Breakthrough Artist Awards

Together with the TSC, Ben Watkins (Creator, HAND OF GOD) has developed a Pay-It-Forward community bursary initiative. Ben invites Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in the TV and film industries to submit applications for the Breakthrough Artist Awards. Ben is looking for creators who are looking to elevate their position in the industry, who do good work for their communities, and are serious about a career in the film & television industries to submit their work for consideration.

Five content creators will be awarded complimentary passes to attend the 2018 Toronto Screenwriting Conference (TSC) (June 23-24/2018). Award winners will join Ben Watkins for an intimate lunch and mentorship session over the conference weekend. Award winners will also have the opportunity to meet with agents from the Jennifer Hollyer Agency for some one-on-one time with one of Canada’s leading literary agencies.

Application Deadline: Monday, May 14, 2018

About Ben Watkins

Ben Watkins

Ben Watkins

Creator/Showrunner, HAND OF GOD

Ben Watkins is a writer/filmmaker/actor from Berkeley, California. He started his career in Hollywood as an actor, playing the “mysterious” Dr. Wesley Carter on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS. The transition to writing began in earnest with his award winning short film QUEST TO REF, which he wrote, co-directed and starred in. The film was an official Sundance Film Festival selection and won the American Black Film Festival. Soon after adapting that project into a feature screenplay for Universal, Watkins joined USA Network’s BURN NOTICE. He rose from Staff Writer to Executive Producer, before moving on to create the provocative Amazon Originals series, HAND OF GOD. Through his recently launched production banner, Blue Monday Productions, Watkins has projects in active development for AMC, USA and FX Networks among others. He strives to tell stories that change the way we view the world and ourselves.

Watkins actively supports community programs and people who are looking to improve issues around civil rights, public education and homelessness.

He resides in El Segundo, California. He and his wife, Kandi, have four sons.

The Five (5) applicants will be selected on the basis of the following three materials:

1) One original concept for an original TV series, Web series or feature film

2) One writing sample

3) A letter of intent and interest outlining how you will use the opportunity to further your career, as well as outlining any community work you do (volunteering, et al.)


The goals of this opportunity are:

1. To create more opportunities for diverse content creators to attend the 2018 Toronto Screenwriting Conference free of cost

2. To connect with and receive mentorship from Ben Watkins (Creator of HAND OF GOD, and Founder of Blue Monday Productions)

3. To create opportunities for content creators to enhance and elevate their projects, actively contributing to an improved creative screenwriting landscape

4. To give creators the opportunity to meet with professional literary agents, and find out more about how to leverage that relationship


Emerging screenwriters must apply to the Program with an original concept for a television series, or feature film, and letter of intent.

Applicants must:

  • Must not be enrolled in any full-time school or university program
  • Must have ownership of creative rights, and be able to demonstrate proof of original concept
  • Must be available to attend the Toronto Screenwriting Conference (June 23-24), in Toronto (please note: we are unable to cover the costs of travel)
  • Must be available to attend the luncheon with Ben Watkins (June 23 or 24, 2018)


Applicants are asked to include the following information in the form of a complete package.

Please provide the following enclosures in your application:

  • A letter of intent and interest outlining how you will use the opportunity to further your career, as well as outlining any community work you do (volunteering, et al.)
  • A curriculum vitae that includes screen credits, relevant education and training
  • A two-page synopsis that describes your original concept, story, characters, genre, format and target audience
  • Writing Sample: One (1) original script for a TV-series, or feature film


Applicants are asked to submit their full application package via email to:

When collating your application, please ensure that you submit your package in two separate PDFs.

  1. Enclosures: Letter of Intent/Interest, CV, and two-page synopsis
  2. Writing Sample

Award winners will be notified of selection by Monday, June 4, 2018

Ben Watkins and the Toronto Screenwriting Conference would like to thank you for your submission. Only those selected to receive the award will be contacted.


Email or phone 416-804-0391.