FLEX Development Hub

FLEX 2021 participants. Image © Lisa Stonehouse / Screen Yorkshire

Exploring agile on-screen storytelling

Applications open until midday 9th June 2022

Screen Yorkshire & SIGN, the Screen Industries Growth Network, are opening applications for a second year to FLEX – their ground-breaking development hub for creatives from across the UK, with a specific focus on Yorkshire & Humber talent.

FLEX challenges the status quo of on-screen narratives and aims to explore storytelling ahead of the curve, fit for audiences in 2022 and beyond. Following its successful pilot, FLEX will provide an opportunity to generate ideas and develop stories in an inspiring and agile, platform neutral, space.

Who is FLEX for?

FLEX is developed in partnership with and provides a space for the best of the UK’s emerging creative talent to form agile storytelling partnerships. We are looking for writers, directors and producers to create strongly authored narratives that will continue to build Yorkshire and the Humber as a place of dynamic, authentic and fluid storytelling. We encourage individual applicants; existing writing duos may also apply together.

We are keen to encourage applications from those who may not have followed a traditional route into the screen industries or faced additional barriers accessing support and opportunities. Its fundamental goal is to work with talent that is inspired by the creative freedom afforded by FLEX and ready to innovate, to connect diverse stories with new audiences.

Teams are created on FLEX with the support of several facilitated sessions. Image © Lisa Stonehouse / Screen Yorkshire

I’m a writer from Yorkshire living in London. It seemed so difficult to connect with filmmakers who had comparable experiences and regional interests. Flex has given me a fantastic collection of people that I can reach out to and work with who understand where my work is coming from. I think that's pretty invaluable. Flex really has helped my career along. I would advise any writers, directors or producers to get involved.

Mohammed Ahmed, writer, who took part in FLEX 2021

Mo Ahmed - image: Lisa Stonehouse

When and how will FLEX be delivered?

Applications open to FLEX on Tuesday 17th May 2022 and close on Thursday 9th June 2022 at midday. The part-time programme will run for 7 Months, from July 2022 – end of February 2023. All participants must commit to the full duration of this programme.

FLEX will offer a carefully curated development opportunity for each creative team including ideation workshops, story testing sessions, writers’ rooms, script development support, access to key industry figures and pitching opportunities.

Creative teams will also be offered bursaries to support the development process. The sessions will be a blended mixture of virtual and in-person. We are keen for FLEX to be bespoke for each team but this indicative schedule gives an idea of how the programme is meant to progress.

For more details, please see our indicative schedule below.

FLEX schedule

Producer - Rebecca Mark-Lawson, Director - Alfie Barker, Writer - Makeda Matheson. Image: Lisa Stonehouse

This is all about the people! Flex helped me realise what we've got in the north and made me embrace the stories from where I'm from. I've learnt so much across the development process, working in a team so early helps to create a space where all ideas are heard.

Alfie Barker, Director, who took part in FLEX 2021

Thinking of applying? Sign up to one of our Q&A sessions

During the application period, the FLEX team will be running two Q&As (via Zoom) which will both be Closed Captions Supported.

Sign up to our Q&A session on 23rd May 5.30pm – 6.30pm via eventbrite

Sign up to our Q&A session on 6th June 12-1pm via eventbrite

For enquiries about these sessions, you can email: flex@screenyorkshire.co.uk

Flex was the best talent development scheme I've been on. A great selection of UK wide and Yorkshire and Humber based talent, coming together to create the next generation of storytelling. It has been inspiring to see what all the teams achieved in the time we had and I look forward to seeing the projects coming to life. Plus really insightful sessions with commissioners and story masterclasses.

Thea Burrows, Producer

Thea Burrow, Producer

Got some questions? Read our FAQs

What if I don't fit into a Writer, Director or Producer role?

We understand that people fit into multiple roles and disciplines but for the purpose of Flex we ask you to choose the one that aligns best with your skillset from the given categories. However, we are also aware that people are now cross-disciplinary. Therefore, we are open to people who work in avenues other than screen who are able to evidence their work in the application form. For example, if you are a theatre director, please apply and showcase your work through reviews or footage. With the agile nature of Flex we want to be open to all visual art forms so please do not see this as a boundary to submitting an application.

How are teams formed?

On FLEX, we aim to replicate real-world creative development. This means we want people to form teams by coalescing around ideas and stories they feel passionate about, rather than accepting pre formed teams (other than writing duos). Teams are created on FLEX with the support of several facilitated sessions where you can get to know one another, share your vision, and connect. We also run a values and FLEX induction 2-day session, where team formation will be a core focus.

Are there any restrictions on what the team development bursary can be spent on?

Each team will be expected to provide a mini development budget outlining costings which will need to be approved ahead of receiving the bursary. The bursary is intended to go towards time needed for script development, research etc. The bursary is allocated to the whole writer/director/producer team, rather than one particular member, due to the creative collaborative nature of the programme. However we recognise that the bulk of the work usually lies with the writer in the development stage, and encourage teams to also appreciate this when allocating their budgets. Screen Yorkshire retains the right to withdraw some/all of the bursary if given reason to do so.

I am a writer and I work with a writing partner; can we apply together?

Yes, you must complete a joint application form. We will consider writing duos as a joint application. We ask that you submit two script examples of no more than 5 pages each in duration, that you have worked on together. Please note that you can only apply as part of a writing duo or individually; Flex does not allow for multiple applications. In the event that you apply as a duo, you will still be expected to work in the same Writer/Producer/Director dynamic, therefore your overall team size will increase.

Who is Flex for?

Flex is an innovative, creative development programme for UK based Writers, Directors and Producers. You can apply as an individual or as a writing duo. We welcome applications that will help us to bring together different perspectives and ways of working. Successful applicants to Flex will be accepted onto and work on the first phase of the programme as individuals. We will provide support for ideation and to encourage creative collaboration, then it is the cohort’s responsibility to form themselves into teams. We believe this is the most organic way to encourage newly formed creative teams to coalesce around an idea. We will support this process as much as we are able. However, in the unusual circumstances that an individual is not able to collaborate to form a team Screen Yorkshire reserves the right to end participation. Please note at least one person within the team needs to reside or work in Yorkshire and Humber and individuals can only attach themselves to one project and team regardless of their role.

I’m not from Yorkshire and the Humber, can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply to Flex if you are from outside Yorkshire and Humber. However, SIGN & Screen Yorkshire want to secure the very best creative individuals to help make the region future-facing. Therefore, a minimum of one member of the creative team on Flex has to be from Yorkshire and Humber. If you live outside of this region and want to apply as an individual or writing duo, you can do. Writing duos with one member residing or working in Yorkshire and Humber are also able to apply. Please note it is up to creative teams to ensure one member of the team fulfils the Yorkshire and Humber participant criteria.

Who has Intellectual Property over the ideas/content we produce during the programme?

The development process for Flex will involve world building, series outlines, and possibly script creation. We have found - while it is a collaboratively creative programme - the core of this work involves written content. In line with the Writers Guild of Great Britain, IP in these circumstances would normally rest with the writer. However, we recognise that a programme like Flex encourages producers and directors to be more proactively involved in the development process than under normal circumstances. We will support teams to ensure that appropriate credits and recognition of work are contractually embedded once projects have been developed. During the programme itself Screen Yorkshire will reserve 50% of the IP at which end point all of the IP will revert back to the key creative/team. At the conclusion of the programme Screen Yorkshire & SIGN will reserve the right for a development credit.

Do we apply with an idea / Are you looking for a particular genre or type of story?

For the purposes of Flex, we are not accepting predeveloped scripts or ideas. We want teams to explore unique ideas together, to take creative risks, and push boundaries with expectations around scripted narratives on screen. The programme will facilitate this journey through a series of sessions and bespoke support.

What happens if our filmmaking team falls out with each other along the way?

We’ll do all we can to help you resolve any issues but at the end of the day it’s your project and you’ll have to find a way of pushing it through the various development stages. In the unfortunate event that a member of the team does drop out or is asked to stand aside, we'll assist you in finding a replacement but will reserve the right to approve who they are. In the event that we can’t agree, then we’ll have the right to put the project into turnaround.

What do we mean by ‘emerging creative talent’?

We welcome applications from participants who have already produced some sort of creative content by the time they apply for Flex. This development initiative is focused on innovative, creative content that challenges the status quo. We don’t want to stipulate a time frame we expect you to have accrued within your career if you have great ideas to bring to us. However, Flex is not for the very new or inexperienced. We need participants to be clear about what role they see themselves in and understand what responsibilities this entails. We expect professionalism, and a level of confidence and proven ability to be on the programme so we can really open doors to new ways of storytelling.

Will I get paid for Flex?

Each team will receive a joint development bursary. This is intended to support the development and time needed to generate your ideas within the team and write your scripted material. We will also do our best to cover reasonable expenses where applicable.

How long does the programme run for?

7 Months, July 2022– end of Feb 2023. All participants must commit to the full duration of this programme. Please refer to the indicative schedule on this application page. The sessions will be a blended mixture of virtual and in-person. We are keen for Flex to be bespoke for each team but this indicative schedule gives an idea of how the programme is meant to progress. We will try and structure sessions and programme elements as flexibly as possible, i.e. evenings, lunch time slots etc, however all participants are expected to commit to the final programme timetable and deliverables. Please note we will be running a minimum of 3 in-person sessions across the duration of the programme, which will require an overnight stay for those living further away from the venue (this cost will be covered by FLEX). The dates for these sessions are in the indicative schedule. While we offer flexibility to all of our participants these dates are in place to support team development, skills and project development and are a core element of the programme. We expect all participants to attend wherever possible. In light of this, we want to be clear that we understand people have personal, caring, and employment responsibilities. Many of our previous cohort worked and/or had caring responsibilities alongside the programme. The workload on FLEX does require an intense focus at times. On FLEX we purposefully enable each team to structure their team work around their own schedules. We will do everything we can to support you whilst also being fully transparent about workloads. We ask that anyone applying considers how they will balance this, especially as once teams are formed you will have deadline deliverables (see indicative schedule). If you have questions around this please come along to our Q&A or email us at flex@screenyorkshire.co.uk

I have dependents / I am a carer; will this programme be suitable for me?

Yes! We welcome applications from parents/carers. Where we canwe intend to support, remove obstacles and allow flexibility for our participants regardless of backgrounds. We will assess support with costs associated to caring responsibilities, or other essential needs, based on the individual needs of participants. This support would be in addition to the team development bursary. 

What is the goal of Flex? Where will I be at the end?

Flex is innovative and therefore we are open minded about where participants, and projects, will end up. To a large extent we encourage teams to define their own deliverables and goals. However we expect the process to produce some sort of professional standard, market-ready material that is suitable for next stage development. Our previous cohort's deliverables ranged from series outlines, developed ideas involving agile wraparound content, fully formed worlds, character development, pitch documents, visual mood boards and first episode scripts. We also aim to increase confidence & skills around team building, the creative process, pitching, a deeper sense of the development process, ideation and current market awareness.

How to apply

Once you have read our FAQs, please submit your online application via the links below. You may apply as an individual writer, director or producer, or we will consider writing duos as a joint application. If you have any enquiries or need support with your application, please get in touch with us: flex@screenyorkshire.co.uk

Applications close at midday, 9th June

Main application form

Writing duo application form