What to Expect from the ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship
Lauren Conn is a first-generation American born to Romanian and Moldovan parents. Most recently, she won the 2020 ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship with her original pilot WHO PUT BELLA IN THE WYCH ELM. Alongside her ScreenCraft win, Lauren's podcast starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Erica Lindbeck had a very successful run in IFP Week's inaugural audio hub this year and is currently in the process of finding a home. Lauren majored in screenwriting at Loyola Marymount University and studied English crime writing under the late Colin Dexter at the University of Oxford, The Queen's College. She also has a background in voiceover both as talent and as a Russian dialect coach, working for such companies as Bang! Zoom Entertainment and Funimation.
She is repped by Kirsten Jacobson at Good Fear Content.
My journey to the ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship
Bear with me for a moment, okay? When I left university I thought I was one of the lucky ones. I was brought on to develop a pilot, I was in the WGAw, but I possessed zero know-how. I was a verdant 21-year-old told to ready, aim, fire without understanding where the targets were or how to handle the gun. So I shot myself in the foot.
I was balancing too much at once; pursuing my writing and voiceover, working at The Weinstein Company, all the while parading a mimicked self-confidence carefully studied from those who were actively “doing it.” At a certain point, I called my own bluff, realized my limitations, and took myself off the machine of pursuing writing. It’s dramatic but stepping away felt like dying.
Working in Hollywood (as a rep)
So for the past few years, I’ve worked at a management and production company. And man, they aren’t kidding when they say working in rep is the entertainment industry’s version of grad school. Every bit of information I lacked before I suddenly had at my disposal, and I quickly earned an education in the family tree of this industry. The onslaught of projects, players, and places became a hectic blur, but I got a little high off of the frenzy. I liked the connectivity of it all; the who, what, where of this town, and how it’s all strangely, incestuously intertwined. And in a self-flagellating way, I even kind of enjoyed staffing season. (Don’t @ me.)
Maybe this isn’t so bad, maybe this is close enough. I had this self-soothing mantra that quickly lost its efficacy, became more Stockholm propaganda, the longer I delayed what I knew would actually make me happy — to write. There wasn’t anything wrong with the company I worked at, I was just lying to myself about what I wanted. I had a gnawing sense of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” as I watched other writers come in and out of the revolving door of my company’s development department. I didn’t know how to get unstuck. How to dive back into my first love of writing now that I was so entrenched in the other side of it all. I now knew the terrain that was once so unfamiliar, I just didn’t know how to reintroduce myself as a writer.
The ScreenCraft team is truly your pre-manager, biggest advocate, and future found family. No matter your level of industry expertise, they analyze where you currently are compared to your goals, and tailor a personalized experience that brings you that much closer to them. If you only know the projects that you’d like to work on but not the camps that belong to them, they do the research and outreach for you. While still operating in reality, no ask is too much.
Here’s something you need to know — reps are typically allergic to baby writers. That’s why ScreenCraft is so invaluable. Their job is to discover and verify talent, making you an easier pitch to the wary.
Did I get what I wanted out of ScreenCraft Fellowship Week?
ScreenCraft didn’t balk when I presented to them methodical specifics of what I wanted out of my fellowship week, gleaned from my desk experience. I had a laundry list of camps and pods I wanted to make contact with, showrunners I wanted to introduce myself to, and representation I wanted to court. Well? They delivered in full.
My week was FILLED TO THE EVERLOVING BRIM with meetings.
I made contact with my dream camps, introduced myself to showrunners I longed to meet, and I ended up signing with a pretty badass manager who gets me. (Hi, Kirsten!!!)
ScreenCraft went above and beyond my manic, Pepe Silvia-esque strategy board of people, places, and projects I wanted to cram into a five day period. I met with top-level executives and producers, agencies and managers, and gained more than a friend or two in professional writers I long admired and never dreamed would so easily welcome me into the fold.
Is it worth the application fee or should I order my Postmates instead?
Like any competition or fellowship, it really is what you make of it. However, there is something so uniquely special about the ScreenCraft Fellowship. They offer equal parts rallying collaboration and keen strategy, as well as intimate moral support to keep the looming presence of doubt at bay. The team and my fellows helped me realize that I wasn’t nuts for wanting this so badly, for thinking that I could do this, and that the reality of this future is actually within reach.
It’s not a myth! You can actually write for a living! It takes a village, sure, but ScreenCraft is one you’ll want to call home.
ScreenCraft can’t promise you a career by the end of one (pretty fucking magical) work week, but they do provide the initial impact of meetings that creates a ripple effect leading to the greater potential of success. For me? I specifically wanted representation. I didn’t know if this one week in the hellscape that is 2020 would render that result, but I got lucky again and signed with a manager. Who knows what else is in store! For the first time in a while, because of ScreenCraft, I know I am one of the lucky ones, and this never would have happened if I didn’t hit ‘submit.’
No matter where you are now, regardless of whatever you have lost up until this point, you can still find that bit of luck that’ll turn it all around if you only take a chance on yourself. So what are you waiting for?
Alexa, play "Take A Chance On Me" by ABBA.
Ready to take the next step in your screenwriting career? Enter the 2021 ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship program and start building your dream career today.