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NRDC Climate Storytelling Fellowship

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The Black List is pleased to partner with NRDC’s Rewrite the Future program and The Redford Center to offer financial grants and creative support for scripts telling stories with new perspectives on climate change.

The Black List, NRDC and The Redford Center will award $10,000 to each of three screenwriters to support revision of a feature screenplay or pilot with significant climate crisis and/or climate solution themes.
 
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 (mentors include Sarah Treem, Scott Z. Burns and Naren Shankar)
- 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, an NRDC expert 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, Participant, 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 50 writers that opt in with a qualified screenplay or pilot that has not been previously evaluated by the Black List 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.

Each fellowship recipient will retain complete ownership of their work.

In order to apply for the fellowship, the script MUST include climate in the story in a meaningful way that involves major character(s), events and plot or subplot(s). The climate angle should be more than just a backdrop or setting. 


WHAT CONSTITUTES CLIMATE STORYTELLING...

The script can be any genre but climate change and solutions must be  a main driver of the action and affect important choices made by characters.

The climate crisis intersects with a wide variety of topics so a successful climate script could incorporate impacts and/or solutions in many areas:
  • Stories that personalize climate issues like environmental racism and climate injustice, climate disruption of food, water, public health, war/national security, natural disasters, corporate malfeasance, immigration, political scandal, conspicuous consumption, deforestation, wildlife and wilderness, pollution, sea-level rise, and other regional effects. 
  • Stories that show the impacts of the climate crisis on people and communities, disproportionate effects on BIPOC frontline communities; personal impacts on relationships, emotions/psychology, romance, family planning, jobs, and career choices; facing the ethical dilemmas of a fossil fuel economy; becoming part of the solution through personal/community/political action, education, politics and journalism, activism, etc. 
  • Stories that feature people discovering and engaging in climate solutions, including “green” innovations in farming and food, public health, law and policy, energy, transportation, science and high-tech, business and finance, building and product design, waste management, circular economy, community-based innovation like greening neighborhoods, food justice, urban farms, etc. 
  • Stories about thought and action leaders meeting the immense challenge of solving the crisis and transitioning to a just, equitable, decarbonized economy.
  • Stories that show alternative futures, beyond the cliches of climate disaster/dystopia.
  • Scripts that highlight a new perspective on the human relationship with the planet that: 
    • Engenders hope and illustrates solutions 
    • Addresses human agency 
    • Revises the relationship of “taking from” or carelessly destroying ecosystems to “caretaking”, or sustaining ecosystems
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 - PLEASE NOTE EXTENDED SUBMISSION DEADLINE!

Writers who meet the submission requirements will be able to opt into consideration via the Black List website until August 25, 2021. 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 September 21, 2021.

Evaluations purchased before midnight on July 15, 2021 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.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For additional questions about the Climate Storytelling Fellowship, please consult our FAQ or email [email protected]

For more information on NRDC’s Rewrite the Future program, visit nrdc.org/RewriteTheFuture or contact us at [email protected].

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