Mentoring | High Concept, Low Budget

Your Idea – our Vision

In this section, we give screenwriters the opportunity to develop their own original ideas for a TV series. We even encourage you to submit ideas for TV series that might not fit into any slots at your domestic broadcasters (yet!). Why? Because, we believe that brilliant ideas will travel. Therefore, we have gathered a jury of renowned international TV series experts who share our vision and who will select the best ideas, whose writers will then be invited to participate in the RACCONTI IDM Script Lab. Guided by a high-profile team – a story consultant and two mentoring producers – these screenwriters will develop their ideas into mature and marketable concepts that can attract attention in an international market. At the end of the program, the writers will present their projects to a circle of European producers at an industry event.

Call for proposals: “High Concept, Low Budget”

We are specifically looking for proposals for TV series that have a high concept and, at the same time, can be realized as a “low budget” production. “High concept” means a story idea that is original and unique. The term “low budget” should be understood in a generic way; we are not talking about a defined budget frame. Instead, we refer to some TV series that can serve as inspirational examples, for the way they combine a high-concept idea with a low-budget realization such as the Israeli TV series “Hostages”, “False Flag” and “Minimum Wage” or the Belgium TV series “Salamander”. In order to broaden the spectrum to all genres, we would also like to mention the Italian production “Perfetti sconosciuti” (“Perfect Strangers”), although it is a feature film. Most of these productions were not only successful in their domestic markets, but were also picked up by international buyers.

There is no restriction to the genre, format, location or setting of your proposed TV series.

Your application

Your application must include:

– The proposal of your TV series: 12 pages max.

It should contain

  • a logline
  • the theme
  • the genre and format
  • a description of the world of the series
  • a description of the main characters
  • a short summary of the pilot episode
  • a short summary of the story arc for the 1st season
  • a writer’s note

– CV & filmography: 2 pages max.
– Work sample: 10 pages max. – can be an excerpt from a screenplay for a TV series or a feature film (only one work sample admitted).

All material, including the proposal, must be submitted in English.

Please click on the following links to view the application guidelines and the general terms and requirements.
The deadline for all applications is January 16th, 2017.

 Jury & selection process

An expert jury will select the four best proposals that are most convincing in terms of the specific challenge of this call. The jury consists of five TV series experts from different fields, backgrounds and markets, in order to test the proposal’s quality and originality as well as its international appeal. Our jurors are: Pascal Breton, founder & CEO of Federation Entertainment, based in Paris, Sarah Brown, head of drama at STV Productions, based in London/Glasgow, David Schalko (“Braunschlag”), screenwriter, director and producer, based in Vienna, Anna Winger (“Deutschland 83”), screenwriter based in Berlin, and Michele Zatta, commissioning editor at RAI Fiction, based in Rome. Check out their profiles here.

Development process & team of experts

The four selected screenwriters will be invited to participate in the mentoring-section of the RACCONTI IDM Script Lab #6. The development work will take place in two sessions in South Tyrol, each lasting for one week, as well as a writing phase in-between and after, accompanied by online-consultations.

Session 1 takes place from May 1-7, session 2 from June 12-18, 2017.

The participants will receive an individually tailored story consulting by British producer & story consultant John Yorke who brings to our Script Lab his years of experience in the development of high quality series (“Wolf Hall”, “The Missing”) and in training screenwriters at the BBC Writers Academy. John also has an eye for excellent low budget productions: He is the producer of “Red Rock”, Ireland’s first new soap opera for 20 years that was sold to Amazon Prime in 2015.

John will guide the writers through their development process in one-on-one creative story meetings and group conversations focusing on the key creative elements that are central to episodic storytelling. In between and after the sessions John will consult the writers via Skype.

In addition, two international producers will act as mentors and will each consult two writers, helping them to evaluate and define the core ideas of their projects and to refine them from a producer’s point of view, focusing on tactical elements in an international and changing market – how to pitch this project and to whom.

We are happy to introduce Israeli producer Maria Feldman (“False Flag”) and French producer Harold Valentin (“Dix Pourcent”) as mentors. All three experts have a track record of outstanding TV series that have been critically acclaimed, commercially successful and attracted international attention.

The expected result of the development process is a mini-bible of the first season and the screenplay of the pilot episode and shall be reached by September 2017.

At the end of the program all writers will present their projects to a circle of European producers at an industry event, organized by IDM, presumably in October 2017.

Program and experts

In masterclasses our experts will offer the participants a first-hand insight into the creation of successful international TV shows across all genres. In addition to Maria Feldman, Harold Valentin and John Yorke, British writer/producer David Varela who is engaged as a transmedia expert in the other section of the RACCONTI Script Lab #6 will talk about the interactive narratives for the “Sherlock” series.

In these masterclasses, as well as during other activities, the participants will meet and mingle with the writers, producers and experts of the other section, thus enjoying the excellent networking opportunities that RACCONTI offers.