Realness Institute has opened its call for submissions for its latest offering, Episodic Lab, a series development lab presented in partnership with global streaming service Netflix. Episodic Lab will be looking for screenwriters from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa with authentic and original stories of all genres. The initiative is only open to writers from the 3 countries where Netflix is currently focusing its African Originals strategy.
The Lab will take place online from 1 June 2021 to 31 August 2021 where selected writers will work on developing pitch documents for their story concepts. Six writers will be chosen to spend 3 months in a ‘writers room’ format where they will work with a script consultant and a creative producer to fully develop their story concepts into an episodic pitch. Along with creative training, writers will receive feedback from Netflix Originals’ development team.
Speaking from Cape Town South Africa, Asanda Biyana, Realness Partner and Project Manager of the Episodic Lab says, “Series give writers the space to make bigger worlds and more layered stories. There is no limit for what can be submitted, and we believe that with the pool of talent on our continent, and our incredible ability to tell stories, that we will see some extraordinary talent emerging from this process. We are excited and are preparing to work really hard to select the first cohort for the Lab.”
A stipend of US$2000 per month will be paid to the participants to cover living expenses as they dedicate their time to the process. At the end of the Lab, each writer will have an opportunity to pitch their finished product to Netflix and have their series developed for production. If Netflix does not commission further development and/or production, the rights to the developed material default to the authors. Creators should not be committed to a producer or director to participate in the Lab.
To apply applicants must meet the following criteria:
● The Writer/writing team* must have either Film or Television experience, (*only one writer will be able to participate if selected.)
● They can write in any genre of fiction
● They must be able to communicate and work in English (although the story can be in a local language but would require translation for the Lab)
● The concept must be set in South Africa, Kenya OR Nigeria
● No producers or directors should be attached to the script
● Pay a submission fee
Applicants must complete the online application on the Realness Institute website at www.realness.institute/
The deadline for submissions is the 31 January 2021 at midnight SAST. Queries about the programme or application process can be directed to email submissions@realness.