In March, Women In Film (WIF) launched a television lab for female writers in conjunction with Franklin Leonard’s The Black List.  Today it was announced that Denise Jaxon was selected as a finalist for this initiative in addition to Jean Lee, Jamie Mayer, Colleen McAllister, Erin Weller, Kate Heckman and Jeane Wong.

“The participants and instructors for this inaugural WIF/Black List Episodic Lab exemplify an incredible wealth and range of talent. This group of instructors, on top of their extraordinary qualifications, are passionately dedicated to helping women writers succeed in television and to raising the number of women working in writers rooms and running shows.” Kirsten Schaffer, WIF Executive Director

The eight finalists will have their scripts hosted by the Black List website for free, and their pilots will be read by agencies, networks, and studios. Those selected will participate in an eight week program starting in August consisting of script development, workshop sessions, and master classes with established writers and industry execs.

This program is a welcomed addition to the Hollywood landscape. Earlier this year, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) released its annual Hollywood writers diversity report titled Renaissance in Reverse where data was collected from 2009-2014.  This study truly shed a light on how deep the “epidemic of invisibility” runs within the Hollywood landscape for women.  The data revealed that jobs for women writers in television only increased 0.5% over the course of four years (27.5% in 2008 increased to 28% in 2014).

“It was exceedingly difficult to narrow the hundreds of worthy scripts and writers to our final eight. The bright side of such a difficult process is that it further proves the point that there are many talented women currently going unhired in this industry for reasons unrelated to their talent and writing. It’s unconscionable, and the Black List is proud to be part of changing it.” – Megan Halpern, The Black List’s Director of Events

The instructors for the episodic lab include Cindy Chupack (Sex and the City, Modern Family), Mara Brock Akil (Being Mary Jane, Girlfriends), Melissa Rosenberg (Jessica Jones), Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead), Stacy Rukeyser (Unreal), Monica Beletsky (Fargo, Friday Night Lights), Lauren LeFranc (Agents of Shield, Chuck) and Jenn Kaytin Robinson (Sweet/Vicious).

Congratulations to all of the finalists!