The Realness Institute, a non-profit organisation which aims to empower Africans to tell their stories from an unapologetically African point of view, has announced a call for submissions for the 2022 Episodic Lab and Development Executive Traineeship (DET) in partnership with Netflix. Submissions are open from 22 November 2021 – 14 January 2022 and are accessible here.
This open call 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 includes 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.