“Watchmen” writer Cord Jefferson is teaming up with the Writers Guild of America Foundation to launch the Susan M. Haas Fellowship, which will award two journalists interested in TV writing the financial and creative support needed to develop original pilots.
“The fellowship is named after my mom, who would have been 72 today,” Jefferson said on Twitter. “She believed that if you gave people education, kindness and some resources, they would usually impress you. Susan forever.”
He also urged people to apply if they are typically underrepresented in TV writers’ rooms, noting that Color of Change’s report on Hollywood found that over 90% of showrunners are white.
The fellowship includes $25,000 to assist with six months of living expenses, during which recipients will develop an original TV pilot under the guidance of a mentor. At the end of the six-month period, writers will meet with at least two industry professionals to move forward project development.
Though a program start date is yet to be determined, applications are due on Feb. 21 and a decision will be made by April 2. Applications must include a resume, cover letter, writing clips and three brief original pilot ideas. The fellowship is open to journalists who do not have a steady source of income, including part-time and freelance journalists and those who have never earned credits for any TV or film writing.
A former journalist himself, Jefferson left Gawker Media to work in television. He has since worked on “Succession,” “The Good Place,” “Master of None,” “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” and “Survivor’s Remorse.” Jefferson, alongside Damon Lindelof, won an Emmy Award for best writing for a limited series for “Watchmen.” They also won the Writers Guild Award for best new series. In November 2020, Jefferson signed a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. Television to create, develop and produce more original programming for HBO, HBO Max and other WarnerMedia platforms.