Netflix launches two paid initiatives for Kenyan screenwriters to develop their writing

The Realness Institute has announced open applications for the 2022 Episodic Lab and Development Executive Traineeship (DET) in partnership with Netflix. The deadline for submission is January 14, 2022.

The Episodic Lab gives screenwriters from Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria the opportunity to develop their original ideas for stories, in any genre. Participants have the opportunity to present these incubated stories to Netflix executives at the end of the program. The 2022 Episodic Lab and DET are scheduled from May 1 to July 31, 2022.

This year’s call for writers in the new Realness Institute and Netflix partnership follows massive applications in the inaugural editions. The program received 425 applications for Episodic Lab 2021 and 79 applications for DET 2021.

The DET, open to applicants from across Africa and the Diaspora, is aimed at mid-career industry professionals looking to enhance their skills as history consultants. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the story development process and be exposed to a more nuanced approach to supporting writers.

DET participants will work alongside creative producers and history experts in developing their concepts and pitch decks. They will also engage with international and local speakers each week for the duration of the program.

Each of the 12 participants, 6 per program, will receive a monthly allowance of Ksh. 224,720 (2,000 USD) during the incubation period. This is about covering living expenses while they focus on developing their concept while being mentored.

While there is no guarantee that a proposal will be further developed by Netflix, it is an opportunity to interface at key stages with Netflix executives.

This year’s Episodic Lab alumnus Kudi Maradzika pitched an idea for a comedy drama series that was selected for further development. Kenyan Mary Waireri was also among the 6 finalists selected for the Episodic Lab program.

Speaking on next year’s nominations, Allison Triegaardt, Head of Netflix for Grow Creative Africa, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Realness Institute for the 2022 edition of the Episodic Lab and Development Executive Traineeship. (DET). Developing, nurturing and supporting talent pools gives new voices a chance to be heard. ”