Sundance Institute is expanding its purview in a big way with plans to launch a development lab for writers and others focused on episodic projects for TV and online platforms.
The move is an extension of the workshop process that has helped nurture indie film artists for 30 years. It’s the latest tip of the hat from the film biz to the quality of the work now being done in TV and digital.
The first Sundance Institute Episodic Story Lab is set for the fall at the Sundance Resort in Utah. Writers and mentors will immerse themselves for six days, developing stories and characters that play out over multiple episodes. Both drama and comedy will be featured. The labs for TV and digital are funded by a grant from Sundance Institute trustee Lyn Lear and her husband, famed TV producer Norman Lear.
“Sundance Institute has always worked to develop and support a next generation of independent artists,” said Sundance president and founder Robert Redford. “As more of those artists look to the opportunities in television and online platforms, it is only natural that we expand our labs to address the unique needs of serialized work.”
Participants in the inaugural lab will be selected by invitation only. In subsequent years, the institute expects to establish an open application process.
“Although the opportunities are growing, there are few training grounds for new and diverse voices who want to work in episodic writing,” said Sundance Institute exec director Keri Putnam. “Our lab will offer a rare opportunity for artists to develop unique multi-part projects, working in a setting where they will also learn how to navigate the changing landscape of this field.”