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The Actor Directory and the Unfinished Works Program 

The Unfinished Works program is the Film Lab’s longest running program (since 1998) and provides screenwriters with the opportunity to see their work brought to life by Film Lab Actor Directory members and then led through a constructive workshop by the Unfinished Works Coordinator for the Asian American Film Lab, at no cost.

Actors interested in joining the Actor Directory should email UnfinishedWorks@film-lab.org.

Overview and Purpose

The purpose of the Unfinished Works program is to provide (1) screenwriters of color (all colors) or (2) screenwriters writing about diverse and/or Asian American themed stories or with at least one Asian American character to receive honest and practical feedback on their unfinished screenplay through seeing and hearing their screenplay read aloud by professional actors in a table read, followed by a workshop of their script utilizing the Liz Lerman technique. 

Submission 

Screenwriters can submit their logline and synopsis for consideration by the Film Lab Unfinished Works (“UW”) coordinator via email to: unfinishedworks@film-lab.org

The Process 

In general, expect the process to take a minimum of 4-6 weeks.  

To Submit 

Screenwriters are asked to send a logline, synopsis of their script to UnfinishedWorks@film-lab.org with a short email explaining why they think Unfinished Works will help them develop and improve their script.  Film Lab will work to help create a relationship with the writers we workshop, so, ideally, you’ll come back and workshop edited versions of your script all the way to, in the case of films, a rough cut.  If you are selected, congratulations!  The process begins with providing the Unfinished Works coordinator with your full length script and explaining the aspects that are most critical to you to work on.  Then, you participate in the casting process, per the below guidelines, sit back, relax and -literally!- enjoy the show!  

To Cast 

We require that participants cast ALL their actors from Film Lab members with first priority going to the Film Lab Actor Directory members.  

The Actor Directory is comprised of actors who have shown excellence in their craft and a commitment to supporting diversity in the arts.  For more information about joining the Directory, please email connections@film-lab.org.

If your screenplay is chosen for workshopping, you’ll email your character breakdowns to unfinishedworks@film-lab.org and we will post them to our members.  You are encouraged to also scroll through this Actor Directory and submit your preferences from it to the Unfinished Works Coordinator, who will contact actors from the Directory to determine their availability and let you know.  Once the Directory has been exhausted, the remainder of the casting is opened to our social media sites via the UW Coordinator, who will forward the submissions to you and you contact the actors directly and take it from there. We post the initial casting notice and forward the replies to the writer in order to avoid giving the writer’s personal email to too many people and also so as to allow us to keep records of who and how many submit. Then, we provide a venue for you, free of charge, and conduct a structured workshop in a style the Coordinator can explain to you in more detail, which is designed to give each artist writer specific, individualized feedback that expressly focuses on his/her needs.  If you have a particular actor or actors you simply must cast who are not members of the Directory, you can “fast track” their membership, however, you or they will be responsible for the (de minimis) $20 set-up charge per actor. 

Rehearsals and Directors 

You are free to choose a director or to have the Film Lab post a call for directors for you or to take a risk and let the actors self-direct and see what happens!  This is an experimental creative process and you’re free to try out what you think will best help you improve the piece in this regard.  Any director must agree to abide by these program requirements and to work closely with Coordinator, to ensure the best possible collaboration and efficient use of talent for the program.  You may also self-direct.   

The Film Lab will cover the cost of a venue chosen by the Film Lab, subject to the venue’s availability for one rehearsal (at the UW Coordinator’s discretion, the Lab will sometimes cover two rehearsals, especially for a feature length screenplay).  You are required to compensate the actors and, if applicable, the director, for their time for any rehearsals beyond that.  The Film Lab does not cover this extra cost.  We ask that a minimum of one week’s notice be given for us to provide a venue for you for rehearsals. 

Programs and Press 

The Film Lab often puts out a press release and/or social media news releases about our Unfinished Works program.    

The Film Lab provides programs for the Unfinished Works events at its discretion.  

Film Lab Credit 

In the event you find the workshop useful and produce the script you agree to provide Film Lab with a credit. 

Donations 

Many participants make a “thank you” donation to Film Lab for the gratis space, hosting and casting of their screenplay.  If you would like to do so, please let our admin know if you will need a receipt for tax deduction purposes (we are a 501(c)(3)).  Thank you. 

If Your Submission is Not Chosen 

If your submission is not chosen, please do not be disheartened.  We receive a large number of submissions and sometimes have a 2-3 month waitlist.  Please come to our events, network and enjoy and keep submitting!   

Other FAQs about CAST, DIRECTOR, REHEARSAL, RELEASES, and/or Venue

As mentioned above, we do require that participants cast all of their actors from the Asian American Film Lab Actor Directory (you can peruse headshots and reels online at www.film-lab.org).  We also require all actors and the writer to sign releases priot to the reading as we will livestream the event for our members on both coasts and to do press and media photography.  

Should you wish to cast a specific actor who is not a member of the Directory, he or she may become one in advance of the workshop by filling out a submission and providing a de minims $10 fee to cover costs for uploading their information and web hosting. For details, email your Unfinished Works coordinator.  In the event that not enough Actor Directory members are available to fill all of your roles, simply speak with a UW coordinator, email your character breakdowns to unfinishedworks@film-lab.org and we will post them to our members, allowing one week for actor submissions.  We then forward the submissions to you and you contact the actors directly and take it from there.  We post the initial casting notice and forward the replies to the writer in order to avoid giving the writer’s personal email to too many people and also so as to allow us to keep records of who and how many submit.  Then, we provide a venue for you, free of charge, and conduct a structured workshop in a style our UW coordinators can explain to you in more detail, which is designed to give each artist writer specific, individualized feedback that expressly focuses on his/her needs.  

Sometimes, writers ask us about rehearsals, directors and changing to a different venue of their choosing.  With regard to rehearsals, because the actors are performing gratis, only one (optional) rehearsal is provided free of charge and only if it occurs the hour prior to the reading itself and in the same venue.  If the writer would like an additional rehearsal or a rehearsal at another time, the writer must pay the actors and coordinator each a nominal stipend of $20-$50 (depending on the writer’s financial situation) per person, provided that the Unfinished Works coordinator and the actors agree.  The writer may direct such rehearsal or provide her or his own director, at her or his own cost.  Directors are purely optional and the Film Lab does not provide one. The Film Lab does provide a workshop moderator, who is an experienced screenwriter, to provide feedback and solicit structured feedback from the audience.  The moderator is provided free of charge.  The Film Lab also provides a gratis venue of the Film Lab’s choosing for the reading and workshop.  If a writer would like to switch to a different venue, provided the Unfinished Works coordinator gives advance approval, the writer may arrange her or his own venue, at her or his own cost.

THANK YOU!

Thank you in advance for your submission and we look forward to hearing from you!  

The AsAmFilmLab Team

**ACTORS interested in being included in the Asian American Film Lab’s Actor Directory should email UnfinishedWorks@film-lab.org, attn: Georges**