When it comes to women’s struggle to find good work in Hollywood as they age, the journey is so well-documented that it often parodies itself. Take half of Liz Lemon or Jenna Maroney’s self-deprecating jokes about age on 30 Rock, for example– they were playing characters in their 30s. Unfortunately, this tangible limitation isn’t only for female actors of a certain age, and a shortage of fulfilling work can be found across the board in film careers. Sounds like a challenge only the great Meryl Streep can conquer.
Being the woman of power and grace Streep is, it’s no surprise that she’s taking active steps to secure a place for talented women over 40 in the screenwriting industry, where women in this demographic are historically underrepresented. At the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend, the 19-time Academy Award nominee – 11 of these from roles after she had turned 40 – announced her financial involvement in the Writers Lab, a screenwriting retreat and workshop where select female screenwriters over 40 will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with industry professionals, network and develop new material.
For screenwriters that aspire to have their work produced, “labs” like this one, which will take place in upstate New York, are extremely important to the success of their work. At Writers Lab, writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Beyond the Lights”), producer Caroline Kaplan (“Boyhood”), and writers Kirsten Smith (“Legally Blonde”) and Jessica Bendinger (“Bring It On”) will be on-hand for all participants to learn and get real-time feedback from.
Submissions for the Writers Lab May 1-June 1, and the eight lucky writers to participate will be announced August 1. Kind of makes you feel like this.
Aspiring female writers over 40 can apply here beginning May 1.