This "idea-to-market" series project development program is the only existing residential, project-based training targeting and tailoring its content for the creative teams of emerging professionals coming from the Central and Eastern European region and the only program of this kind accepting both limited and ongoing, and both long or short form series.
The program focuses on participants primarily coming from Central-Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Baltic countries and the wider Mediterranean area, with a possible background in filmmaking or with previous experience in TV writing, wanting to shift to quality production of series.
The entire development process is usually used as a platform to train the attending development executive participants, who are trained for their future role of broadcasters on real, existing series projects, acquiring skills needed for developing a diverse range of projects. With regard to the current coronavirus situation, the 2020 edition od MIDPOINT TV Launch is organized without the attendance of the development executive participants.
However, within the next edition, we plan to continue with this training. In case you are interested in this part of the program, learn more here, in an article dedicated to the development executive training or read an interview with our DE graduates.
MIDPOINT TV Launch is realized with the support of Creative Europe - MEDIA Programme of the European Union.
Note: In case of an interest to enhance your craft and television writing skills, as well as to get acquintaned with the structure and workflow of a writers' room, explore our sidebar training program MIDPOINT Writers' Room.
Independent producers interested in shifting from feature films to television content, feel free to learn more about our yet another TV dedicated program MIDPOINT Cold Open.
Workshop 1: June 10 - 22, 2020
Workshop 2: September 7 - 20, 2020
Workshop 3: late November 2020
Workshop 1: Online
Workshop 2: Online
Workshop 3: Online / in collaboration with Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Republic of Serbia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine
In case you're not sure about your eligibility, please contact us!
"An excellent program with excellent talent."
Steve Matthews, HBO Europe
General project methodology
MIDPOINT TV Launch spans over 8 months and focuses on the development of the 9 participating projects.
The projects go through a thorough and effective development process, and are built from the “bottom-up”: from a very early development stage, the creative teams are led to defining their series concept and theme and outlining their pilot scripts at Workshop 1, to completing their pilots and creating their season arc and season outlines, as well as pitching documents and a financing strategy at Workshop 2, to marketing and pitching their project and expanding their network at Workshop 3. The projects will be showcased and pitched within the Season Finale platform in Tallinn, Estonia.
The participants are divided into 3 groups per 3 projects, to ensure that all projects receive a significant amount of the group leader’s attention and guidance, but they will also have the option of receiving cultural exchange and feedback from their fellow participants.
Read more about the training in an interview about the new elements of the 2019-2021 editions.
The workshop uses group work, individual consultations, tutorial analysis, lectures and pitching as its methodological tools. The participants will also be actively writing during the workshop working days, under the supervision of the tutors. Thus, participants leave the workshop with actual results and progressed materials.
The working language of all MIDPOINT meetings and events is English, which is why a good knowledge of English is essential for participation.
I have an idea of a series but it's still early development. Can I apply anyway?
Absolutely! The sooner in the development process you apply, the better. TV Launch is designed as a "bottom-up" training program, and will help you create your show from scratch.
I'd like to apply with a limited series. Am I eligible?
Sure! But before you apply, take a moment and first think about why is a series format the one you're thinking of as opposed to a feature film. Is there an engine moving your story? Are you working with a more complex world? (...) Took that moment? Okay, so now apply.
What exactly is a "series pitch" or "statement of purpose"?
You can find a detailed description on all the requested submission materials on the first page of your submission form. You can access the form once you've created a profile at the MIDPOINT Visitor Page (see intructions in the "Application" folder). No worries! You can save the form anytime you like and come back to it later, and you can also save or submit any number of applications you like!
I'm a writer. Can I apply myself?
Apply yes. But please note that to be able to enter the training, you'll have to partner up with an independent producer. This is important as the creative collaboration between the writers and producers represents the core of MIDPOINT in general and moreover, it is an essential part of the development process. The only exception are series submitted as short form series. We'd still however strongly recommend applying in a team of writers.
What is a short and long form series?
In the olden golden world, you might've known these formats under "television series" and "webseries". The world is changing, though, and one feels rather uneasy calling Stranger Things or House of Cards a "webseries". Hence, we're opting toward short form and long form.
I'm developing a 90-minute 3-part mini-series. Am I eligible?
Sadly, no. Based on our experience, the series rules do not quite apply to formats running over an hour and tend to behave more like feature films. It certainly is a format finding its place on television, we've however opted to focus our training to projects that are series in their core.
Once selected, how much time should I allocate to the training?
Quite honestly - a lot. TV Launch is an intensive training, and apart from the assignments and work done during the residential workshops themselves, it operates with a system of tasks and deadlines in between the three workshops. So clear that calendar out a bit.
What the fudge is a development executive?
In our region, you might know the profession under the term "television dramaturg" or "commissioning editor". It basically is the script consultant and person who oversees the creative development of series. He/she stands on the broadcaster's side mostly, but could also easily be a development producer at a production company. Read more by clicking on the links stated in the "Overview" folder of this page, or simply ask us.
I'm developing a 10-minute per episode online show. Am I eligible?
Certainly! TV Launch is accepting both long and short form series, both television and web/digital. As a matter of fact, it created a specialized training for short form series. So hurry up with that application.
Can I apply with an animation or documentary series project?
Sadly, TV Launch does not work with animation or documentary projects, as these require a different set of skills and address a different market.
Does MIDPOINT offer scholarships?
It does. However, these cannot be allocated to all participants, and their granting therefore considers various criteria and factors. We HIGHLY recommend to submit an application to a local supporting organization at the same time you're applying to MIDPOINT. You can always withdraw your application if not selected, but as the processing time of this support can be rather long, it might be quite late to do this once we confirm you're in. These supporting organizations usually are the national or local funds, ministries of culture or education, professional associations, etc.
Whenever you do something from the bottom of your heart all the great energy you put in reflects in a form of an excellent result. There are no general rules that define a great pitch. The only rule is to know your story well and be able to have your heart present while pitching it. During her lecture, Michaela Sabo will guide the audience to find their strengths and weaknesses and make an advantage of both of them, to create a custom-made pitch. And last but not least, Michaela will give useful tips on how to overcome jitters, how to stay focused, how to find the core elements of the story and how to transfer it to the pitch audience.
Marike Muselaers will discuss the process of entering the TV market and how to navigate the current landscape in this age of plenty. She will give examples of different ways to finance/package a TV series with international partners and discuss various TV business models. She will talk about how to stay true to your concept when (digitally or face to face) pitching to a variety of players, what to expect from possible co-producers, sales agents, broadcasters, platforms and financing partners, and last but not least: why it is so important to know both your audience and your industry.
Many of us are already familiar with how to prepare and organize a feature film shooting and postproduction, but when it comes to series, it can be a slightly different process with its own specifics and rules. This roundtable will try to shed a light on the most important moments of the production that will help to achieve a satisfying result. Time is the key factor in the production of series and in order to find out how this “alchemy” of turning words in picture works.
What is the position of a writer in the European ecosystem, what to look out for when it comes to contracts and which expectations to have, what possibilities of working in English there are for an Eastern European writer? We’ll discuss all this and more in a closed session where there are no bad questions with Fabian Haslob, representing the German-based Players agency.
Director, producer and writer Rumle Hammerich will talk about the importance of finding the theme, the core and the philosophy of the show and how this "shared vision" is the common platform for the writer, the producer and the director. The script and the money are almost two-dimensional or digital, but a TV series will eventually happen in the third and fourth dimension and this is the director’s focus: transforming the script into four dimensions. Rumle Hammerich will talk about the director’s role and responsibility in a TV series production. Trust is the major element in the creative triangle. One vision is death.
Steve Matthews, an experienced expert, now the Executive Producer of Drama Development at HBO Europe, will discuss the process from pitching your project through series development, production and beyond. What to expect, the stages in the process, the pitfalls to watch out for, and learning to love notes.
Ms. Murphy will discuss the highlights of the most powerful and critical parts of your script… The beginning and the end. In this market of television where there are hundreds of shows to watch - how can you break out of the clutter. It is critical to hook the audience in the first 10 or 15 pages. This is the heart of your show… the make it or break it. Maggie will screen an assortment of iconic pilot openings and analyze why they keep the audience mesmerized. There will also be discussion on the ending of your pilot and how it must also be equally strong to bring the audience back for more.
At the core of each series lies an engine, a central question, a central conflict that, unlike in a movie, must not be solved. Stretching a movie for 8 hours might not be the solution either, for a series is NOT a long film chopped into small pieces. So how do you provide the fuel to go beyond the pilot? What sustains the conflict and makes the audience want to watch the next episode?
While in film, the legendary chicken and egg question of which comes first: the plot or the character remains unanswered, in TV series, CHARACTERS are the way to go: they are the reason we come back to watch the show.
In this lecture, Cyril will study the specifics of series characters. How they have to be approached, how they must be combined and confronted with one another in order to sustain conflict and generate situations and scenes for a long time. He will also discuss how they affect the narrative specifics that are at the core of any series, whether procedurals or serialized, all that good stuff that makes a series – a series.
A pilot episode needs to serve many different needs. First and foremost, it has to be a great story itself but also must set up a long, ongoing narrative. We will be looking at the various elements necessary to introduce in a pilot to hook the audience and make them want more of your stories.
Wherever you’ve come from and wherever you’re going as a screenwriter, one thing is certain: notes will be coming your way! They will come from all angles: above you, below you, beside you… and even from you yourself, at all stages of the process. Ben will use his experience working on both sides of the table - in development/production and also as a writer - to discuss how to give and take notes in a way that is productive, collegiate and fun. Egos at the door folks because it’s all about the show!
How do anthology, continuing and mini series work? And why should we care? Examining the formal structures and common story elements that compose the “DNA” of a series, we will look for the ‘engine’ that powers the storytelling in each series format. We will review clips from current shows to look for new trends in series writing. The goal of this seminar is to help you find the series format that’s right for your show.