NSI Series Incubator Apply

Fast track the development of your scripted series and career with customized hands-on training and mentorship

NSI Series Incubator

NSI Series Incubator is an eight-month, four-phase, in-depth training program for producer / writer teams from underrepresented communities to meaningfully develop a scripted series with support and guidance from experienced industry professionals. The program culminates in the creation of a series proof-of-concept film (a stand-alone short film, a scene from the series or a promotional trailer). Participants receive up to $28K in cash and in-kind support.

Teams are divided into producer and writer streams. Participants will engage in workshops, presentations, masterclasses and hands-on learning with the support of targeted, one-on-one mentorship.

This training will empower participants to learn the steps of how a series makes it from pitch to production. Teams will learn the system and their role in it.

At the end of the program, you will have a completed series proof-of-concept film and we will provide you with the knowledge and tools for you to tell your story, your way.

Program dates: December 2021 to July 2022

Type: Part-time

Location: Online

Applications are closed

Cost: $100 non-refundable application fee per project; $500 tuition per participant


Email your questions to program manager Jessica Gibson (jessica.gibson@nsi-canada.ca)

Important dates

  • September 7, 2021: applications open
  • October 14, 2021: applications close
  • November 15, 2021: successful participants notified
  • November 19, 2021: unsuccessful applicants notified
  • December 6 to 10, 2021: phase 1 boot camp
  • February 14 to 18, 2021: phase 2 boot camp
  • April 11 to 15, 2021: phase 3 writer boot camp
  • April 18 to 22, 2021: phase 3 producer boot camp
  • April to July 2022: phase 4 prep, production and post

Please note these dates are subject to change.


How much time do I have to commit to the program?

You must make considerable time for the program. While the curriculum will be carefully designed and created with maximum flexibility, attendance is mandatory for the boot camp sessions and will take place online during the day. You should be prepared to spend approximately 30 hours a week in online sessions and working on assignments.

Who can apply?

To be eligible you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada, aged 18 or over
  • Identify with one of the following underrepresented communities: Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+), people with disabilities, those outside large urban centres (Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal), people from regional and remote areas, and various religious groups
  • Have an idea and preliminary treatment for a series
  • Have demonstrated experience in a writer or producer role
  • Maintain creative and financial control over the project as well as technical ownership. This includes ownership of, or option on, all underlying rights (if any). NSI reserves the right to disqualify anyone that does not fully own the rights in and to the project
  • Not be a participant in any other training program that would conflict with your ability to commit to the NSI Series Incubator program
  • Have production or craft experience, or business affairs/legal experience, or marketing/distribution experience, or some combination of these
  • Demonstrate storytelling ability with past works (ie: short film, short story, journalism or another creative writing endeavour)
  • Commit the necessary time to complete this multiphase training

If you feel you would benefit from the program despite your experience level (lack of, or wealth of) please include a letter explaining why the selection committee should consider you for the program. This letter is in addition to the deliverable ‘letter of expectation.’

This program is aimed at writer/producer teams who wish to develop a fictional series and produce a series proof-of-concept film (a stand-alone short film, a scene from the series or a promotional trailer). COVID-19 will still be a factor and films will have to be produced with COVID safety protocols in mind and in accordance with local health regulations.

I am a writer/producer. Can I apply alone?

No. The writer and producer boot camp training streams run simultaneously, so one person cannot attend both.

Can I submit more than one application?

Yes. You must complete a separate application form along with an additional $100 non-refundable application fee.

What projects are eligible?

Original series ideas.

Projects must comply with broadcast standards. We will not accept any project that contains gratuitous violence, sexual violence or sexual exploitation.

Can I apply with an animated project?

No. We are only accepting ideas for live-action series.

What do I need to apply?

You must combine all of the required documentation below into one file (PDF, Word doc, ZIP folder or Google Doc). You cannot upload more than one file to the application form.

  • Project name; format; genre; time frame; setting/location; synopsis (one to two pages); source of series
  • Producer CV clearly stating production experience: include your role on the production and the following information about each project: the writer/producer; genre; if it was a student film; final running time; any broadcasts/theatrical release/festivals played; is it in development, production, post or completed?
  • Writer CV demonstrating your storytelling experience: include short film, short story, journalism or another creative writing endeavour.
  • Producer letter of reference AND writer letter of reference: these letters should help identify why the person providing the reference feels you are ready to develop a series.
  • Producer letter of expectation AND writer letter of expectation: both the producer and writer should provide a paragraph explaining what they hope to gain by participating in NSI Series Incubator.
  • Additional letter (if applicable): required for applicants who need to demonstrate their suitability to participate in the program because they don’t meet eligibility criteria.
  • Series proposal: including: overall concept, seasonal arc, lead character descriptions (maximum of four) and target audience.
  • Writing sample: (no more than 10 pages) from the writer.
  • Fee: $100 non-refundable application fee. Payment is processed through PayPal. Please reach out to us (jessica.gibson@nsi-canada.ca) if paying the application fee is an issue and we will arrange a payment plan. The application fee is $100 per project if applying with multiple projects.

What financial assistance and in-kind services will I receive?

You will get up to $10K cash towards your film. You will also receive the following value-in-kind services. Combined, they total approximately $28K. These are subject to change.

  • Budgeting software
  • Lighting and grip equipment
  • Closed captioning & descriptive video costs
  • Post production costs for the online and mix

How are participants selected?

An industry jury will review applications and select participants.

Preference will be given to strong creative applicants who are passionate about and invested in the creative development of their project and can demonstrate they have sufficient craft and technical experience to realistically be considered capable of developing a series and producing a series proof-of-concept film. The project, producer and writer must all be suitable for the program.

Four teams will be selected based on the strength of their creative ability and the audience appeal of their project.

NSI is committed to training participants from a diverse community of voices including Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, women-identifying, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+), people with disabilities, people living outside large urban centres, those from regional and remote areas, and various religious groups.

What rights does NSI have on the project?

The selected filmmakers shall retain copyright in the series developed and produced as part of the program.

National Screen Institute and NSI Series Incubator investors require a head and/or tail credit on all copies of the film as well as a prominent credit on all publicity and promotional materials developed with respect to the project.

You will sign a contract outlining the commitments and responsibilities of your team and NSI under the program.

What is the relationship between the National Screen Institute and the successful applicant?

The relationship between the applicant and NSI shall not be deemed to constitute a partnership or joint venture. The applicant shall not have the right to incur any debts nor make any commitment of or on behalf of NSI.

Does the National Screen Institute provide feedback on my application after I’ve submitted it?


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NSI Series Incubator is funded by Program Partners Telefilm Canada, Bell Media; Indigenous Training Programs Partner Directors Guild of Canada; Strategic Sponsor Entertainment One (eOne); Supporting Sponsor Super Channel; Provincial Partners Manitoba Film & Music, Creative BC through the Daryl Duke and William Vince Scholarship Fund; Industry Partner William F. White International; Industry Supporters Company 3, Entertainment Partners, Line 21 Media Services, iSplice Films. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.