DreamWorks Theatricals/MTI Emerging Writers Program
The DreamWorks Theatricals/MTI Emerging Writers Program will seek to identify diverse teams of book writers, composers & lyricists with unique voices and points of view and commission them to develop musical adaptations of popular DreamWorks Animation titles intended for the Music Theatre International catalogue (specifically within the Theatre for Young Audience and Broadway Junior® [60-minute JR. and 30-minute KIDS] collections).
This paid program is open to both individual writers and fully formed writing teams. Selected applicants will be assigned a DreamWorks Animation title to develop and will be guided by executives from DreamWorks Theatricals and industry ambassadors to craft their musicals from treatment to completed show. The program also provides access to various industry professionals and agents via roundtable discussions, master classes, and individual meetings to advance career development.
Writers selected for the program will be hired on a work-for-hire basis with competitive terms and compensation. This program does not require an exclusive commitment from its participants, nor does it guarantee that writers’ work will be acquired for production or licensing.
DreamWorks Theatricals, a division of Universal Theatrical Group, was established to develop and produce live stage productions inspired by the studio’s acclaimed animated films, including Shrek The Musical, Madagascar and the West End premiere of The Prince of Egypt. UTG has been represented on Broadway and the West End by the worldwide phenomenon Wicked, the Tony Award-winning adaptation of Billy Elliot, Bring It On: The Musical, and Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn.
Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952, MTI is a driving force in advancing musical theatre as both a vibrant and engaging art form and an integral part of arts programs at schools of all levels. MTI provides official scripts, scores, and theatrical resources to over 70,000 professional, community and school theatres in the US and in over 125 countries worldwide.
Applicants must be authorized to work legally in the United States and be at least eighteen (18) years of age. Theatre industry experience is not required but strongly recommended. We encourage those applying to review the FAQs carefully as they are designed to guide applicants towards a strong submission.
Those applying must submit a complete application package, which includes the following items:
- Writing Sample
- Release Forms
- Personal Essay
- Letter(s) of recommendation (Optional)
Specifications for each component of the application package are as follows:
1. APPLICATION must be completed in its entirety. Incomplete applications will be disqualified.
2. WRITING SAMPLE specifications will vary based on the applicant's area of focus. The applicant(s) must be the sole writer(s) and owner(s) of all original material submitted. We are not able to accept materials written in collaboration with writers that are not included in the application. Applicants must choose to apply either in an individual category OR as part of a full team. Applicants who submit multiple applications as an individual AND as part of a team will disqualify themselves and the rest of their writing team.
- For INDIVIDUAL COMPOSER/LYRICISTS and COMPOSER/LYRICIST DUOS who are NOT applying with a book writer:
- Three (3) song demos displaying a variety of song types (e.g., I Want songs, love/loss ballads, 11 o'clock numbers, etc.). Songs are not required to be from the same musical. Applicants are welcome to submit music from existing work or new compositions written for the application. Songs must be submitted via DropBox, SoundCloud, or WireDrive as downloadable, audio-only tracks. Each song must be submitted as a separate file (as opposed to one long audio reel consisting of all three tracks). Running time must not exceed 15 minutes total for all materials submitted. A PDF of song lyrics must accompany the demos. Please do not upload sheet music.
- For INDIVIDUAL BOOK WRITERS who are NOT applying with a composer/lyricist team:
- Writing sample of your choice - it can be a play or book of a musical. Play/book of a musical submissions must be no longer than 150 pages 11 pt font.
- For complete BOOK/MUSIC/LYRICS writing teams:
- Three (3) song demos following the specifications as outlined above.
- Writing sample of your choice following the specifications as outlined above. Song demos and writing sample do not have to be from the same piece, however submitting a cohesive package is recommended
Materials cannot feature DreamWorks Animation characters, titles, or storylines. Applications featuring materials derived from DreamWorks Animation IP will be disqualified.
Because all reads are blind, do not put your name on any submitted materials.
3. RELEASE FORMS must be completed, hand-signed, dated and uploaded in order for submissions to be accepted. Incomplete release forms will result in disqualification.
4. RÉSUMÉ outlining chronological paid employment history (may include theatre/entertainment and non-entertainment positions) and any writing-related honors/awards. Positions must have been held within the past 15 years (two pages or less). Only list compensated positions with the exception of entertainment industry internships and full-time volunteer work at non-profits. If listing writing projects, only include projects that were produced and/or performed at a professional level or educational institution (including NAMT, Edinburgh Fringe, University, etc.). The applicant's résumé will provide us an understanding of their work history and insight into their individual life experiences.
5. PERSONAL ESSAY that articulates the applicant's unique perspective as it relates to their storytelling or background in theatre. Must not exceed 750 words. Applicants must respond to one of the following topics:
Essay Topic #1: Explain how your cultural background, lived experiences, and heritage have inspired your writing, music, and/or creative process.
Essay Topic #2: Explain how the theatre has made an impact in your life and/or community and describe what inspired you to pursue a career in this field.
6. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION (Optional) from entertainment industry professionals who have read the applicant's material and can comment on the applicant's writing and/or composing ability are strongly encouraged, but not required. Acceptable letters must be on business or personal letterhead, dated in the current calendar year and include the author's title and/or industry affiliation. If applying as an individual, a maximum of two (2) letters of recommendation may accompany the submission. If applying as a team, a maximum of one (1) letter per team member may accompany the submission. Letters may not be submitted via email or mail and must be uploaded with the application. Any recommendation letters emailed or mailed to the Program separate from the writer's application will not be considered.
- Applicant must be authorized to work legally in the United States. This position is not eligible for visa sponsorship.
- Applicant cannot have had their work produced on Broadway or the West End at any point and cannot have had their work produced Off-Broadway or at a major regional theatre within the last five (5) years.
- Minimum age of 18.
Any candidate who does not meet the aforementioned criteria will be disqualified.
The submission period will take place in the Fall of 2021, with specific dates TBA.
Due to the volume of submissions received, only those applicants who are selected to participate in the Program will be notified. Applicants who are not selected will not be notified. Please check social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) for updates on the selection process.