FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Who is eligible to apply for this program?
A: DWW is designed specifically for women who are working in the arts and are ready to seriously pursue narrative directing. Applicants must have a minimum of three years' experience in the arts but may not have professional credits as a narrative director (defined as a directing credit on a nationally broadcast or nationally distributed narrative non-documentary feature film or television program). If you have just completed film school, it is to your advantage to take some time and build work experience before applying to the program.

Q: What is the preferred background of your participants?
A:Our participants come from a diverse range of backgrounds. We have no preference and aim to build a varied class each cycle.

Q: Does AFI prefer dramas or comedies?
A:We love and accept narrative projects of all genres.

Q: What if I do not have a work sample?
A: Applicants MUST have a work sample to apply. The sample must be of moving image project they have personally directed (not co-directed) that demonstrates individual talent, ability and potential. One MUST be a narrative sample. The other may be narrative, experimental, documentary, a reel, trailer, commercial, music video, etc.

Q: How long can my samples be?
A: The selection committee is required to watch 10 minutes of each sample but you may submit work of any length.

Q: I made a documentary that aired nationally on PBS (or was distributed nationally in theaters). Am I eligible to apply?
A: Yes. "Professional credits" are defined for the purposes of DWW as a directing credit on a nationally broadcast or nationally distributed NARRATIVE (fictional) feature film or television show.

Q: I am not a U.S. citizen. Am I eligible to apply?
A: An applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident (with Green Card) and must reside and work in the United States or its territories during the workshop period.

Q: How many women are accepted into the program?
A: Up to eight women are accepted each year with two alternates.

Q: Can I just submit my screenplay for consideration?
A: The full application process must be completed. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Q: Can applicants apply to the program with screenplays they did not write themselves?
A: The screenplay does not have to be written by the applicant. However, when an outside writer's material is used, all necessary rights must be obtained from the author, including the rights to adapt previously existing material. Literary Releases and Underlying Rights or Outside Writer's Release must be submitted with your application.

Q: I have a writing partner and am interested in co-directing with her. Can we apply as a team?
A: No, the DWW does not currently accept directing teams.

Q: If I am accepted into the program, what kind of time commitment do I have to make?
A: The workshop requires a commitment of about a year. This includes three long weekends in January through April at the AFI Campus in Los Angeles, the Workshop Intensive in May, as well as pre-production, production and post-production time in the summer and fall. There are also commitments March and April the following year.

The Intensive requires full-time attendance. The average workshop day is between eight and twelve hours, and includes weekends.

Q: Will I be able to continue to work at my job during the year?
A: Participants will be able to work from January through April since the Workshop Weekends will be confined to three days – the weekend plus either a Friday or a Monday. The hours required during the Workshop Intensive in May preclude participants working.

Participants find time to return to work on a limited basis during pre-production or post-production. However, production schedules are intense and applicants are cautioned that working may not be possible. This is a specific opportunity that each applicant has decided to commit to and it is that commitment that AFI is looking for in selecting participants. In selecting one qualified applicant over another, AFI hopes that the commitment to provide the training identified is matched by a commitment from the participant to partake in the structured environment that the workshop provides.

Q: What does AFI provide if I am selected for DWW?
A: DWW participants are provided mentorship, education and an introduction to working professionals in an intimate setting, as well as camera equipment, a grip-electric package (which participants may choose to supplement through outside vendors), production insurance, use of AFI's SAG-AFTRA agreement, access to AFI editing facilities, classrooms for castings and meetings, a screening facility for the film's premiere, a showcase of all eight projects for the entertainment community, inclusion in the AFI alumni network distribution opportunities for the finished project.

Q: Am I required to provide my own crew?
A: Participants are responsible for securing their own crews. AFI does not provide a pool of crewmembers but will provide assistance in making connections and especially if a participant is having a difficult time locating someone to fill a specific position.

There are several opportunities to meet AFI Fellows and participants are strongly encouraged to use Fellows as crew members whenever possible. The role of Producer is often the most challenging position for participants to fill, and AFI recommends that the search begin immediately upon acceptance into the program.

Q: How much money can I raise?
A: Participants who reside in Los Angeles may raise a maximum of $30,000. Participants who do not reside in Los Angeles may raise an additional $5,000 in support of their productions to cover living expenses (for a maximum of $35,000). We recommend participants raise at least $20,000, but raising the maximum amount allowable is not a requirement of the program. In fact, many successful productions have not raised the maximum amount. Additionally, should the participant want to raise more, she can petition to exceed the cap via a formal proposal. Complete budgets must be raised before the start of the Workshop Intensive in May.

Q: I have access to free edit time at a post-production facility. May I edit my project off-campus?
A: Although participants are given access to AFI editing facilities, participants may also choose to edit at an outside facility. Outside editing facilities must be approved in advance. Editing schedules are strictly monitored and all participants must screen cuts of their film for evaluation of progress. All projects must picture-lock by the assigned date – approximately 45 days after camera wrap.

Q: May I shoot my project on film?
A: No. The timetable for prepping, shooting and posting DWW projects is extremely fast and is not conducive to shooting on film.

Q: What happens to my finished film? Does it screen anywhere?
A: All DWW projects have the opportunity to premiere on AFI's campus in the Mark Goodson Screening Room and will also be featured in a one-night industry showcase in April alongside other DWW projects.

After a participant's short film has premiered, she may screen her project at festivals worldwide. Submission to festivals is the filmmaker's responsibility. After the film has had its festival run, (generally about 18 months), the project is eligible for distribution. AFI negotiates all distribution deals. We make every attempt to support distribution of the films.

Project by project, the episodic participants will create strategies for their premiere outlet and for building an audience for their work.

AFI retains the copyright to projects made within the DWW. AFI does not own the characters or underlying story rights. In other words, participants can make a feature version of their short screenplays or additional episodes of their series, and own that copyright. AFI only owns the copyright to the finished piece that is produced within the Workshop.

Q: If I am not selected as a participant, is it possible to take the classroom portion of the workshop for a fee?
A: The workshop can only accommodate the eight projects selected to participate in the program. Interested parties can volunteer to work on the productions in July. This provides an excellent opportunity to gain insight into the program and to make connections with participants and alumnae. Participants begin crewing in the spring – if you are interested in volunteering on a DWW project, it would be wise to reach out to DWW at that time.

Q: How do I apply for the program?
A: To apply, please visit our HOW TO APPLY page and access our application portal at the bottom.

Q: Whom do I call if I have additional questions not answered above?
A: For additional information on the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, please call Adrienne Childress, DWW Manager, at 323.856.7853 or email: [email protected].

Q: How can I, or my business, donate money to this essential program?
A: The DWW could not exist without support from individuals and corporations committed to providing opportunities for women in the arts.

You may make a donation to DWW online, or by either telephone or post mail.

  • For donations by telephone, please call:
    Tom West at 323.856.7680
  • For donations online, click here
  • For donations by mail, please send to:
    • AFI Advancement
      Attn: Directing Workshop for Women
      2021 North Western Avenue
      Los Angeles, CA 90027