Syfy is partnering with online creator network Tongal, and Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company for original stories, to launch “Story to Screen – A Digital Pilot Project” with the aim of adapting Wattpad’s viral sci-fi thriller, Expiration Date for the screen. The joint venture kicks off today on the Tongal platform with a call for filmmakers to pitch how they would bring Expiration Date to life as a digital series at Syfy.com. The partnership is part of the Syfy Wire Fan Creators initiative launching this month.
Created by Mikaela Bender (Expiration Date Duology), Expiration Date was one of the most popular sci-fi stories on Wattpad in 2016 and 2017, with more than 16 million reads to date. The sci-fi thriller takes place in a world where the date of one’s death is known by the mysterious Society. Centered on 19-year-old orphan Iris Levine, the story imagines a society in which citizens are marked with their “Expiration Date”— the day they are supposed to die— at birth. When Iris’s expiration date arrives, a mysterious man saves her from imminent death. Having survived her expiration date, Iris is now the Society’s biggest threat.
Starting today, creators can submit a treatment that captures what Expiration Date could look like as a digital series on Syfy.com. Candidates will be pared down to three finalists, who will receive funding to produce a proof of concept in the form of a series trailer. Tongal, Syfy and Wattpad will then award one grand prize winner additional funding to create a digital pilot episode with the potential to go on to develop the entire series.
“The partnership between Tongal and Wattpad flips the script on Hollywood by changing the how and who of content creation through our open platforms for talent,” said Tongal Co-Founder and President, James DeJulio. “These new global communities are made up of diverse and passionate creators, and now they’re actually developing the shows they want to watch. I’m thrilled that SYFY has embraced this innovative, by the fans, for the fans shift.”
“Our creative alliance with Tongal and Wattpad is a natural extension of our Syfy Wire Fan Creators initiative,” said Alexandra Shapiro, executive vice president of marketing and digital for Syfy and USA Network. “It really marks the next phase of Syfy’s “It’s a Fan Thing” positioning and celebrates, nurtures and supports the makers, artists and creators at the heart of genre fandom. In addition to Expiration Date, Tongal will continue to work with Syfy to develop digital content that inspires and ignites fans and brings together the creator community.”
“Data and technology are disrupting entertainment, upending traditional development and creating new opportunities for studios and creators,” said Aron Levitz, head of Wattpad Studios. “We’re tapping into a whole new world of fresh voices, empowering new types of storytellers and exciting new narratives. The model we’re creating, with partners like Tongal and Syfy, shows that an established and loyal fan base will follow a great story wherever it goes.”
“I created Expiration Date with the support of millions of readers on Wattpad, who encouraged and celebrated the story as it took shape,” said Bender. “It’s been an amazing journey interacting with fans around the world on Wattpad, and now seeing the story find life on a whole new medium. I’m grateful to Wattpad, Tongal and Syfy for the opportunity to take Expiration Date beyond words on a page to life on the screen.”