DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES:

Development Program for Digital Drama Series

 

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OBJECTIVE

To support the development of new digital drama series (web series) by encouraging partnerships and guidance from experienced web series creators and writers and producers and social media professionals. This 2015 pilot Program is intended to prepare applicants to be “pitch ready” in order to apply for production financing and attract appropriate platforms and talent.

 


MANDATE

The COGECO Program Development Fund (“COGECO Fund”) was established to encourage the development of new Canadian drama, written by Canadian writers and produced by independent Canadian producers, primarily for private sector broadcasters, in English or French, or preferably in both languages.

 

STRUCTURE

The COGECO Fund is a private, not-for-profit corporation established by COGECO Inc., a media and communications company. It is incorporated by letters patent issued under the authority of the Canada Corporations Act. Cogeco Cable Inc., a subsidiary of COGECO Inc., contributed $5 million to establish an endowment fund for this program. The annual revenues generated by the development fund (interest, loan repayment and other) are allocated for development funding in accordance with the guidelines and policies of the COGECO Fund. The Board of Directors does, however, retain the option to reinvest part of the annual proceeds in order to maintain the value of the capital of the Fund. It is directed by a six-member Board of Directors. By contractual arrangement, its programs are administered through the facilities and services of the Independent Production Fund.

 

DEVELOPMENT FUNDING

(Development Program for Digital Drama Series)

 

APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY
To be eligible for financial support, applicants must:

be a team of at least one writer and one independent producer and both must be Canadian. Either the writer, or the producer, must have at least one previous credit as a writer or producer of scripted web content that is available online.

identify the specific mentorship needs they require.

have a confirmed mentor at time of application. The mentor must have the appropriate qualifications, skills and experience that will enhance the creative or business materials to be undertaken. Please note, the mentor cannot be the same as the Writer or the Producer. For example, a script editor or creative consultant with previous web drama series experience, or a social media strategist or an experienced web drama series producer.

PROJECT ELIGIBILITY
To be eligible for financial support, projects must meet the following requirements:

The project to be developed must be a dramatic, scripted digital series intended for the web.

 Subsequent seasons to an existing digital drama series are not eligible for Development funding.

Mentors must identify the activities they will undertake for this development.

The Producer must have proof of ownership of the property and rights or options to produce and exploit the production. If project is successful, there will need to be an incorporated production company for contracting purposes.

Applications must include a series concept description.

Applications must include the proposed activities to be undertaken during this development stage and deliverables to the Cogeco Fund, as well as a budget for the development.

All deliverables and a final cost report must be completed within 90 days of notification of funding or the financing commitment will be cancelled.

Priority will be given to small to medium-sized production companies.

The project will not infringe upon any public or private rights and will not otherwise contravene any civil or criminal laws in effect.

REQUIRED APPLICATION DOCUMENTS

All documents are submitted via the online application portal.

1. Completed electronic application form

2. Completed Project Details Form

3. Supplemental documents. Please refer to the Development Program Document Checklist for a complete list of the required documents. 

REQUIRED DELIVERABLES

The following documents must be received upon completion of the development phase:

A short synopsis and logline for the series

A minimum of 3 episode scripts

An Audience Engagement strategy

A development cost report

Optional deliverables may include a proof-of-concept video, business plan, bible, episode outlines, options/rights agreements, performer agreements, distribution plan, etc.

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION

A maximum of $10,000 is available in the form of development advances which are to be reimbursed on the first day of principal photography.

The Cogeco Fund will fund up to 100% of the development costs to a maximum of $10,000.

If the development budget exceeds $10,000, all other funding must be confirmed at the time of application.

Terms and conditions include the following:

advances from the COGECO Fund may be used for development costs including, but not limited to, writer fees, script editor fees, mentor fees, producer fees, production costs (proof-of-concept video), related travel;

applicant teams may apply with only one project per application deadline (note: there is only one application deadline per year);

mentors may participate on more than one project per application deadline;

advances will normally be interest-free and must be reimbursed on the first day of principal photography;

a written contract duly executed by the successful applicants and the COGECO Fund establishing the terms and conditions of the advance;

payments are made in two installments: 75% upon signing of the Financing Agreement and 25% upon acceptance of all required deliverables.

advances become immediately due in full upon the sale, transfer or assignment of the project, or if the producer is in default of its obligations under the agreement, becomes insolvent, is petitioned into bankruptcy, or is the subject of a claim or proceeding affecting the rights of the proposed program;

acceptance of funding from the COGECO Fund establishes the Fund’s right to audit all accounts and records of the applicant;

acknowledgement of the COGECO Fund in credits and promotional material.

EVALUATION PROCESS

Applications are submitted to Selection Committee named by the Board of Directors from amongst its members. The Committee members may not be Directors or Officers of COGECO Inc. or any of its subsidiaries. Members of the Selection Committee may not participate in a decision concerning a project in which they themselves, or persons with which they are associated, have a direct or indirect financial interest.

Eligible applications are evaluated on the assessed value of the development activities, the quality of the mentorship, the deliverables and budget, and how well the projects meet the objectives and general policies of the COGECO Fund. Projects will be compared on the basis of quality.

Notification of decisions will be communicated to the applicants six to eight weeks after the application deadline

All interpretations of these Guidelines and all decisions made by the Committee or the Board of Directors are at their absolute discretion. All decisions are final and are not subject to appeal. The COGECO Fund reserves the right to return any application considered to be incomplete or inconsistent with the present guidelines, or to require additional information before proceeding with the application.

 

The COGECO Fund reserves the right to change at any time the present Guidelines, to issue new general policies, or to vary their application as it deems fit. Such changes will not however, have the effect of superseding any conflicting provision in the contracts signed prior to the issue of these changes.

 

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