Lena Waithe is once again using her Hillman Grad Productions to create opportunities for aspiring creators from marginalized communities. The company has announced the return of its mentorship program, per Deadline.
The Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab is an 8 month tuition free program that allows participants to receive personalized mentorship from professionals in the track of their choice. These include television writing, screen acting, and executive development.
The application deadline is Feb. 11 at 11:59 pm PT.
“Since the inception of Hillman Grad, it has been our ultimate goal to break down barriers to entry into Hollywood for new and diverse artists, while also ensuring they are paid for their art,” said the executive team at Hillman Grad in a statement. “The program was built around the idea of an informational coffee meeting. Many up and coming filmmakers were reaching out for advice and insights, and as that demand grew, we knew that there was a gap in the industry for a program like this – one that offered mentorship in an organized way while keeping the essence of an intimate, one-on-one connection at its core.”
The television writing track helps “prepare mentees to be ready for their first staff position in a writer’s room.” Instructed by Michael Svoboda, mentees “engage in a comprehensive writing experience, developing an original pilot from concept ideation to a fully polished and packaged script.”
The acting track prepares “mentees for jump-starting their careers as recurring actors and guest stars.” Behzad Dabu and Carolyn Michelle Smith lead mentees to “critically explore a wide array of genres, expanding their creative capacity to successfully deliver powerful performances, slay their audition, and stay booked.”
Executive Development prepares “mentees for transitioning from working as an assistant to becoming a creative executive.”
At this point, it’s no secret how hard it is for creators of color to break into Hollywood. A program like this that opens doors that would normally be locked tight is priceless. And the fact that it’s tuition free is amazing.
“Our showcase this past year was a beautiful testament to the work of these talented individuals who met for multiple sessions to focus on their craft, learn together, and grow together,” the team continued. “Off its success and the astounding number of jobs it led to for these artists, we are excited to see what another year of the program brings.”
The program’s alumni are now working on projects including Sofia Vergara’s Netflix limited series Griselda, HBO’s The Sympathizer from Robert Downey Jr. and Apple TV+’s upcoming show Bad Monkey.
Hillman Grad Mentorship Lap submission requirements:
You must submit a complete and accurate application through the Hillman Grad website prior to the application deadline.
Short answers to a series of questions, a resume.
For Television Writing applicants: a writing sample, written solely by the applicant (no writing teams), which must be either an original feature screenplay or television pilot (preferable).
For Screen Acting applicants: two (2) 60-second monologues with contrasting tones. Monologues should be sourced from a film, television program, or play.
You must also agree to (1) these Submission Requirements, (2) all terms relating to the Program posted on Hillman Grad’s website, which you should review and read in full, and (3) the Submission Agreement, which governs the submission of your materials to Hillman Grad. The Submission Agreement includes important, legally binding terms and conditions, including arbitration of any disputes, which you must read in full before accepting.
You must be at least 18 years of age and not a minor in the state or country of your residence at time of submission.
You must be the sole owner of all rights in and to the materials submitted to Hillman Grad (“Submission Materials”). The Submission Materials must not in any way infringe upon the copyright of any person or entity or, to the best of your knowledge in the exercise of reasonable prudence, constitute libel, defamation or invasion of privacy or any other rights of any third party.
HILLMAN GRAD RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE NO CANDIDATE FOR INCLUSION IN THE PROGRAM IF, IN THE OPINION OF HILLMAN GRAD, NO ENTRY IS OF SUFFICIENT MERIT.