Serial Eyes is a full-time, residential postgraduate course that runs from September through May and takes place in Berlin. Participants must be present for the full duration of the programme. The programme includes seminars, workshops and writers’ rooms and three study trips: to Stockholm, the London Film School and the Séries Mania festival in Lille, France. During the programme, each participant works on three projects: an individual, original TV pilot and two group projects that are developed in conjunction with our industry partners.
The fall semester focuses on narrative design and storytelling structure in television series, story conception and development, and basic writers’ room protocol and methodology. Participants acquire skills and techniques for generating and researching new story ideas, develop those ideas further into concepts and pilot outlines, and study and apply writers’ room skills and team management techniques. Participants learn how to cooperate effectively in a group, handle criticism and gain experience working as a team, including dealing with the authority of a showrunner in the creative process. Participants commence development on an individual project and two group projects. The fall semester culminates with participants creating the board of the pilot for their individual project. A study trip to Stockholm acquaints participants with practices in the Swedish TV industry and introduce them to Scandinavian TV professionals.
Advanced Narrative Techniques & Individual TV Series Project Development
This module instructs participants in narrative techniques in serial writing and introduces them to the ideation process and the various modes for conceiving new series concepts.
Running the Writers’ Room
In this series of lectures and workshops, participants are introduced to the dynamics of the writers’ room and head writing techniques. Through practical exercises, participants practice leading and managing a team of creatives.
Advanced Project Development & Mentoring Scheme
Everything the participants learn during the course is applied to their own project. A mentor is assigned to each participant to give one-to-one feedback on their individual project. The participants start working on a pitch and a treatment in close cooperation with their mentor.
Storytelling for Digital Platforms
Participants work on multi-platform drama writing and develop writing skills for interactive storytelling. This module encompasses practical sessions on how to write multi-platform drama content specifically for online digital use. We will discuss and practise how to engage viewers across episodes and seasons.
Pitch to the Industry
Participants will practice their pitch skills in preparation for the pitch sessions with the industry: the January Summit Pitch Session, Digital Media Series Pitch, Procedural Project Pitch and the Final Pitch Session, which offers unprecedented direct access to TV executives from across Europe.
The spring semester focuses on pilot writing, showrunning, networking, and a more advanced understanding of the marketplace. This semester kicks off with the annual Serial Eyes Summit, which allows participants to practice their project pitches and get feedback on their individual projects from high-level TV professionals. Participants complete two drafts of the pilot for their individual project and continue development on the group projects. Participants gain further insights into the production and financing process and learn about specific European markets. These insights are complemented with study trips to London and Series Mania in Lille. The programme culminates with a presentation of all individual TV projects at the Final Pitch in May.
The writer as producer is a concept traditionally associated with the US television industry. Serial Eyes adapts this model of showrunning to a European context. Experienced showrunners and producers teach the fundamentals of producing from a writer’s perspective, examining the complex challenges of serial writing and development from the perspective of commissioning editors and other producers.
Understanding the Marketplace
This module addresses new trends and recent changes in the international TV industry with a specific focus on the European market, equipping the participants with a set of tools to write and produce for a specific market and/or audiences.
Networking trips and events / study trips
Study trips and participation in industry events introduce participants to different markets and to the TV industry, for example to the Scandinavian model of series developments and the key Scandinavian players in the TV/SVOD world during the Stockholm trip. At the Berlinale Series Market, participants attend screenings, conferences and networking events while benefitting from the international atmosphere of this high-profile TV event. During the study trip to London, participants meet with the most important players in the British industry. At Séries Mania in Lille, participants experience a TV co-production market and television festival. Over and above the screenings, master classes, and panel discussions on the state of the contemporary TV industry, participants are expected to set up individual meetings with TV professionals. This trains participants to engage with producers and commissioning editors while presenting their material and themselves in a professional setting.