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The Development Toolkit: An Advanced Programme for Development Personnel

Tutors: Vinca Wiedemann John Yorke Julia Short Surian Fletcher-Jones Emma Norton Rachel O’Flanagan, Mary Kate O’Flanagan Angeli McFarlane Steve Matthews

Date: Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Duration: 8-10 months

Venue: Dublin TBC

Cost: €800

Course Profile:

This Advanced Development Programme, in association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board, was designed in response to industry feedback requesting a comprehensive skills-enhancement scheme for Development Executives and others working in development. The Development Exec/Producer is expected to wear a lot of hats and excel at quite different skills. They must be able to spot or create a good idea/script and sell it to others; have a very strong grasp of the fundamental tools of screen story-telling and script editing; an in-depth knowledge of the Film and TV markets; be able to find and support good writers and other creative talent; deliver insightful and constructive notes; be culturally curious about the Arts; appreciate genre, and the difference between a commercial and niche project; be able to secure underlying rights and development finance – while also maintaining the passion and focus needed to get a project/s over the line.

‘The Development Toolkit’ is a capsule scheme designed to equip (or upskill) participants with helpful and essential tools for the successful development of Film and TV projects. Running somewhere between 8 and 12 months, it will cover all the cornerstones: Creative, Analytical, Practical, Financial and Legal. We are currently building a portfolio of nationally and internationally experienced tutors, to help hone and develop each participant’s ability to manage the development process with confidence. Tutors will be successful Heads Of Development, Producers, Agents, Writers, Script Consultants and others. We will confirm a full list of tutor names in the next few weeks (and tutors may change, due to availability etc.), but those we can currently confirm include:

Vinca Wiedemann, Rector of the National Film School of Denmark and producer. As story/script consultant, she worked closely on titles including Thomas Vinterberg’s THE HUNT and Susanne Bier’s LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED and on many of Lars von Trier’s films.

John Yorke, a former MD of Company Pictures where he Exec Produced WOLF HALL and author of ‘Into The Woods’, John was both Head Of Channel Four Drama and Controller of BBC Drama Production. The many titles he has worked on include EASTENDERS, HUSTLE, SPOOKS, OMAGH and he is Exec Producer of RED ROCK.

Julia Short, Programme Director Of Content at Inside Pictures. As a Distributor, Julia spearheaded the UK marketing of such titles as TRAINSPOTTING, THE USUAL SUSPECTS and TWELVE MONKEYS. She is currently working on the campaign for the TRAINSPOTTING sequel.

Surian Fletcher-Jones, was Head of Drama Development at Scott Free Films and at CH4. As a highly experienced script editor, she was the editor on many award-winning titles including BLACKPOOL and LITTLE DORRITT.

Emma Norton, is Head of Development at Element Pictures and has worked in development and as a script editor for over a decade. Most recently she worked on ROOM, THE LOBSTER, FRANK, WHAT RICHARD DID and GLASSLAND.

Rachel O’Flanagan and Mary Kate O’Flanagan, Script Consultants who have designed and delivered workshops on the craft of screenwriting and development in Prague, Malta, Cologne, London Wales and recently ‘The First Draft & Beyond’ Programme for STI.

Angeli McFarlane, development consultant, script editor and producer, with titles including I AM A SLAVE and DEATH OF A PRESIDENT. She also teaches in script development.

Steve Matthews, Executive Producer Drama Development, HBO Europe where he is responsible for the development of original series. Steve was a producer on series including URBAN GOTHIC, LOVE/HATE and THE BORGIAS and has 20 years’ experience as a development exec and script editor on prime-time series such as SILENT WITNESS.

The Core Modules of The Programme include the following:

  • A one-day Session on the Development Executive/Producer’s key skills and responsibilities. To include: The 3 different phases of development; Advice on working with writers, producers and directors, conducting meetings and delivering constructive notes; practical advice on how to generate and manage a slate
  • Three Day Session on Film Script & Screen Analysis: Acquiring a deeper understanding of film narrative structure, and how to use that knowledge when working with the creative talent
  • Writing and delivering development notes; log-line, synopsis and coverage notes
  • Recognising and addressing unconscious gender and cultural bias at development stage and when assessing material and talent
  • Creative collaboration in development; A focus on Danish Film & TV
  • Book development for Film & TV
  • Development Budgets, Script Breakdowns and Scheduling
  • The art of the Verbal Pitch
  • Negotiating with Talent Agents
  • Entertainment Law – copyright, talent contracts, chain of title
  • Films Sales, Sales Agents, Market Analysis and Distribution
  • Public Funders as co-financiers and co-developers
  • Focus On Successful TV: Domestic, UK and European. To include:

Two day session on writing and developing TV Series Narrative; Understanding the TV Market & Drama Funding and Development; The Craft of Serialised Storytelling & The Writers’ Room; TV Series Script Editing.

  • Case Studies on the development history of successful Film and TV Productions, presented by the film-makers.

Other Information:

Following the initial two sessions, the time commitment for this programme should amount approximately to one-two days a month. There will also be various assignments throughout, upon which participants will receive feedback from either the programme director or the tutor/s. Where possible, participants are also welcome and encouraged to bring projects from their own slate to the table – for exercises in development notes, pitching etc. All material will be treated confidentially. It is also hoped that this programme will help further encourage a culture of support between development personnel.

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board has 50% subsidised participant fees, bringing the cost down from €1,600 per participant to €800 per participant.

Participant Profile:

Participants will be individuals currently working, on either a permanent or freelance basis, with independent production companies and will have responsibility for developing Film and/or TV productions. That includes Development Executives, Development Producers and Producers, as long as the main focus of the individual’s work is in the field of project, talent and script development.

Application Procedure:

This is an intensive training programme, so to ensure an optimal learning environment, we will be accepting between 8 to 12 participants.  To be eligible, commitment to the programme in its entirety is essential. Applicants who are short-listed will then be invited for interview.

To apply:

  1. An outline of your current work and a brief description of why you wish to do this programme and/or
  2. if you are working for a producer/s or company/s, please also include a Letter of Nomination from that company outlining why you are a candidate for the programme, and how it would advance your work.

The Deadline for applications is Friday 17th of June, 2016.

For further information, please contact dearbhla.regan@screentrainingireland.ie

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