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Resources for Writers

Submissions Call: Storyland with RTÉ and Northern Ireland Screen

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Article by Niamh O'Connor ©.
Posted in Resources (, ).

Submissions deadline: 13th March 2019

The RTÉ and NI Screen talent development competition – Storyland – is open until midnight on March 13, and this year’s theme is revenge.

Six 20-minute projects will be funded; the budget for each of the commissioned dramas is €31,500, which must cover all production costs.

At the launch in Montrose last month, Executive Producer David Crean said that four readers will sift through an anticipated 160-200 entries and that a longlist of 40 will then be shortlisted down to 25 by mid April. The interviews are due to take place from Monday, April 29.

The aim of Storyland is to give producers, writers and directors a chance to work in a less demanding space than prime-time TV. The remit is talent development.

Last year’s winners were Social Influence, Everything Not Saved, Flow, Good Christian Women’s Writing Group, Vanilla and Smother.

Those stories covered everything from rap face-offs to homelessness, addiction and sex abuse. They can still be viewed here: https://beta.rte.ie/player/all-programmes/new-irish-drama/FUh4V72TcgmP

To enter this year’s competition, you will need a writer, a producer and production company in place as the producer/ production company must make the submission.

While it’s not essential that producers have made dramas before, the producer’s experience is taken into account during the criteria assessment. Other considerations are: concept, outline, originality, characterisation, relationships, theme, sense of place, writer experience, and scale – whether it’s achievable.

The following information must be included in the submission as one PDF:

  • A paragraph on the point and purpose of the drama explaining why you want to tell this story now – this information is critical for the judges to understand the motivation and assess how it will connect with the audience;
  • An outline;
  • Sample scenes;
  • Resumés for the producer, writer and a company profile;
  • The Storyland cover sheet which is available for download or by request at storyland2019@rte.ie

“The point of the outline is to pitch the idea,” David Crean said at the launch, adding that the idea should be contemporary.

The outline needs to give a sense of the drama but not the minute details and the sample scenes should give a sense of the tone.

There are no restrictions on how many dramas writers/producers can submit.

In terms of range, Storyland is open to comedy drama, but it must be scripted and “not broken or sketch-based comedy” according to the FAQs.

“Docudrama will not meet the submission criteria, but a drama based on real events would qualify,” the FAQs add.

It’s up to the producer and writer to decide how much the writer gets paid and writers who haven’t partnered with a producer yet can get details on: www.screenproducersireland.com, the Irish Writers’ Guild www.script.ie and www.northernirelandscreen.co.uk.

If violence features, it should be justified by context and not gratuitous.

The winning web dramas will “aired” on RTÉ Player and the international RTÉ Player, which can be seen in territories worldwide as they aren’t geoblcocked.

The completed drama is owned by the producer and the underlying rights to the material are owned by the writer.

The Storyland project manager is Sonia Patterson who can be contacted at: Storyland2019@RTE.ie

(c) Niamh O’Connor


Niamh O’Connor is one of Ireland’s best known crime authors. She is a crime reporter with the Sunday World, Ireland’s biggest selling Sunday newspaper, for whom she has written five true crime books which were given away with the newspaper. Her job, in which she interviews both high profile criminals and their victims means she knows the world she is writing about.