Poiema exists to assist aspiring screenwriters and television writers who are Christians get hired writing for film and TV so that they can impact the culture for years to come.
Funded with a grant from the Wedgwood Circle, Poiema’s first session began in the spring of 2012. Dean Batali and Sheryl Anderson (both established television writers with numerous and diverse credits between them) chose five writers from a wide range of applicants. To be considered, applicants had to have already shown a high level of talent and potential, established connections of their own in the entertainment industry, and displayed a certain level of spiritual maturity.
The group met once a week to discuss story ideas and develop those ideas into full scripts (both TV pilots and sample scripts for existing shows). Individual meetings with Dean and Sheryl also took place as writers moved from outline to first, second, and final drafts. Writers were pressed and challenged to write the best script they had ever written, and to prepare themselves spiritually for the complexities of a life in Hollywood.
Participation in the program was free, but in return for this intense amount of hands-on mentoring and education, the writers agreed to pay a percentage of their future salary as television writers (up to a set limit) back into the Wedgwood Circle fund. In this way, Poiema hopes to become self-sustaining, offering this high level of training and career-advancement for years to come.
All five of the writers who participated in the first round of Poiema were hired on TV writing staffs within two years of completing the program.
With additional grant money from other sources, Poiema has also begun to train writers of feature films. Qualified writers will be assigned individual mentors and (with input from other Poiema consultants) work over a period of several months to complete the best script that they are able to write. The primary objective is that their writing sample will lead to the screenwriter getting paid for future script assignments, and open the doors for other writing opportunities. That the screenplays developed with Poiema might get purchased for production is a possibility, but that is not the primary goal of this program. Poiema is more interested in helping writers establish themselves and prepare for a long-term career.
For details about Poiema’s payback structure, please read the Memorandum of Understanding that all Poiema participants must sign. It can be found here.
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Poiema is a Greek word meaning “that which has been made,” and is the word from which we get the English “poem.” It is commonly translated in the Bible as “workmanship,” most notably in Ephesians 2:10: “We are his workmanship (that is, the things God has made; or, more loosely, the things God has written) created for good works in Christ.”