Series Incubator

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

Program status:

Training underway

About

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.

At a glance

  • Applications open: September 7, 2021
  • Applications close: October 14, 2021
  • Selected participants notified: November 15, 2021
  • All other applicants notified: November 19, 2021
  • Phase 1 training: December 6 to 10, 2021
  • Phase 2 training: February 14 to 18, 2021
  • Phase 3 writer training: April 11 to 15, 2021
  • Phase 3 producer training: April 18 to 22, 2021
  • Phase 4 prep, production and post: April to July 2022

Key information

Program dates
December 2021 to July 2022
Location
Part-time, online
Cost
$100 non-refundable application fee per project; $500 tuition per participant

This training is for you if you:

  • 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
  • Possess the rights to the idea
  • Have some demonstrated experience as a writer or producer
  • (Producers) have production or craft experience, or business affairs/legal experience, or marketing/distribution experience, or some combination of these
  • (Writers) can demonstrate storytelling ability with past works (ie: short film, short story, journalism or another creative writing endeavour)
  • Can commit the necessary time to complete the training

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
  • 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

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 required ‘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.

Program phases

Phase 1

One-week online training (December 6 to 10, 2021)
Ten weeks of homework (December 13, 2021 to February 11, 2022) 

Writers will:

  • Learn from experienced producers and writers
  • Learn about working with producers
  • Learn about pitching, selling yourself and your project
  • Have one-on-one mentorship from an experienced writer while developing your series

Producers will:

  • Learn from experienced producers, writers, legal and business affairs experts
  • Learn about working with writers
  • Learn about the creative process, development, pitching, financing, clearances, negotiating, human resources for producers, business and legal affairs

Classes will be held online from December 6 to 10, 2021 including approximately 30 hours of training and assigned homework to be completed outside the scheduled sessions.

Attendance at all online training sessions is mandatory.

At the end of phase 1, writers will have completed a series bible, episode outlines and have started work on a pilot episode. Producers will have attended workshops on creative development, pitching, financing, and business and legal affairs.

Phase 2

One-week online training (February 14 to 18, 2022)
Seven weeks of homework and a producer internship (February 21 to April 8, 2022)

Writers will:

  • Experience a writers’ room simulation focused on the development of your project
  • Participate in writers’ room simulations for other projects
  • Continue one-on-one mentorship from an experienced writer as work on your pilot script continues

Producers will:

  • Learn about prep, production and post-production, budgeting, marketing, distribution and insurance
  • Discuss the role of look books when pitching
  • Secure a director for phase 3
  • Complete a hands-on internship at a leading Canadian production company

Each writer and producer team will work together to conceive a proof-of-concept film for your series.

Classes will be held online from February 14 to 18, 2022 including approximately 30 hours of training and assigned homework to be completed outside the scheduled sessions.

Attendance at all online training sessions is mandatory.

At the end of phase 2, writers will have completed a second draft of a pilot episode, and producers will have completed their producer internship and identified a director to join the team for phase 3.

Directors brought on to the project will receive a week of boot camp training in the following phase.

Phase 3

Writers online training (April 11 to 15, 2022)

Writers will:

  • Finalize your proof-of-concept script
  • Attend a pilot table read of your project

Producers are invited to listen to the table read and will be available for any changes that may arise with the proof-of-concept.

Producers online training (April 18 to 22, 2022)

Producers will: 

  • Participate in a pitching simulation
  • Learn how to work with composers and editors, and the role of an assistant director
  • Learn about production paperwork
  • Develop a production plan and budget for your proof-of-concept film

At the end of phase 3, teams will have a final draft of their proof-of-concept completed and a shooting plan.

Phase 4

Prep, production and post-production of a proof-of-concept film (April 2022 to July 2022)

All four teams will advance to phase 4.

Under the guidance of faculty advisors, teams will shoot and edit their series proof-of-concept film.

A cash award and in-kind services (up to $28K in total) are provided towards the production of your series proof-of-concept film. The award must go towards the cost of producing the video and not towards payment for your services.

At the end of phase 4 teams will have a completed proof-of-concept, a series bible and a final pilot script.


Frequently asked questions


Meet the faculty

Jeff-Peeler

Jeff Peeler

Program Advisor

Producer Jeff Peeler started Three Film and Television after 17 years at a senior management level at the award-winning international film and television production company, Frantic Films.

Linda-Coffey

Linda Coffey

Writer Facilitator

Linda Coffey is one of the very few story editors in Canada to have worked successfully in every aspect of film, television and web series development and production.

Morwyn-Brebner

Morwyn Brebner

Writers’ Room Facilitator

Morwyn Brebner is a Toronto-based screenwriter and award-winning playwright.

Karen-Lam

Karen Lam

Director Facilitator

Josh-Epstein

Josh Epstein

Producer Facilitator

Josh Epstein’s work as a writer, producer and actor has taken him to all corners of the world.

Jess-Gibson

Jessica Gibson

Manager, Programs & Development

Jessica has built a successful career as a film and television producer and production manager since transitioning from her role in front of the camera as an actor to behind the scenes over 10 years ago.


Meet the students

Hannah-Johnson

Hannah Johnson

Ghosts of Lakeland (Winnipeg, MB)

Hannah Johnson has produced over 70 hours of film, television and web content over six years.

Jessica-Landry

Jessica Landry

Ghosts of Lakeland (Winnipeg, MB)

Jessica Landry is an award-winning screenwriter and author based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Adrian-Neblett

Adrian Neblett

Where Do Babies Come From? (Vancouver, BC)

Adrian Neblett was born in Montreal, Québec, and studied computer engineering at the University of Manitoba, where a sign on a telephone pole seeking “African American” background performers reignited his passion for make believe.

Mostafa-Shaker

Mostafa Shaker

Where Do Babies Come From? (Vancouver, BC)

Mostafa Shaker is a comedian, writer, actor and producer based out of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Reem-Morsi

Reem Morsi

Zahra’s Faces (Toronto, ON)

Reem Morsi is a Toronto-based Egyptian / Canadian writer / director / producer.

Jonathan-Joffe

Jonathan Joffe

Zahra’s Faces (Calgary, AB)

Jonathan Joffe is a Canadian writer and director with over 20 international industry awards.

Cynthia-Murdock

Cynthia Murdock

Zombies Don’t Eat Stupid People (Winnipeg, MB)

Cynthia Murdock, a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation, has amassed an impressive body of work as a producer in a short period of time since her graduation from the National Screen Institute’s CBC New Indigenous Voices program.

Darcy-Waite

Darcy Waite

Zombies Don’t Eat Stupid People (Winnipeg, MB)

Darcy Waite, founder of Turtle Mountain Media, is one of Canada’s fastest rising producers and content creators. Darcy recently joined the board of directors of the CMPA.


Program Partners

Telefilm Canada bell-media directors-guild-of-canada eOne super-channel Bell Fund Creative BC MFM william-f-white company3 entertainment-partners final-draft line21 isplice-films manitoba-government winnipeg-arts-council
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