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The 2022 cohort
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Frequently Asked Questions

What elements do I need to upload with my application?

  • You can download and preview the application in this PDF. Applicants will answer a few questions about their past creative experiences and growth goals for the fellowship, provide references and a CV, and upload a 1-2 page project pitch or concept brief that addresses the following:

  1. What do you propose to create as part of this fellowship?

  2. What format and medium do you intend to work in?

  3. Who is your intended audience?

  4. What are possible distribution channels and platforms?

  5. Why is the topic relevant and what is your connection to it?

  • Applicants who advance to an interview will be asked to complete a detailed budget template showing how they intend to spend production funding if accepted to the program. Note that applicants may pitch projects with budgets exceeding $25,000 but should have a plan for how they will raise the rest of the needed funds and what they can accomplish within the scope of the $25K budget.

 

I applied for the previous cohort. Can I reapply with the same project as last time?

  • Yes. We had over 250 applications in 2022 and only had space for 13 fellows, so many wonderful candidates and projects did not make it to our final round. Additionally, some projects may be a better fit for our new parameters than they were last time. And again, please note that we are unlikely to accept more than a few podcast producers to the cohort, so consider your format carefully.

Is the Lab in conflict with the SAG or Writers Guild strikes?

  • The Lab will not participate in any actions that go against WGA or SAG guidelines. Creators participating in the Lab own their products. We hope the strikes will be over by the time the program begins in winter 2024, but if it is not we will work with participants to help ensure programming and outputs are not breaking any rules.

 Can I submit proposals for two different projects?

  • Yes, although we don't encourage this and it will be a lot of extra work to complete two applications. We prefer that you think hard about the project you’re most ready to work on, and would most like to start if selected for this cohort. If you decide to submit two pitches, make sure to clearly delineate them in your application and uploaded files.

Am I allowed to apply as a two-member creative team?

  • Yes, teams may apply with a joint project, but the funding guidelines remain the same regardless of how many people are involved. If accepted, teams must designate one member to attend all the convenings (in-person and virtual). Please submit one application and include a CV, work sample, and references for each member of the team, or one work sample that was co-created by the team.

Is this program meant for young creators or will you consider older applicants?

  • We would be delighted to hear from a wide range of applicants, including applicants of all ages (21 and up), and we are building a cohort of people who will benefit in diverse ways from the program. We see the Lab as investing as much in people as in their projects: successful applicants will be committed to participating fully in all aspects of the program, will demonstrate their ability to carry out their proposed project with the right support, and show potential to continue in the field into the future, regardless of their age.

  What if I am a great writer/storyteller/musician but have zero digital or audio/visual media experience?

  • This is a program for experienced media creators, rather than a boot camp designed to teach technical skills. We will offer high level creative support at our meetups and through our mentorship program but we will not be teaching basic technical skills like lighting, editing, storyboarding or recording audio. Of course, everyone has areas for growth, and we can support you in continuing to build on your existing skills through partnerships and other resources. ​

I'm an established media producer/artist/journalist, but I’m not sure I have time for all this travel and meetings given my job - should I apply?

  • We are looking for applicants who will participate fully in all aspects of the program, and will benefit significantly from the program beyond the financial support. If this doesn’t feel right for you, perhaps you'd be interested in working with us as a mentor or presenter? Contact us at contact@jwinitiative.com.

What if I live abroad right now but will be in North America in the fall?

  • You must be living in North America when the program starts, eligible to work in the US, Canada, or Mexico, and receive payments in your own name. We will not make travel arrangements from airports outside of North America and are unable to subsidize international airfare beyond major hub airports.

What do you mean by "storytelling?"

  • The Lab is interested in storytelling as a way to engage audiences with the breadth and depth of Jewish life, text, ritual, history, etc. For this second cohort of the Lab, we’re defining “storytelling” broadly – projects may use highly scripted narratives (fiction or nonfiction) or more improvisational, conversational, visual, musical, aural, etc., forms of  sharing “stories.” Projects can live in different genres - comedy, journalism, documentary, soap opera, even education - but they should be produced for new media platforms and go beyond delivering a lecture to your phone or posting videos of your stand up act online.  Interview formats that deliver compelling stories and are highly produced will be considered. ​

I am producing a feature film or documentary. Can I apply to the Lab to develop supporting materials?

  • We are supporting creators in the development of episodic, digital-first projects - not funding film projects. We are unlikely to accept proposals like this unless the proposed project can stand on its own and is not just promotion for your film.

I have a major life event (birth, wedding, etc) happening during the retreat schedule. Can I attend virtually?

  • We are building a cohort as much as we are building projects, and we believe in the power of gathering in-person to build our community as well as our skills. Because of this, attending our two in-person convenings is mandatory.

I have a personal situation or special need that may impact my participation in an in-person convening (a disability, mobility issues, nursing a baby, etc.) Can you accommodate this?

  • We will do our best to support your participation. Please contact us with the specifics of your needs at contact@jwinitiative.com.

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