A new TV incubator designed to generate straight-to-series shows is being launched by The Lego Movie franchise producer Dan Lin’s production company Rideback and MRC, the TV and film studio behind House of Cards and Baby Driver.
The Rideback TV Incubator, unveiled Thursday by Rideback and MRC, has a core mission to financially and creatively support TV drama writers from diverse backgrounds “who are seeking to create their own series for cable or streaming.” The new incubator offers paid eight-month residencies to a curated group of eight writers, each of whom has been on series staffs and now look to create his or her own dramatic show.
The writers — the program refers to them as Creators — are paired with experienced showrunners and/or executive producers who serve as mentors. Unlike some other similar initiatives writers will be paid during the stretch; we’re hearing the salary is in the low six-figure range.
The program will run from May 1 through December, with submissions for Creator slots now being accepted. Producer-mentor candidates also are being considered. Lucasfilm consultant Kiri Hart will serve as Creative Advisor, and Elsie Choi, former head of development for Mad Rabbit, will oversee the program as executive director.
Operating out of Rideback Ranch, a new creative campus in LA’s Filipinotown, the incubator is designed to generate market-ready, straight-to-series projects. They would be produced by Rideback, with financing and other studio support by MRC, which is funding the incubator.
Creators whose projects move to series would become executive producers, with writing credits as determined by the WGA. The producer-mentor on a project would be made non-writing executive producers. Rideback and MRC would jointly bring projects to market, with an option of adding other elements.
“We based the Incubator — and Rideback — on our mission of serving and giving back to the creative community,” Lin said. “We want to help creators who can benefit from our culture of creativity, collaboration and community to get their shows to series. We are bringing together a diverse mix of voices in an inspiring space to encourage and challenge each other, and to create television that will shape culture.” The Incubator curriculum will focus on story and character development, incorporating the writers’ room from the ideation stage of development.
MRC, whose credits also include TV’s Ozark and feature film Ted, said in a statement, “The Rideback TV Incubator will allow talented writers with unique perspectives to reach their fullest potential as creators. We are proud to work alongside Dan, Elsie, Kiri and the Rideback team to foster an inclusive and creative environment. Bringing new voices to market through this innovative development format is fully aligned with MRC’s mission to finance and produce fresh, original content that reflects audiences today.”
Hart, who established the Lucasfilm Story Group overseeing Star Wars, said she was “inspired by the spirit of collaboration and inclusion that [the new incubator] represented. I wanted to be a part of it, because it was grounded in values I care about. The Incubator team has come together to discover and nurture emerging creatives from a wide variety of backgrounds, and to encourage them to trust their unique perspectives.”
Said Choi: “We’re building an infrastructure that is not only highly supportive of the creators whose shows we are trying to get to series, but also provides an unprecedented experience to our Producers, those experienced showrunners and executive producers who will have a real upside in success by mentoring a talented and ambitious writer.”
Creator submissions can be made here.