SERIAL EYES is the first European postgraduate high-level TV series writing and producing programme. The European TV landscape is changing rapidly and SERIAL EYES gives you an opportunity to play a part in this transformation and take the next step in your career.
The programme is developed by the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB), in cooperation with the London Film School and the National Film School of Denmark. Conducted in an intimate 12-person class setting, SERIAL EYES will bring you to the next level. The course is an intensive 8-month full-time programme, and runs from September to May. Apart from short-term visits to Copenhagen, London and Cannes, the classes take place in Berlin at the DFFB during the duration of the programme.
Gain excellent training
Benefit from top-notch training by high-profile international showrunners and industry speakers at the top of their game.
Develop multiple skills
Build up solid expertise in the dramaturgic and narrative strategies used in successful serial productions and acquire in-depth understanding of markets, audiences and broadcasters’ needs.
Experience the writers’ room
Get equipped with techniques and methods to work in a group and as a team.
Put the theory into practice.
Build a portfolio of material alone and with other writers by engaging specific audiences and deliver a pilot within the mentoring scheme.
Pitch projects to TV professionals
Tap into multiple opportunities to pitch your projects to European TV professionals at the Berlinale, during the London workshop, at Cannes MIPTV and in the final SERIAL EYES Pitching Session.
Build an international network
Gain invaluable international broadcast-industry contacts and establish strong relationships with fellow European writers and producers.
By creating a centre of excellence in serial storytelling, SERIAL EYES brings together the top professionals working in the field today and provides opportunities for successful exchanges between TV writers, producers and decision-makers from across Europe. This trans-European dimension of the programme enables writers and producers to work on more ambitious projects, to access new audiences and markets, and to create the future of European television together.
The trans-European dimension of the programme offers scope for fruitful exchanges of experience and writing strategies. By creating a centre of excellence and bringing together some of the top professionals working in the field, the programme enables TV writers and producers to reach a new level in their career and enables them to work on more ambitious projects, make the most of the EU Single Market as well as the international market, and to reach new audiences in Europe and beyond.
- Applicants must be from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.
- Applicants should have written or produced at least one drama, ideally broadcast on a TV channel in their own country, and must have the capacity to understand the needs and demands of TV businesses.
- Applicants should enter the programme with an idea for a TV serial, which will be further developed during the course of instruction (in addition to the application assignments).
- A high standard of spoken and written English is essential.
- The recommended age is 25 to 35 years.
- CV with detailed work and training experience
- Personnel letter of motivation outlining why you would like to participate in the SERIAL EYES programme, your expectations and your professional goals
- Produce a brief outline of an existing TV series which you especially like, highlighting what fascinates you about this particular series
- Write an analysis of a TV series from your country
- Write a brief outline of a series you would like to develop during your time at SERIAL EYES
- Add a sample writing of your choice
- If you wish you may send us links of films you have made
- How did you hear about SERIAL EYES?
- Scholarship application letter – Please specify your financial reasons for the scholarship request (application for scholarships are only able until the first application deadline)
- Letter of recommendation in English by a producer or broadcaster
Participants must be available full time until the end of the programme.
Applications for the year 2017_18 of the programme will be possible from January 2017.
Three tuition waivers are available.
The programme takes place in Berlin for the duration of the course.
Led by experienced TV-industry professionals, the programme’s first session (September- December) will focus on the writers’ room workshop, analyze serial script structures and features a visit to the Danish Film School.
The second session (January- May) will focus on script sales and self-marketing, production workflows and broadcasters’ business needs. It will feature a two-week London session including meetings with top British TV writers, visits to production companies and broadcasters, as well as a study trip to the industry MIPTV event in Cannes.
Besides the practical and theoretical workshops on serial writing and storytelling, time is earmarked for participants to write their projects.
Dramaturgic and narrative strategies used in successful serial productions.
Writers’ room and group projects
Participants learn how to cooperate effectively in a group with their peers from across Europe, deal with criticism and practice skills e.g. working on someone else’s storyline, managing other writers. Frank Spotnitz, writer and producer, best known for his work on The X-Files, runs the writers’ room sessions throughout the programme along with British writer and producer Ben Harris.
Mentoring scheme: start of the individual project
All the learning processes that the course stimulates are immeasurably enhanced by constantly applying the lessons learnt to each participant’s own project. With a dedicated mentor per project, working on a one-to-one basis, each participant gets personalised feedback. Sticking to deadlines and completing all the assignments is essential. The participants start working on a pitch and a treatment and work closely with their mentor. They deliver a pilot before the end of the programme and pitch at the final pitch session.
The Danish TV model: visit to the Danish Film School
The creation of the Danish TV series – 20 years in the making
Showrunner week: having acquired the techniques of the writers’ room, the participants apply them to their individual project, ‘hiring’ writers from the group. They act as showrunner and manage their team of writers.
Producing and international financing
Introduction to production and the role of the producer in television drama: production processes, creative development, producing and financing, principles of drama scheduling, budgeting, casting and shooting, post-production, from workflow to delivery, relationship with the broadcaster, and the international TV market
Markets and audiences
There is a strong emphasis on understanding the market and broadcasters’ needs, with a focus on emerging trends and recent changes in the international TV industry. Commissioning editors from ZDF, Sky Italia, Canal+, and ITV are invited as guest speakers.
The participants will enjoy incomparable access to industry professionals at the following events:
- Berlinale festival, European Film Market and TV conferences
- London: two-week LFS workshop featuring masterclasses and visits to top UK production companies and broadcasters.
- Visit to Cannes MIPTV: access to multiple networking events, conferences, new media sessions and screenings.
Feedback from mentors and delivery of a pilot for the individual project.
Multiple coaching and pitching opportunities with the advisory board, during the London visit, MIPTV
The programme’s final Pitch Session introduces SERIAL EYES participants to the industry, with a pitch presentation series offering unparalleled direct access to TV executives from across Europe.
German. Studied theater, film and television at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Kathrin worked at several internet agencies and at the theatre Berliner Ensemble before starting as assistant to the director at the DFFB. Since 2014 she is head of the International Programms / Public relations at the DFFB.
Benjamin Harris is Head of Programme for Serial Eyes. As such, he is responsible for the curricular and administrative oversight of the programme.
Prior to that, Benjamin was the Assistant Director of the MFA Producers Program in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television for eleven years. He is a TV writer and a film and television industries scholar, and teaches classes on story development for features and television, creative producing, and the US and international media industries.
Italian cultural and event manager based in Berlin since 2001. Federica studied Japanology and English and American Studies at the Humboldt University, with a focus on film and media. Federica worked for various festivals and film projects, including the Culinary Cinema of Berlinale and the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (C.I.C.A.E.), where she developed a good knowledge of the international exhibition branch and a profound passion for arthouses. She recently started to work on a documentary film project about politics with a Berlin-based Italian film director. Her favorite TV-series is Boardwalk Empire. From season 1 to 5, she was constantly fascinated by the historical accuracy of the dialogues, music and costumes as well as by some of the characters’ psychological profiles.
Partners & Support
SERIAL EYES is funded with the support of Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union with additional support provided by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Vivendi, RTL, Atlantique Productions and Real Film. Scholarship awards are provided by Sky Italia and Big Light Productions.
SERIAL EYES has been developed with the support of a team of producers and broadcasters from all over Europe. As well as offering advice and input to the programme, they participate as instructors throughout the year.
SERIAL EYES is organised in collaboration with London Film School and The National Film School of Denmark.
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