Serial Eyes is a full-time course based in Berlin at the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB) from September through May, with visits to Copenhagen, London and the Séries Mania Festival in Lille. Participants must be available and present full-time throughout the programme.
Applicants must be from the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Serbia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, or Tunisia. Applicants from other countries may apply for a very limited amount of places on the programme.
Applicants should have at least 1-3 years of professional experience as a screenwriter and should ideally have written at least one episode for a drama or comedy series for a TV channel in their own country.
Applicants should enter the programme with multiple ideas for original TV series that could be further developed over the course of the programme.
A high standard of spoken and written English is essential.
Based on the application material, the selection committee – comprised of the Head of Programme and three instructors – will make a first selection considering the author’s voice, skills, style and overall artistic talent. In the second round, we will ask the shortlisted applicants to write a brief treatment for a drama episode based on a creative brief and invite them to a Skype interview with the Head of Programme.
In selecting the twelve participants, we shall also take account of the overall composition of the group (gender/country mix) and the contribution the applicant will make to his/her peers.
Application for the 2020/2021 cycle
Opening of the application process: 20 February 2020, 9 am
Deadline for applications: 15 April 2020, 11 pm
Interviews for those admitted to the second round will be held end of May 2020. Final decision will be announced by mid June.
Required Application Material
CV with work and training experience (if applicable: with links to films you have made)
Personal letter of motivation outlining why you would like to participate in the Serial Eyes programme, your expectations and your professional goals (1-2 pages)
Analysis of a TV series from your country (1 page)
Proposals for 3 potential TV series concepts you would like to develop at Serial Eyes (up to 1 page each)
A writing sample of your choice (10 pages)
For applicants requesting a tuition waver: Scholarship application letter that specifies your financial reasons for the scholarship request
A letter of recommendation in English by a producer or broadcaster
All application materials must be in English and submitted online via the serial eyes website
The programme fee is 4.500 € and covers the tuition fee travel from Berlin to Copenhagen, London and Lille and accommodation during the study trips. A monthly public transport ticket for Berlin will be provided for all participants for the duration of the programme.
Applicants from Low Capacity Countries can apply for one of the three MEDIA – Creative Europe scholarships. Alongside each applicant’s country of residence and citizenship, we shall consider the following criteria in our allocation policy: the participant’s potential in the European audiovisual industry, the participant’s financial situation, their background and the situation of their local film industry. The scholarship covers the full tuition fee of 4.500€.
Low Capacity Countries (as of 22.03.2018) are: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Serbia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tunisia and Ukraine.
- Do I need to have had an original drama series of my own creation produced?
- We do not require candidates to have had their own original show produced.
- I have previously written for theater and/or movies, but not for television. Can I still apply?
- We prefer candidates with professional experience in writing for television; however, we consider all previous creative writing experience.
- I have written and produced documentaries for television, but not scripted drama. Will you consider me?
- Yes, we will consider a background in documentaries and/or journalism. Just keep in mind that the writing sample and pitch proposals in the application portfolio should feature fictional drama or comedy writing.
- I have experience as executive producer for series and feature films, but no experience as a writer. Can I still apply?
- Unfortunately not. We can only consider applicants with professional writing experience.
- I am currently developing a show with a co-writer or producer. Can I submit that as one of the three pitches?
- You should submit a story idea that you have developed on your own.
- Do the stories for the project pitches have to be based in Europe?
- Your story ideas do not have to be set in Europe.
- If accepted, am I expected to work on one or all of the three projects that I submit in my application?
- You may propose projects from your application package to work on, but you will also be expected to develop new story ideas.
- I am currently developing a project for which I already have commercial bible and/or pilot script. Can I fine-tune it during the programme?
- You will be expected to work on new projects.
- I currently have a show in development with an established producer. Can I work on that during the programme?
- You will be expected to work on new, unencumbered projects without attachments while in the programme.
- What are you looking for in the TV series analysis?
- We expect a critical engagement with the premise and characters of the show. You should briefly introduce the show since your readers may not be familiar with it. Then you may want to discuss the elements that make it a “series” (as opposed to a TV movie). Finally, you should discuss what attracts you to the show.
- For the TV series analysis, must I pick a show from my home country? We really don’t have good TV series from my country yet, so it would be difficult to discuss character dilemma or premise.
- We prefer candidates to discuss shows from their own country, but you may choose a TV series from another European market. You should clarify why you chose that show over one from your own country.
- How many hours a week is the course or is it done in weekend modules?
- The programme runs full-time from September through May. Participants should expect to reside in Berlin for the full duration of the programme.
- How does a typical week at Serial Eyes look like?
- A typical week (Monday to Friday) at Serial Eyes encompasses classes and days for individual or group writing. Classes start at 10:00 am and end at 4:30 pm.
- Can I pursue a job while enrolled in the programme?
- Due to the intensive, full-time nature of the instruction, we do not recommend full-time employment for the duration of the programme.