Develop a sci-fi TV drama series that explores the dark side of a near future world where science and technology are quickly driving humanity towards utopia.
Humanity is on the cusp of a new era – an Age of Abundance. We may populate our science fiction with tales of disaster and dystopia, but the reality is that our survival has never been so secure. This is science fact. We are approaching utopia.
But… even as we reach utopia and the old challenges are overcome, new challenges will arise. In a future where all of our basic needs are provided for, we must still confront the reality of human nature. There will still be competition and conflict. Fear, greed, jealousy… evil. These will always be part of the human condition, and there will always be a dark side.
This is the heart of our story. Of your story.
TONGALERS – we present to you a challenge the likes of which you’ve never seen before. On the surface, we’re asking you to create a science fiction story that is grounded in science fact – a story about a future that is decidedly NOT dystopian, where there is no Big Brother, no apocalyptic catastrophe, and no epic war between man and machine. This is a future where humanity has succeeded… but now finds itself confronting new conflicts and new sources of evil. This future is our Nextopia.
Beneath the surface, this challenge means that we’re asking you to predict the future.
To understand what’s going to generate conflict, we first need to understand what our future looks like and how it functions. Once you have an idea of what transformations science and technology will bring about, only then can you start to visualize the impact – how the rules and systems of your future world will be redefined – and only then can you set up the mechanisms that will lead to conflict and evil. In the end, this challenge is as much about your insights into the future as it is about your storytelling.
Before you can start crafting a story, you need to develop those insights with research into where science and technology stand today, and think deeply about where it’s all going to take us. We’ve included a document in the Assets Tab with links to articles, reports, and studies, so check that out as well, but also consider the following thought-starters:
- Climate engineering may be able to reverse global warming.
- Universal access to clean water may raise the worldwide standard of living and stabilize the global population.
- Genetically modified food may put an end to world hunger.
- Robotics may relieve workers of tedious or dangerous jobs.
- Personalized medicine and advanced biotechnology may eradicate diseases and cancers.
- Biohacking and cybernetics may enable us to take charge of our own evolution and augment the human body to accomplish tasks that we can barely imagine now.
- Human intelligence and function may be enhanced through technological advances that connect our minds to the cloud.
- Artificial Intelligence may surpass human knowledge and solve problems at speeds never before known to man.
- Advances in genetic engineering may end the very problem of death.
Once you feel like you have a better understanding of how you’re going to approach the creation of a television series narrative, here is some additional creative guidance that you should keep in mind.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Your story should be structured as a live-action 1-hour serialized drama for cable. Any good drama can absolutely have comedic elements, but your show should be a drama first and foremost, not a comedy.
- Your story should be told through the point of view of your characters themselves, and revolve around the challenges and conflicts that they face directly.
- Your story should NOT be about the distant future, but the near future. You should look to set your show 10 – 20 years from now (not 50 – 100 years), and ensure that the characters and the world still feel accessible to audiences.
- Your story should be grounded in science, and not driven by elements of fantasy, magic, time travel, or parallel universes.
- Given the timeframe, your story should be set predominantly on Earth, and you should be careful and realistic about how you incorporate space travel, if at all.
Now, check out more logistics of this challenge below…
The goal of this project is to develop a live-action 1-hour sci-fi drama series that explores the conflict that will emerge from a near future world where science and technology are quickly driving humanity towards utopia. This series is intended for cable and premium television networks, and it should be serialized, with the possibility of a story arc that extends over the course of many episodes or seasons, and it should be filled with high stakes, urgency, character drama, and plenty of action and conflict, with a touch of humor.
The project itself will be broken into three phases:
- Series Concept – In the first phase, we’ll be asking you to create a series concept in 500 characters or less that paints the broad strokes of what the show will become, and taps into insights about the future and highlights new emerging forms of conflict.
- Writers Pitch – In the second phase, we’ll be looking for writers to pitch their take on how to expand upon one of the three winning series concepts. Writers will need to submit a pitch video, treatment, and a sample of their previous work (preferably TV or film writing).
- Series Pitch Bible – In the final phase, we’ll work with the three winning writers to fully develop their series pitch bibles. They will include a series overview, look & feel of the show, episode descriptions, and character descriptions.
WHAT IS A SERIES PITCH BIBLE? A series pitch bible is proof that you know that you’ve got a real story to tell. It’s more than a collection of character bios and episode summaries; it’s an elaboration of the critical elements that will shape and define your show, from explorations of character backstories and motivations, to detailed descriptions of the world and the rules that shape it. You will need to address the story engine that drives the show forward, define the voice and tone of the show, touch upon the themes that inform the show, and explain the message that you’re trying to convey. All of this, ultimately, helps bring dimension to the story arc. A good series pitch bible transports the reader into the world and makes him or her want to see the world come to life.
WRITERS! As you set out to craft your Concepts and Pitches, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- What new technology or social dynamic creates conflict? No change happens in a vacuum. Every advance impacts the very fabric of our world, with far-reaching effects, and unforeseen consequences. Sometimes they are positive, and they are sometimes negative, but sometimes they are just different. Being able to recycle wastewater and capture moisture from the air could create viable farmland or settlements in the desert… but that could lead to an intense international scramble for the newly valuable territory.
- How might changes in the future reframe and reinvigorate familiar stories? Sometimes there is an underlying familiarity to character dynamics in settings that are otherwise new and different to us, and you can use that to craft your narrative. For example, Sons of Anarchy follows the lives of a close-knit outlaw motorcycle club, but its story is built upon the foundation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
- What is the inciting incident that sets your story in motion? Even if your story begins in the middle of something bigger, we will need to learn why we begin where we begin. For example, in Game of Thrones, the inciting incident was the death of the Hand of the King, which thrust the reluctant Stark family into the middle of the political intrigue that was beginning to pull the kingdom apart.
- What is your story arc? Just setting something in motion does little for you if you don’t know where things are headed. In Breaking Bad, for example, the narrative is set in motion when Walter White is diagnosed with cancer and he turns to a life of crime to secure his family’s financial future before he dies. The long story arc then traces his journey as he slowly transforms from a good man to an evil one.
- How will your show sustain itself? Answering this will help you figure out what the story engine is that will drive each episode. This is the source of steady conflict that will propel the show forward and keep the audience engaged. In Battlestar Galactica, for example, the long story arc is the search for a new planet to call home, but that search is sustained by the recurring threat of enemy attack and by the internal division and mistrust that forms when the crew discovers there are enemies among them.
- Project Launch: May 10th, 2017
- Concept Phase: May 10th-31st
- Concept Winners Announced: June 19th
- Writer’s Pitch Phase: June 19th – July 3rd
- Writer’s Pitch Winners Announced: July 17th
- Series Pitch Bible Development Phase: July 17th – August 7th
- First Draft of Series Pitch Bible DUE: August 7th
- Series Pitch Bible Revisions: August 7th – August 30th
- Series Pitch Bible Winner Announced: August 30th
This Project will be worth a total of $22,500 and consists of four phases: Series Concept, Writers Pitch, Series Pitch Bible Development, and Revisions. Be sure to read the following information carefully as well as the Official Rules.
PHASE 1: SERIES CONCEPT – Submit your Series Concept convincing the Sponsor why your Concept should be selected to move forward, as outlined in the Background and Objectives above, using:
- Title (REQUIRED) – Write down how you would title your Series.
- Logline (REQUIRED) – In 140 characters or less, give us a Logline.
- Concept (REQUIRED) – In 500 characters or less, tell us your Series Concept.
- Additional materials (Optional)
The three most compelling Series Concepts will be selected and, upon submitting the Winner’s Affidavit and the IP Assignment, each will receive $1,500.
PHASE 2: WRITERS PITCH PHASE – Writers can pitch their takes on how to expand upon one of the three winning Series Concepts, using:
- Pitch Video (REQUIRED) – This is a 2 to 4 minute Video where you should introduce yourself and give us a quick high-level “elevator pitch” for the Story you want to tell. You can cover the basic concept, characters, and general story arc, but you won’t be expected to cover all of the details that you might include in your treatment.
- Treatment (REQUIRED) – This is NOT a rough draft of your Pitch Bible, but should still be a detailed breakdown of what’s going to happen in your Story. Focus on your overall vision, and gives us specifics about the concept, characters, narrative, and world.
- Writing Sample (REQUIRED) – This is a sample of your own work as a writer, and preferably something written for television or film.
- Additional materials (Optional) – This can be any supporting documents, videos, or visuals that you think help communicate an important element of your show.
The three most compelling Pitches will be selected and, upon submitting the Winner’s Affidavit and the IP Assignment, each will receive $2,000to create a Series Pitch Bible. If your Pitch is selected and you execute the Series Pitch Bible effectively in the Series Pitch Bible Phase, then you are guaranteed to win an additional $4,000.
PHASE 3: SERIES PITCH BIBLE – We’ll work with the three winning Writers from the pitch phase to fully develop their series pitch bibles. This document will likely fall in the range of 10 to 20 pages, and at minimum will cover:
- The Concept
- The World
- Characters & Their Backstories
- Story Arc
- Story Engine
- Tone & Voice
PHASE 4: REVISIONS – Once the Series Pitch Bible Phase has concluded, the Winners will enter the Revisions Phase. During this phase, the Winners will perform reasonable edits according to the Sponsor’s feedback.
Winning Participants will share in Tongal net revenue received from the development of the winning Series Concepts. Dynamic Television and Tongal will have a 12 month option from the close of the project to purchase non-winning Series Concepts and Writers Pitches.
1. Unless provided otherwise, all work must be your own original creation and free of any copyrighted material. You shall provide detailed information of your work regarding the source, the creator and background information as requested by Tongal.
2. In the event you utilize any third party materials, you must obtain full written license and consent from the owner of such third party materials and provide such license and consent forms to Tongal.
3. BY SUBMITTING AN ENTRY, YOUR SUBMISSION IMMEDIATELY BECOMES THE SOLE PROPERTY OF TONGAL OR ITS ASSIGNEES – SEE OFFICIAL RULES FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT OWNERSHIP OF ENTRIES. YOU MAY NOT PUBLICLY SHARE OR PUBLISH YOUR SUBMISSION IN ANY MANNER AND YOU MAY NOT POST OR UPLOAD YOUR SUBMISSION TO ANY WEBSITE OR (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE OR VIMEO), WITHOUT THE PRIOR EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT OF TONGAL. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS REQUIREMENT MAY RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION OF YOUR ENTRY IN THE PROJECT.
4. Dynamic Television and Tongal will have a 12 month option from the close of the project to purchase non-winning Series Concepts and Writers Pitches.
5. Submissions must not portray Sponsor in a negative way, the determination of which will solely reside with Sponsor.
6. By submitting to this project, you acknowledge that your work may become subject to public voting on the Tongal site. Public voting may be used to help the project sponsor determine the final rank order.
7. Limit 5 submissions per member, per Phase.
8. You must be at least thirteen (13) years or older to enter.
9. In the event that fewer than ten (10) Writers Pitches are received, the Sponsor reserves the right to repost the contest for up to fourteen (14) days at their discretion.
10. In addition to the judging criteria stated in the OFFICIAL RULES, Pitches will also be evaluated on that member’s ability to execute the final product based on their prior work and experience.
11. The Sponsor will be entitled to reasonable revisions on the finished product without providing additional compensation.
12. See OFFICIAL RULES for additional contest information, terms and conditions. If there is any conflict or inconsistency between these requirements and the Official Rules, the terms and conditions of these requirements shall prevail.
Awards:- $ 6000