their script. Revised scripts may be reviewed for development by prominent studios, agencies and/or production companies including Hyperobject Industries, Madica Productions, UTA and WME. 

- At the end of the Fellowship, each recipient will provide a designated representative of the NRDC with a revised version of their script along with a short reflection on how the grant has been used to advance their work and/or impacted their career. 

 

The first 400 writers that opt in with a qualified screenplay or pilot will receive one free month of hosting and one free evaluation. If you meet these criteria when you opt in, you will receive a notification. Fee Waivers must be requested no later than October 23, 2022.

 

Each fellowship recipient will retain complete ownership of their work.

 

To be considered for the fellowship, a script should engage with climate in a meaningful way through events, actions, character, emotions, plot, and/or setting.

 

WHAT IS A CLIMATE STORY?...

 

The script can be in any genre but climate change and solutions must drive action and affect choices made by characters.

 

A climate story is one in which climate change affects characters, influences choices, and drives action.

 

A climate story acknowledges that we already live in a climate-altered world whether or not our house has burned up or been washed away in a flood.

 

We worry about climate change. We feel shame and grief about it. We talk about it with our partners and friends. People discuss whether it makes sense to have children, or wonder where the safest place is to live, or what they can possibly do to help.

 

Climate can be a central factor in motivating characters and driving plot. The story and genre options are limitless because climate can touch every aspect of life, from food, health, and relationships to justice, jobs, and national security.

 

There have been few climate stories in mainstream entertainment, especially considering the scale of the crisis. Most depict extreme weather disasters, societal breakdown, and apocalypse. That dark and narrow vision is understandable, and it can be entertaining, but if all the climate stories we see show characters stuck in despair, or in dystopian futures, it reinforces the view that there’s no way out.

 

It also overlooks the enormous potential for original content that illuminates the more complex and nuanced human reality of the climate crisis, including stories about people fighting for a healthier, more equitable and sustainable future.


We need it all–the bleak and the inspirational, the fantasies, dramas, satires, and rom-coms.

It is the power and privilege of writers to show us how climate change is transforming our world, and to help us find a path to salvation.

 

Note: For TV pilot submissions, applicants who make the short list must also provide a long synopsis or treatment describing the primary story arcs and how the climate themes will be developed throughout the show. 

 

THE SELECTION PROCESS

 

Writers who meet the submission requirements will be able to opt into consideration via the Black List website until November 30, 2022. Up to 15 writers will be invited, based on the strength of their scripts as determined by the Black List, to submit a one-page personal statement and professional resume. From those submissions, three fellowship recipients will be selected no later than February 15, 2023.

 

Evaluations purchased before midnight on October 30, 2022 will be guaranteed consideration. The Black List recommends—but does not require—that writers obtain at least one script evaluation for their hosted scripts, as the data from script evaluations inform the process by which the short list of writers is determined for this opportunity.


NEW TO THE BLACK LIST?


If you are new to the Black List, register for a FREE account by clicking the REGISTER button below. Once you are logged in, you will be able to apply for a Fee Waiver and submit your script. If you have any questions, please check out our FAQ or email us at [email protected]


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