Realness Institute Opens Submissions for 2022 Episodic Lab and Development Executive Traineeship

Realness Institute, a non-profit organisation which aims to empower Africans to tell their stories from an unapologetically African point of view, is excited to announce the opened submissions for the 2022 Episodic Lab and Development Executive Traineeship (DET) in partnership with Netflix, the world’s leading streaming entertainment service. Submissions open today (22 November 2021) on and close on 14 January 2022. This follows the overwhelming interest in the inaugural editions, having received 425 submissions for the 2021 Episodic Lab and 79 applications for the 2021 DET.

The Episodic Lab is a development programme that gives screenwriters from South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria an opportunity to develop their original story ideas, in any genre. The participants have the opportunity of pitching these incubated stories to Netflix executives at the end of the programme.

The DET, which is open to applicants from across Africa and the Diaspora, is aimed at mid-career industry professionals who are looking to enhance their skills as story consultants. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the story development process, and will be exposed to a more nuanced approach in the support of writers whilst simultaneously holding writers accountable for their creative work. DET participants will work alongside creative producers and story experts in the development of their concepts and series pitch decks. They will also engage with international and local guest speakers every week for the duration of the programme.

While there is no guarantee that any proposal will be developed further by Netflix, it is a unique opportunity to interface at key milestones with the Netflix executives, and be afforded the opportunity to pitch. 2021 Episodic Lab alumnus Kudi Maradzika (Zimbabwean-South African) pitched an idea for a comedy-drama that has been selected for further development. Provisionally entitled Bad Influencer (co-created with Justin Oswald) Maradzika is now starting to turn her attention to next steps, which include Writers’ Room planning.

The 2022 Episodic Lab and DET are set to take place online from 1 May to 31 July 2022. Each of the twelve participants (six per programme), will receive a monthly stipend of USD 2,000 during the incubation period. This is to cover living expenses as they focus on their concept development while being mentored.

Mehret Mandefro, Director of Development and Partnerships at the Realness Institute says, “What we have witnessed from the first Lab and Traineeship is that there is a deep desire for Africans to create their own narratives. This bodes well for a growing audience, based in Africa and abroad. We are so pleased to be a major player in lighting the fire of our amazing continental creatives. Also to hear from last year’s participants how they have been able to transplant everything they learnt in the incubator into their current work and other projects, as well as the impact we had in their lives and creative process.”

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Realness Institute for the 2022 edition of the Episodic Lab and Development Executive Traineeship (DET). The development, nurturing and support of talent pipelines gives new voices a chance to be heard. This is key for Netflix as we contribute to the growth of the film and TV industry and honour our commitment to the African creative community,” says Allison Triegaardt, Netflix Manager for Grow Creative Africa.

For information on eligibility and application process please visit the following:

Further enquiries about the programme and application process can be directed to email su*********@re******.institute.