FAQ

Here are some of the most common questions regarding our signature programs:

STAND UP NBC

Q: Is there an age range to audition for StandUp NBC?

A: We do not require comics to be of a certain age to audition for StandUp NBC, but be aware that most of the comedy clubs where we showcase are 21 and up only.

Q: What is the selection process for auditions?

A: The first 100 comics will be seen so we encourage early attendance. Comics will have one minute at the initial audition. A handful will be invited back later that day to perform a longer set and the top comics will be selected to perform in the showcase the following evening. If selected to perform in the showcase, you must have five minutes of polished material.

Q: I can’t make it to the open call in person. May I submit an self-taped audition or a link to my stand-up?

A: Unfortunately, no: we only do live auditions. You must be one of the first 100 comics in line on the day of auditions to be seen.

Q: What happens after the showcase?

A: Top comics will be selected and brought to Los Angeles to showcase for key industry players at NBC and industry-wide in the Best Of Stand Up NBC show, sign a holding deal with NBC, perform at the NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) National Convention, join the Stand Up NBC Nationwide College Tour, and much more.

Q: How do I find out about future open calls?

A: Check for detailed information on the next open calls and showcases by going to our website. You may also follow us on Facebook for regular updates.

LATE NIGHT WRITERS WORKSHOP

Q: Do you accept email or mail submissions?

A: No, we do not. Please apply using the online form before the deadline.

Q: Do I need to be based in NYC to apply?

A: No, you are not required to be based in NYC or LA in order to apply. You must, however, be able to fly out to NYC and stay for the duration of the workshop.

Q: Do I need to write new versions of existing sketches/bits, or should I create originals?

A: We encourage you to be original.  You are required to provide original concepts for refillable desk bits.

Q: What is the difference between monologue jokes and headline jokes?

A: The main difference between monologue jokes and headline jokes is that monologue jokes are written in the voice of a particular host. You can write them for any host (Fallon, Kimmel, Conan, Leno), celebrity (like SNL), or character, on NBC or any other network—or you can write them for yourself. It’s up to you. You may specify whom the monologue jokes are for if you think that will help the reader.

Q: May I include images in my packet, to go along with my monologue jokes?

A: We discourage you from including images. Please do not include graphics unless they are absolutely necessary.

Q: What does a properly formatted sketch packet look like?

A: The most important part is to make sure it’s all one PDF. Most people do not write the Monologue Joke portion in script format (preferring a list-like format), but do write the sketches in script format (however, depending on the type of sketch, this may vary).  Please provide descriptions of the desk bits, and not scripts.

Q: Is there anything specific I need to include in my bio?

A: Your bio is a space for you to introduce yourself to the reader.  While there are no specific requirements, it would be good to give us an idea of your comedy background and a sense of who you are as a writer. Please try to keep your bio under one page.

Q: Do you charge any fees to participate in the workshop?

A: We charge no fees to participate in the program. However, participants are required to arrange their own travel and lodging in NYC.

Q: I am a foreign citizen. Can I apply?

A: Yes. However, you must be eligible to work in the United States, and be able to fly and stay in New York for the duration of the workshop.

Q: Do I need to have an agent or a manager to apply to the program?

A: No, you do not.

Q: May I submit more than one application to apply for the program?

A: No. We will only accept ONE sketch packet and application from each writer/writing team. If you try to submit more than one, we will only accept the first one that we receive.

Q: I’m having trouble submitting my Submission Agreement form. What should I do?

A: A few things could be happening:

1) The file is too big. If the file is over 2 .5 MB, it may have trouble uploading. Reduce the size of your PDF and try again.

2) You may not have all 3 pages of the form in your PDF.

Q: Where can I find the Submission Agreement form?

A: On the online submission form there is a URL that you are to copy and paste into your browser in order to download the form.

Q: Will you accept original television pilots or spec scripts in lieu of or in addition to the sketch packet?

A: No, we will not accept pilots or specs as samples for this particular program.

Q: I have a writing partner. How should we submit our resumes and essay question answers in our application?

A: When you input your writing partner’s name in the blank titled “writing partner,” spaces for their information appear in the form. You may submit each of your resumes as a PDF file in the online application. There is a separate upload space for each. As for the essay questions, you need to separately answer both essay questions. There is a space for each of you to answer each question. Feel free to be creative with it.

Q: How do I know my submission has gone through?

A: You should get a confirmation email at the email address you entered on your application.

Q: Will you contact me to let me know the status of my application?

A: Because of the large volume of applicants, we will only reach out to you if we do decide to proceed with your application. Winners will be contacted directly, and their names will be announced on our website and Facebook page.

EMERGING DIRECTOR PROGRAM

Q: What is the Emerging Director Program?

A: The Emerging Director Program is designed to take directors accomplished in their respective fields (features, commercials and/or music videos) and have them work alongside episodic television directors. The selected directors will foster relationships and fine tune their art to fit the television format.

Q: How does it work?

A: While in the program, directors are assigned up to three episodes of one (or more) NBCU scripted show from production prep to post. The director is responsible for working alongside the show’s director(s) in every aspect.

Q: What will I be able to observe?

A: The Fellow is responsible for working alongside the show’s director(s) in every aspect. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Giving input on setting shots and giving direction (where appropriate) to cast and crew.
  • Helping to prioritize and order shooting schedule.
  • Tracking shot orders and notes for the directors.
  • Providing feedback on performances.
  • Sitting alongside the director during the editing process to finish the episode.
  • Consulting with director and producers during prep on shooting script, production design and casting.

NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL

Q: What genres do you feature in the festival?

A: NBCUniversal Short Film Festival features talent across all genres including comedy, drama, webseries and pilot presentations.

Q: How can I attend the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival Showcases?

A: The finalist showcase in Los Angeles and New York semi-finalist screening are both open to the public.

Q: Why should I submit a short to the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival?

A: NBCUniversal Short Film Festival provides an opportunity for television/filmmakers to screen their original short(s) directly for film industry, network and cable executives looking for the next hit show/film. In addition, the festival gives aspiring writers, directors, producers and actors a platform to showcase their talent to the managers, agents and other industry figures in attendance. At the end festival, the showcase will hold an award ceremony honoring the shorts and artists that stand out.

Q: Do film industry executives attend? If so, who?

A: Yes. Besides NBC Universal, there will be a call out for all industry to attend.

Q: What if I can’t afford to make my short look like shows that are already on television/film?

A: Obviously, a polished short is more impressive than one with low production values, but the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival supports the idea that talent will be the determining factor in what entries are selected as finalists. The showcase organizers and the industry figures attending understand that an independent producer putting together a short does not have the same budget as a studio, so an innovative idea bolstered by strong writing and good performances will be far more important than an expensive-looking short.

Q: Is there a fee to apply to the festival?

A: No, submitting your film to the festival is free.

Q: Can I expect my short to air on television immediately or get a deal to do a full length version of it following the showcase?

A: No. The executives are primarily scouting for creative people with whom they would like to work in the future.

Q: Does a producer or production company submitting to the showcase retain the rights to the short?

A: Per our release agreement, the producer retains rights to the material but NBCUniversal may elect to use selected films in promotions for the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival or the NBCU Diversity Initiative. Filmmaker will be a free agent in taking meetings and negotiating with any producer or company following the finalist festival screening, however NBC will not screen any films for which the submitter or producer do not hold the rights.

Q: Is there a separate category for Student films?

A: There is no separate category, student shorts are shown with the rest.

Q: What if I have more than one short that I would like to showcase?

A: An applicant may submit multiple entries: however, those must be all individually registered with FilmFreeway.

Q: Is the submission deadline a “received by” deadline?

A: The submissions deadline is a “received by” deadline. Submissions received past the deadline will not be considered.

Q: What are the acceptable screening/exhibition formats for your festival?

A: We screen films on HDCam and Digibeta. We cannot screen 16mm film prints. For the submission process, we screen online screeners.

Q: Can I mail in a DVD instead of submitting a secure online screener?

A: No. You must submit a secure online screener in order to be considered for the festival.

Q: Can I re-submit my film from last year?

A: Only if the previous version was a rough cut and the film has changed substantially since then. Eligible films cannot have been completed prior to two years before February of the Festival year. For example, for the 2017 Festival year, your film should have been completed after February 2015.

Q: If my film is not chosen, may I speak with a programmer for notes or feedback?

A: Unfortunately due to time constraints and the large number of submissions, we are unable to give individual feedback.

WRITERS ON THE VERGE

Q: When are the classes held?

A: The program will consist of two night classes, which are usually held on Tuesdays and Thursdays (7-10pm), weekly at NBCUniversal in Universal City, CA. Once accepted, students must attend all classes and turn in all written assignments on time.

Q: What do we cover in the classes?

A: Classes concentrate on creating exceptional material to enhance the writer’s portfolio, and understanding the dynamics of pitching oneself in the television industry. Writers are given the chance to interact with industry players ranging from network executives to show runners to agents and receive valuable feedback on their work and pitch style. Writing assignments on an NBCUniversal television show may be available after successful completion of the program but are not a guarantee. Past participants have gone on to series including “Community,” “Burn Notice,” “White Collar,” “The Blacklist,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD,” “Mike & Molly,” “Two Broke Girls” and “Brooklyn Nine Nine.”

Q: Do you accept email or mail submissions?

A: No, we do not. Please apply using the online form before the deadline.

Q: I am having trouble submitting my Submission Agreement form. What is going on?

A: A few things could be happening:

1) You may not have all 3 pages of the form in your PDF.

2) The file is too big. If the file is over 2 MB, it may have trouble uploading.

Q: Where can I find the Submission Agreement form?

A: On the online submission form there is a URL that you are to copy and paste into your browser in order to download the form.

Q: I am a foreign citizen. Can I apply?

A: Yes. However, you must be eligible to be employed in the United States, and be able to legally reside in the United States for the duration of the program.

Q: Do I need to have an agent or a manager to apply to the program?

A: No, you do not.

Q: May I submit more than one spec script to apply for the program?

A: No. We will only accept ONE television spec as part of the application. If you try to submit more than one script, we will only accept the first one that we receive.

Q: Does my spec need to be an NBC show?

A: No, that is not required. Your spec must be based on a show that aired new episodes during the past year’s television season on any broadcast or cable network.

Q: Can I spec a show on a streaming platform, like a Netflix or Amazon original series?

A: Yes, we do accept specs of shows on streaming platforms.

Q: May I submit an original television pilot in lieu of a spec script based on existing shows?

A: No. We will accept one properly formatted television spec screenplay of standard length (half-hour or one hour) based on a show that aired new episodes during the past year’s television season on any broadcast or cable network. Any original pilot script submissions are automatically disqualified.

Q: Can I spec an animated show?

A: Yes, as long as the show is a standard length (half-hour or one hour); please do not submit specs of shorter shows (e.g. Adventure Time, Robot Chicken).

Q: Can I spec a late-night comedy show like Saturday Night Live?

A: No. We only accept specs of narrative shows. If you are interested in writing late-night or sketch comedy, please look at our Late Night Writers Workshop.

Q: I have a writing partner. How should we submit our resumes and essay question answers in our application?

A: When you input your writing partner’s name in the blank titled “writing partner,” spaces for their information appear in the form. You may submit each of your resumes as a PDF file in the online application. There is a separate upload space for each. As for the essay questions, you need to separately answer both essay questions. There is a space for each of you to answer each question. Feel free to be creative with it.

Q: I’m part of a writing team but also write independently. May I submit both as part of a team and on my own?

A: No. You will need to choose whether you would like to submit as an individual or as part of a team. If you try to submit both, you risk disqualification.

Q: How do I know my submission has gone through?

A: You should get a confirmation email at the email address you entered on your application.

Q: Is there an application fee?

A: No. There is no fee.

Q: Will you contact me to let me know the status of my application?

A: Because of the large volume of applicants, we will only reach out to you if we do decide to proceed with your application. If you make it to the final round, we will contact you about an interview by mid-September.