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Netflix begins search for screenwriters

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By Gbenga Bada

Netflix has begun the search for indigenous screenwriters that will be rewarded with a total sum of N13.6million and empowered with global training.

Netflix’s partner, Realness Institute launched the call for submissions for the Episodic Lab, a series development lab.

The Lab will take place remotely from June 1, 2021, to August 31, 2021, and is targeted at writers from Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa with authentic and original stories of all genres.

The initiative is only open to writers from the three countries where Netflix is currently focusing its African Originals strategy. Selected writers will work on developing pitch documents for their story concepts.

Six writers will be selected to spend 3 months in a ‘Writers Room’ format. These participants 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 the Netflix Originals’ development team.

A stipend of $2000 per month will be paid to the participants to cover living expenses during the training. 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.

Potential applicants can be a writer/writing team with either film or television experience, but one writer only will be able to participate if selected. Entries can be in any genre of fiction, in English and/or local language and the concept must be set in South Africa, Kenya, or Nigeria.No producers or directors should be attached.

Speaking from Cape Town South Africa, Asanda Biyana, Realness Partner and Project Manager of the Episodic Lab says, “Series gives writers the space to make bigger worlds and more layered stories. There is no limit to 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.”

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