Climate Spring: the Hot House Development Lab for Individual Writers and Writing Partnerships

Climate Spring: the Hot House Development Lab for Individual Writers and Writing Partnerships

The Hot House development lab for scripted long form TV and feature film projects is part of Climate Spring’s writer development offering. Launched in 2022, the programme aims to stimulate a pipeline of new, engaging and commercially viable climate stories for film and TV, whilst offering industry exposure and development support to screenwriting talent.

Recognising the power of storytelling in how we see and shape our world, this year’s The Hot House development lab focuses on ‘stories of the climate transition’. This brief has been chosen to encourage the creation of hopeful stories on how humanity can navigate through this crisis collectively, offering a ‘counter-narrative’ to the dominant ‘doomsday’ narrative frequently encountered in the climate discourse.

Who tells our stories matters and we recognise that creators from diverse backgrounds have faced structural barriers to working in the screen industries and that this limits the perspectives and stories we see. We therefore particularly encourage applications from writers who have been historically marginalised by the screen industries.

Who is Eligible?‍

The Hot House 2024 is open to individual writers and writing partnerships. All applying writers must be over 18 and not in full time education, and can be based anywhere in the world.

Writers must have/have done at least one of the following:

  • An agent

  • Have written a short film that has been screened at an Academy Award qualifying short film festival OR a BAFTA qualifying short film festival

  • Have written a stage play which has had at least a two week run in a theatre or festival, including fringe festivals.tival

  • Have a writing credit for a produced feature film or TV series

  • We will allow writing partnerships of up to three individuals. For writing partnerships, at least half of the writers in the partnership must fulfil the criteria above.‍

    How Does It Work?

  • Applicants will submit a 3-5 page synopsis pitching the proposed project.

  • Projects will then be assessed by the organisers and shortlisted.

  • Shortlisted applicants will have an interview with a panel of judges.

  • The final six selected for the development lab will each receive a payment of £1,000 for their time and initial feedback from the judges on redrafting their synopsis.

  • The participants will then receive three months of development support from September through November 2024, delivered remotely. This includes editorial input from Climate Spring on how to successfully weave climate into the storylines, advice from industry partners on how best to best develop the projects as well as on how to pitch the project.

  • Please note: all rights to projects are retained by the writers.

  • At the end of the lab, the projects will be showcased to producers and will be considered for development funding from Climate Spring in partnership with production companies.

    Creative Brief

    Stories of Transition:

    The world is changing. The ecosystems that support us are coming under increasing strain, and at the same time our understanding of them is increasing - along with our desire to protect them. There is deep anxiety over the effects of climate change that are already being felt, and those that we can expect. But there are already people working to fix the trajectory, in big and small ways, to bend the future towards a more regenerative outcome - one that serves us and our supporting ecosystem.

    The stories we tell can reflect our reality back to us, or they can be an escape to somewhere different. Stories have the power to inspire us with a route out of the crisis, and they can help us walk in someone else’s shoes. Recognising this immense power of storytelling in how we see and shape our world, this year’s

    The Hot House development lab focuses on ‘stories of the climate transition’. This topic has been chosen to encourage screenwriters to imagine and develop stories of how humanity can navigate through this crisis collectively. The stories we don’t often tell, that we need right now, are the stories of the incredible change that is already underway.

    The climate crisis
    is a story of transition. We invite screenwriters to imagine the stories of characters navigating this change and to shine a light on transitions underway or starting to emerge. We are looking for stories that show people journeying through the climate crisis together.

    The journey, which we have already started on, will inevitably be challenging.The disruptions we are already experiencing will magnify. The resolve, creativity and empathy we will have to show to overcome will test us. In that journey there are stories of adventure, courage and community. We are looking for stories that shine a light on the incredible pioneers who have been working on solutions and living their lives in ways that move us away from the polluting, damaging practices and towards more regenerative economies.

    The cast of characters can be anyone from mumsnetters to bushcrafters, from entry level to CEO, from the rebel throwing rocks from the outside, to politicians changing from within - we are all agents of change. We are looking for stories that show how people transform themselves, their communities, their groups and organisations to address the challenge of the moment.

    The context we’re in:

    In order to avoid the worst climate scenarios, where large parts of the world become uninhabitable, we need to very rapidly transition our economy, our society and our lifestyles. We need to move away from fossil fuels and extractive, unsustainable practices - towards cleaner, regenerative and sustainable economies.This transition is going to take place in the midst of our climate system already destabilising, and the impacts of our planetary boundaries being breached.

    It can all feel too unachievable - the scale of change that is required. But it is is already underway. Indeed, we are now at the start of a major period of disruption in our economies and society.

    The highly industrialised system that brought us cheap energy, food and travel is unravelling. Not just because of the climate impacts that are starting to bite, but because their promises of a better life are increasingly not being realised. Life expectancy is declining in some of the richest countries as inequality has soared, with the cost of living growing even while the profits from fossil fuels continue to accrue to a small percent of the population.

    As the old system breaks down, we need to understand what new systems are emerging, and where we want to journey our economy to. When a society is in transition, we need to come together to support each other through the challenges of this journey.

    Our energy system could have transitioned gradually to renewables over many decades, but the fossil fuel industry has fought to keep us locked into fossil fuels. Governments could have facilitated and managed an orderly transition over the decades they have been warned about both climate change and the health and inequality issues around fossil fuels. It is now too late for an orderly transition.

    Even if the world stopped using fossil fuels tomorrow, we would still have the legacy of the last 100 years of greenhouse emissions in the atmosphere. The impacts of climate will intensify and we will need to manage those impacts while also transitioning to more sustainable economies.

    Stories of transition show how we can journey together, how the journey - even when tough - can be a story of adventure, courage and community.

    We need stories to show that there is no place like planet earth, it is our only home, and that we can journey through this adversity together.

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; Climate Spring: the Hot House Development Lab for Individual Writers and Writing Partnerships

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