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.
Q: Does AFI prefer dramas or comedies?
A:We love narrative projects of all genres.
Q: What if I do not have a work sample?
A: Applicants must submit at least one example — and are welcome to submit two — of a moving image project that 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, 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 projects are accepted each year.
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 or series 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 should 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: You must have directed together previously, and your work samples must be from work you've made as a directing team.
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 four 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.
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). 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 30 days after camera wrap.
Q: May I shoot my project on film?
A: The workshop experience is structured for all projects to shoot with the camera provided. The main focus of the program is to provide participants with the education and opportunity to explore and learn about the process that a director must go through to successfully bring a short project to completion. The timetable for prepping, shooting and posting DWW projects is extremely fast and is not conducive to shooting on film.
Once accepted to the workshop a participant can submit a proposal to shoot on a non-AFI digital camera.
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 showcase at the DGA 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), AFI makes every attempt to secure distribution for the project in a variety of venues.
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.
Q: How do I apply for the program?
A: To apply, click here.
Q: Whom do I call if I have additional questions not answered above?
A: For additional information on the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women, please call Adrienne Childress, DWW Coordinator, at 323.856.7853.
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.