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Scripted Digital Series Incubator

The Scripted Digital Series Incubator is a four-day intensive program for writers and producers focused on script development, casting, audience development/discoverability, pitching, and financing for digital platforms.

  • Incubator-style group sessions on script development, financing, marketing and pitching.
  • A small number of producer/writer teams will be selected.
  • Limited enrollment for an intimate learning experience.

How it began: Six producer-writer teams selected for inaugural Scripted Digital Series Incubator | Flickr Album

The Scripted Digital Series Incubator is an intensive four-day program that introduces emerging content creators to the key aspects required to ensure the successful development of an original scripted digital series. 

A small number of projects, represented by an individual or teams consisting of a producer and a writer, will be selected to participate in this program.

FOCUS AREAS

  • Script development
  • Casting
  • Audience development/discoverability
  • Pitching 
  • Financing

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

  • Create a more polished and marketable script with stronger characters and a narrative arc that is ready for the next stage of funding applications.
  • Gain the knowledge needed to create a strong funding application and learn about available funding options.
  • Build a marketing and audience engagement strategy.
  • Strengthen your industry network.

POST-PROGRAM SESSION

A new post-program session to be announced shortly.

The Scripted Digital Series Incubator is recommended for screen-based professionals with a minimum of five years’ experience in the film, television or digital industry who meet all other requirements as noted in the guidelines. If you have any questions about your eligibility, please contact Laurie Januska, Director of Programming.

The deadline to submit applications is EXTENDED! Tuesday June 15, 2021 (9am EDT)

BURSARY

Thanks to the Foundation for WIFT Toronto, a bursary is available to cover the program fees for one team. Apply online by EXTENDED DEADLINE! Thursday June 10 2021 (11:59pm).

PROGRAM DATES

This program will take place via Zoom:

9:30 AM to 4:30 PM | Tuedsay June 22 - Friday June 25, 2021 (inclusive)

Post-program Session: to be announced

ELIGIBILITY

The deadline to submit applications is EXTENDED! Tuesday June 14, 2021 (9am EDT)

Projects - either represented by individuals or teams consisting of a producer and a writer - will be selected to participate in this program.

Producer and Writer (both) applicants must have:

  • ‍Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Resident status
  • At least one digital series in development
  • Production experience demonstrated by produced credits in at least one of these formats: feature film, television movie, television series, television one-off, original short-form digital/web series, documentary OR two short films
  • Ability to attend all four days of programming plus post-program session (to be announced)

Producer applicants:

  • ‍Must be an independent producer
  • Must submit the application on behalf of the team
  • Cannot be the sole writer of the project with which you are applying
  • Must provide Chain of Title documentation that expires no earlier than December 31, 2021 (NOTE: if your project is an original idea that you conceived, a short document indicating this is sufficient)

Writer applicants:

  • ‍Must have signed agreement with producer to participate in program

Successful candidates must be prepared to submit a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and provide a testimonial upon completion of the program.

WIFT Toronto members and non-members can apply, providing they meet overall eligibility.

The deadline to submit applications is EXTENDED! Tuesday June 15, 2021 (9am EDT)

2021 Fees

WIFT Toronto Members: $500 (+ HST)

Non-Members: $650 (+ HST)

The deadline to submit applications is EXTENDED! Tuesday June 15, 2021 (9am EDT)

*See below for information regarding a bursary made available for this program.

HOW TO APPLY

Complete the online registration, then submit the following supporting documents:

  • Letter of Intent (max. two pages): What are your objectives for participating in this program? What is your development experience and how can this program increase your knowledge?
  • Professional bio (150 words max.) for each team member
  • CV/Resume including education and professional work experience (max. two pages) for each team member
  • Filmography (for each team member)
  • Log-line (one-sentence summary of your project)
  • Synopsis of your project (one-pager)
  • Development history, including strategy for long-term development of project
  • Script (at least 2 episodes)
  • Development budget (top sheet only)
  • Chain of Title documentation (NOTE: if your project is an original idea that you conceived, a short document indicating this is sufficient)
  • applicants that have been selected will be asked for headshots for promotional use

The deadline to submit applications is EXTENDED! Tuesday June 15, 2021 (9am EDT)

Applications will be reviewed for eligibility, and successful applicants will be notified by end of day Tuesday June 15, 2021. Program tuition will not be processed until enrollment is confirmed.

BURSARY

Thanks to the Foundation for WIFT Toronto, a bursary is available to cover the program fees for one team. Apply online by EXTENDED DEADLINE! Thursday June 10, 2021 (11:59pm).

The Scripted Digital Series Incubator is comprised of four consecutive days of in-classroom learning led by industry practitioners chosen for their expertise in each subject area. In addition, guest speakers will share practical tips and best practices through case studies that highlight their experience in digital series production. 

Peer-to-peer learning among program participants will be encouraged and facilitated by group exercises and group critique/feedback.

Note: Instructors/Presenters are subject to change. Guest speakers will be announced at a later date.

DAY 1

Budgeting and Financing

What you'll learn:

  • Available funding options for short format content creation;
  • Non-traditional funding (crowdfunding, crowdsourcing);
  • Budgeting (creating breakdowns and schedules; understanding how tax credits fit in; and gaining more insight on cash flow, insurance, bank financing, and more);
  • Reporting requirements; and,
  • Overview of federal and provincial regulations.

Instructor: Sasha Boersma | Co-Founder/Producer, Sticky Brain Studios

Sasha’s career in Canadian screen-based media industries has spanned across game studios, television producers, funding agencies, and academia. Sasha is Co-Founder/Producer at Sticky Brain Studios, where she is responsible for project management and business affairs. Since 2013, Sticky Brain Studios has developed over 45 games and apps for clients ranging from television broadcasters to health tech to not-for-profits. Their first independent games, “Kimono Dress-Up” and “Loki’s Castle”, was released for iOS and Androidd evices in 2019. In 2017 she co-founded Possible Futures Studio to tell untold stories from our past using immersive technologies to share compelling narratives in a new and exciting way.

She is also contract faculty at Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre where she teaches post-graduate courses on accounting, marketing, business and entrepreneurship to future interactive media, games, and television producers.

Previously, Sasha worked on several interactive digital media projects as a freelance Producer / Business Analyst where her clients included both game studios and television production companies. She started her career at the Bell Fund, then moved to marblemedia where she held various posts in business affairs and produced award-winning interactive projects.

DAY 2

Script Development

What you'll learn:

  • Further understand how to create a more developed theme
  • Focus on character development
  • Gain a greater understanding of the implementation of plots and subplots, and how they work in tandem to build character dimension

Instructor: Jill Golick

Jill Golick has more than 30 years of experience as a television writer, story editor and creative producer, working on such series as Sesame Street and Sesame ParkInstant StarBeet Party, Kratts Creatures, Saddle Club, Connor Undercover and Annedroids.

Golick’s career in interactive narrative began in the 1980s when she created, designed and produced 11 pieces of educational, entertainment and game software for the first home computers. One of these, Word Bird, was called “a truly superb example of educational software” by Creative Computing Magazine and won a Parents Choice Award.

More recently, Jill has created, written and produced four original, cutting-edge,multiplatform series, including the ground-breaking multi-platform interactive narrative, boymeetsgrrl and Crushing It, a live comedy soap opera thatplayed out on Twitter.

Her most recent interactive project is the award-winning detective series Ruby Skye P.I. Including ground-breaking interactivity, world-building websites and some cool built-in marketing initiatives, the series has won dozens awards, praise from teachers and parents and a world-wide audience. Ruby Skye P.I.’s third season, The Maltese Puppy, was commissioned by CBC and is available exclusively in Canada on CBC.ca/kids.

Golickhas won two Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards, a Canadian Screen Award, a Banff Rockie Award and a Best Writing Award from L.A. WebFest along with awards from the Youth Media Alliance, IAWTV, the San Fransisco WebFest,Vancouver WebFest and others.

Golick teaches courses on developing television series in the era of Netflix and on finding your writer’s voice. She is a founding member of the Independent Web Series Creators of Canada, the former President of the Writers Guild of Canada and currently serves as the executive director of Women in View.

DAY 3

Audience Engagement/Discoverability (Morning)

What you'll learn:

  • Learn the importance of social media community-building and the major platforms involved;
  • Explore audience engagement strategies and the role of influencers
  • Create and implement a discoverability plan

Instructor: Kelsey Aikman | Director, Marketing & Communications, marblemedia

Kelsey brings over 15 years of experience within the entertainment industry in marketing, communications and promotions.  Kelsey previously served as Manager of Entertainment and Content Marketing at CBC and Manager of Publicity & Promotions at Entertainment One.  She also held roles at Shaftesbury Films and started her career at Paramount Pictures Canada.

Casting (Afternoon)

What you'll learn:

  • The casting process;
  • How to work effectively with casting directors;
  • How to refine character descriptions; and,
  • How to best identify and book talent.

Instructors: Jenny Lewis and Sara Kay | Lewis Kay Casting

Jenny Lewis and Sara Kay have been in business together for over fifteen years. Their full-service Casting Company started small focusing on indie films, short films and even some reality and host casting.  After over a decade together and two CSA awards, they are firmly entrenched in both the Canadian and American Casting scene. In 2017 the majority of their work was on indie films and working with up and coming filmmakers, but they also continue to spend a lot of time on their series andfeature film work. Recent credits include “The Boys”, “KIN”, "Letterkenny", “Versailles”, “Goon: Last of the Enforcers”, “Backstage” and “Man Seeking Woman”, to name a few. 

DAY 4

Persuasive Pitching

In this intensive, full-day session, we will lead the participants through key persuasive modes of packaging and pitching - from the "how to position marketing" to "attracting the decision makers and key talent" to "learning the fetaures & benefits of a verbal and written presention". Participants can expect to learn in-depth information through case studies as well as enjoy an interactive presentation session. Step up your pitching skills to get closer to the YES!

Instructor: Marina Cordoni | Producer, Executive Producer

Marina Cordoni is the Founder and Producer of MCE Inc., a Toronto-based production company and film sales agency. In the nineties, Cordoni worked for various entertainment companies including the film division of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, where she handled pre-sales and completed picture sales in various foreign territories on major independent hits including '4 Weddings and a Funeral', 'Dead Man Walking', 'Fargo' and 'Sleepers'. She was also instrumental in building a feature film production and foreign sales division at Toronto-based Breakthrough Entertainment between 2008-2013.

Recent Producer credits include the latest feature from Gail Harvey, ‘Never Saw It Coming’ (based on the Linwood Barclay novel) and The Butler Brothers: ‘First Round Down’ (which hit number 5 at the Canadian Box Office).

Her Executive Producer roles include ‘Blood Honey’ from filmmaker Jeff Kopas (released in fall 2017) andJason Priestley’s feature directorial debut: ‘Cas and Dylan’.

Ready to bring your digital project to the next level?
Ready to bring your digital project to the next level?