Over the past five years, we have witnessed explosive growth of opportunities for writers developing episodic content for cable and online platforms. Audiences and critics have embraced the bold vision and complex characters that thrive in cable drama and comedy. And the internet has become a place for artists to experiment with new forms of content creation and for audiences to explore new modes of content consumption.
Yet there are still few training grounds for independent and diverse voices who want to work in this newlandscape. For this reason, the Sundance Institute Episodic Storytelling Initiative offers a year-round suite of Labs and support designed to foster a next generation of creators developing and producing episodic content. In 2016, in collaboration with YouTube, we will introduce a new episodic Lab, Sundance Institute | YouTube New Voices Lab, to discover and support new artists creating short-form episodic content.
The Sundance Institute Episodic Story Lab offers 10 writers (“Fellows”) an opportunity to develop long-form episodic content in a setting where they can hone their writing skills and learn how to navigate the changing industry. Working with accomplished showrunners (“Creative Advisors”), as well as non-writing creative producers and studio/network executives (“Industry Mentors”), the Fellows participate in one-on-one creative story meetings, pitching sessions, writers’ rooms, and group conversations focusing on the key creative and tactical elements that are central to their success in episodic storytelling.
In collaboration with YouTube, the Sundance Institute | YouTube New Voices Lab will support a group of 10 creators (“Fellows”), developing short-form episodic content for digital platforms. The Lab takes place over three days at YouTube Space LA. Fellows will work with an exciting group of creators, showrunners and episodic producers ("Creative Advisors") to develop their stories in an environment that encourages risk-taking and innovation. At the Lab, Fellows will participate in an intensive writing workshop, one-on-one creative story meetings, writers' rooms, and group conversations about production, post-production, and marketing in the evolving digital landscape.
Following participation in the Labs, Fellows receive a customized, year-round continuum of support to include ongoing creative and tactical advice from Sundance staff and designated advisors; targeted introductions to agents, managers, attorneys, showrunners, creative producers, executive producers, networks, digital distribution platforms, and others as needed; inclusion in the Sundance Institute alumni community, potential opportunities to observe the writers rooms of shows currently in production and for ongoing mentorships with episodic writers, directors and producers.
|Application||The application for the 2016 Episodic Story Lab is now closed. Please check back in December 2016 for information about the 2017 Episodic Story Lab application.|
|Dates||Sept 26th-Oct 1st, 2016
|Size of Lab||10 Projects each Lab|
|Location||Sundance Resort, Utah|
Sundance Institute’s Episodic Story Lab is an immersive experience for ten writers over a six-day period at the Sundance Resort in Utah.
The writers will work with an accomplished group of showrunners, television executives, and producers. They will participate in one-on-one creative story meetings, a simulated Writers’ Room to break story, pitch sessions, and group conversations about the creative and business environment of television writing and producing.
The ten writing Fellows are chosen through a rigorous outreach and selection process, open to the public. There are two rounds in the application process. In the first round, applicants will be required to pay a $40 non-refundable processing fee and are asked to submit the first 5 pages of a pilot script, along with a 2-3 page series overview that includes a brief description of the premise, genre, central characters and world of the series, as well as a short summary of the story and character arcs for the first season. If selected for the second round applicants are notified by email and asked to submit their full pilot script at that time.
For further detail on what the application process entails, please visit our FAQ page below.
If you are interested in learning more about writing for the episodic space, please find a list of helpful websites and books that provide additional resources for writers below:
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Following the Lab, the writers receive customized, year-round support including: ongoing creative and strategic advice, year-round mentors, targeted introductions to showrunners, networks, agents and other creative and business professionals, as well as opportunities to shadow working television writers, directors and producers, and visits to the Writers’ Rooms of shows currently in production.
The Feature Film Program's Lab programs are designed to give aspiring independent artists the skills and knowledge they need to pursue their craft. While the specific criteria for participation differs across our various programs, for all of our initiatives we are seeking passionate, bold, risk-taking, and creatively rigorous artists compelled to see their vision through to audience. Some things to think about while applying to any of our programs include your personal connection to the material, why you are passionate about this particular story, how you intend to realize the project creatively and logistically, and the impact you hope to have on audiences.
The Sundance Institute Episodic Story Initiative and Lab is made possible by Founding Supporters Lyn & Norman Lear; Leadership Supporters A&E, Netflix, SundanceTV, and Time Warner Foundation/HBO; and Discovery Supporters Cindy and Alan Horn, RT Features, and Sonar Entertainment.