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What is the Scripted Film Lab?

The TalNexus Scripted Film Lab is an advanced program for those who have filmmaking, screenwriting, and producing experience and want an opportunity to work alongside like-minded creatives with the guidance of seasoned professionals such as Daniel Knauf, (executive producer, NBC’s The Blacklist) screenwriters Bill Marsilii (Deja Vu, Cold), Paul Guay (Liar Liar), David H. Steinberg (American Pie 2) and Courtney Balaker (Little Pink House) in developing, writing, filming and editing your short film or web series idea.

What themes are you looking for?

We want you to make the best film possible under the parameters of 10,000 dollars. Use these limitations to be as creative as possible! This is why we ask you to think in an epic way in terms of your theme – the core of your story. We are looking to have stories with themes that challenge your audience beyond the world you create in your short film. Stories centering on human freedom or liberty tend to have these epic themes. You can interpret human freedom how you wish, but a good principle to check if your idea really shows an individual freeing themselves from some overbearing oppression.


If using a published work, you must have the rights to make the film concept you submit. If the work is public domain, then you are fine to submit. If you are dealing with a work not in the public domain, you will need permission from the author or from the estate. Keep in mind that the product you will make in our program is a short film, which has little to no sale value. Consequently, you may consider pursuing a limited right to produce just the short film without wider rights guaranteeing the estate that you will make no profit from the sale or distribution of the film.

What happens if I am selected?

If you and your treatment are selected, you will receive a grant for $10,000 to make your short film or web-series. You will first begin with a 100 day development process consisting of three phases: Treatment, Outline, and Script. During each phase you will have an industry professional You and your team will then head into production and through to post-production, where at the conclusion, we will host a gala showcase screening where your film will premiere along with your fellow Scripted Film Lab participants’ projects.

Along the way, you will also attend multiple mini-workshops that focus on screenwriting, producing, directing and post-production, all lead by veterans of the industry. You will hear from experts in the fields that your film’s theme touches upon. TalNexus is committed to furthering your development as a storyteller and filmmaker by connecting you with experienced professionals who want to see you succeed.

All participants who do not already own it, will receive a complimentary full copy of Final Draft (valued at $249.) Final Draft is the leading software when it comes to screenwriting and it will be yours to keep after completion of the program. This will no doubt ensure you are armed with the right tools to go along with that talent.

During this film lab, you will experience an intensive process that is not unlike what filmmakers in Hollywood must contend with: a rigorous development process, valuable collaboration, working within a budget, and notes & feedback from your mentor and Taliesin Nexus. This is not for the faint of heart. You and your partners will be responsible for producing a high quality film. At the end of the program your film will be featured in our private annual Scripted film screening at a first run movie theater in Los Angeles and at private screening events in selected cities across the country.

What do I need to do to apply?

When applying, each writer and/or director applicant must submit, in addition to a resume and work sample, up to three one-page treatments for the story they’d like to tell on film. This story must have a theme related to some aspect of individual freedom. We are looking for narrative stories, not documentaries. Your stories must also be, first and foremost, entertaining. So please, no overly heavy-handed stories where you are trying to deliver a message. If you want to send a message, use Twitter.

Six teams will be accepted to the next season of the Scripted film lab. Filmmakers can apply solo or with a partner (up to three) and with up to three treatment ideas total. Film is one of those rare art forms that require a collaborative process, we insist on having a team of filmmakers for each project. If you want to work alone, then you’ve picked the wrong career. All writers must deal with the studio, producers, and directors. All directors have to learn to work with their producers, the studio, the actors, and of course the writer. And the producer must work with everyone and do their best to ensure everyone else is working with each other! Working with a teammate will allow you more flexibility to maintain your other endeavors because producing a film will take up a lot of time. This program isn’t for hobbyists.

During each phase, you will be given notes from TN as well as the mentor leading that phase. These are industry professionals who are currently working in film and television. Their experience and knowledge of storytelling and doing it in Hollywood will be at your fingertips. They are eager to mentor you and your film. You must take their notes. This is a crucial part of the process. Every successful creator in film or television, accepts notes and implements them to the best of their ability. This can be extremely challenging, but it also very rewarding. These mentors are on your side and will push you to answer the tough questions that will ultimately, and hopefully, hone your craft. Engaging in respectful dialogue should disagreements occur will also be crucial in staying on the right course. And believe us, disagreements will occur. Should there be instances of disagreement between you and your mentor or partners or both that can’t be resolved, Taliesin Nexus will be the final arbiter. To reiterate, if you want to work alone, if you think your ideas never need to be challenged, improved upon or even defended by others, then you have picked the wrong profession. The great part about all of this is, if all those involved are true to the art and only have the best interest of the film at hand, then you will have loads of pride for your project when it is finally finished.

What do I submit?

Your treatment should be a one-page document that explains the plot or narrative of your proposed film, written in short story form, not in screenplay form. It should include some brief character descriptions, a few lines of dialogue when appropriate and a clear beginning, middle, and end. The theme should be clear from the content of your story. Please only submit one-page. If it’s any longer, we won’t read those extra pages. Which means we won’t know how it ends.

Please include the following with all treatments (a separate page is fine if needed):

1. A working title.
2. Your name (and your partner’s name if applicable).
3. A one or two sentence logline.
4. The theme of your story.
5. Tell us the one person you know who would love this film after they watched.

(All documents should be submitted in PDF format. Please convert all word .doc, final draft .fdr, .txt, .rtf, and all other formats to PDF.)

This treatment will be the basis for the film you are going to make. So when you write your treatment please keep the following in mind: You have a $10,000 budget. This means that the big CGI sci-fi thriller you thought would be perfect, is actually not. Your film also must not exceed a running time of 20 minutes. So that epic 1600 mile journey of a woman finding herself along the Appalachian Trail is going to have to wait until the mini-series version.

Gregory Veeser

Gregory Veeser

Producer, Law Abiding Citizen


Writer, Battle of Shaker Heights,
Captive State

Warren Lewis

Warren Lewis

Screenwriter, 13th Warrior

Sara Anne Fox

Sara Anne Fox

Development Executive, Story Editor

Bill Marsilii

Bill Marsilii

Screenwriter, Deja Vu

Paul Guay

Paul Guay

Screenwriter, Liar Liar