Àlọ́ is an international writers initiative aiming to discover up-and-coming writers and their unique story ideas that pay homage to Africa's cultures, diversity, heritage and people. Writers are invited to submit their materials and apply for a chance to be selected as a finalist to enter into a series development deal with EbonyLife Media and Sony Pictures Television.
In the Yoruba language Àlọ́ means "story time" or “once upon a time". EbonyLife Media and Sony Pictures Television have joined forces to launch the Àlọ́ Writers Initiative, a unique platform for up-and-coming writers of proven African Heritage. Our goal is to find and curate the best authentic African stories - inspiring stories created by Africans for audiences around the world.
Successful candidates will have the opportunity to receive a fee of $7,500 and enter into a series development deal with Sony Pictures Television and EbonyLife under the Àlọ́ Initiative. Once completed the projects will be pitched to major international broadcasters for their consideration to potentially be made into TV series. See the FAQ and Official Rules for complete details of the fees and terms of the Development Deal.
Writers who apply can reside in any of the eligible countries but must be of African heritage. The Initiative is only open to legal citizens and/or legal permanent residents and/or first generation children of legal citizens of one or more of the fifty-four countries of the African continent. See the FAQ and Official Rules for complete application requirements and eligibility.
DISCLAIMER: Defined terms in the FAQs shall have the same meaning as those defined in the Official Rules. If there are any discrepancies between these FAQs and the Official Rules, the terms of the Official Rules shall prevail.
The Initiative is open to writers (or teams of 2 writers) residing in the Initiative Territories (below) who are either born in, or became citizens of, one of the 54 countries of Africa (or became a legal permanent resident where applicable) OR their children.
For the First Entry Period, the Initiative Territories are:
- United States (its territories and possessions)
- Countries of the European Union
- United Kingdom
- All countries of Africa (excl. Sudan)
- Australia/New Zealand
Please read carefully the Eligibility provision in the Official Rules for complete eligibility requirements and any other restrictions.
We are looking for original one-hour or ½ hour live-action drama or comedy/dramedy scripted television series that resonates to a global audience with serialized dramatic story arcs at their core. We are not looking for multi-cam or single camera situational comedies/Sitcoms; however, humor and comedic elements are certainly acceptable and welcomed (though not required). Also excluded are Made-for-television movies, mini-series, feature film, stage play, and/or unscripted/reality/competition/docuseries. Materials must not be adapted from books, plays or other sources (unless you are the author and own and control all rights and interests). Please DO NOT submit any materials that were previously purchased, are currently under development with a network/channel, studio, production and/or distribution company, or infringe on third party rights.
You will be required to submit a pilot script formatted using approved software (30-35 pages for ½ hour and 60-65 pages for 1 hour) and a series document (max 8-12 pages) in English (or translated in English) that contains the following:
- Number of episodes (minimum 6)
- Genre & language
- Country of Origin
- Summary (1 paragraph)
- World Overview/Background (1 page max)
- Character Descriptions (1/4 pages per main character, 1-2 sentences for minor characters)
- Plot overview (3-5 pages max)
Once materials are submitted, we cannot accept revisions or changes. If we require any changes, we will notify you directly. Materials can only be submitted in one Entry Period. Any duplicate, even if revised, materials are not eligible in subsequent Entry periods and will be disqualified.
Please refer to the Official Rules for all Entry Material Requirements.
A panel of judges, compromised of seasoned creative executives from EbonyLife and Sony Pictures Television International will select a finalist from the eligible entries received based on the following criteria:
(iii) global resonance
(iv) cultural authenticity
(v) producibility and
(vi) overall impression
Judges will select one entry from each Entry Period as a Finalist, however, Sponsors have the right, but not the obligation, to select additional Finalists.
Please refer to the Official Rules for all Finalist Selection Terms.
Once submitted, your Entry Materials cannot become optioned, developed, purchased or produced by a network, studio, production company or distribution company or in any way encumbered (including liens) by a third party during the Selection Period (as defined below).
During the Selection Period, you will be expected to be available for a minimum of one (1) video conference with member(s) of the judging panel (at Sponsors’ sole election) as well as submit any further information or documents if requested by the Sponsors to verify eligibility, including providing references.
If Selected as a Finalist, you will have an opportunity to work on you project with creatives from EbonyLife and Sony Pictures Television International. At the Sponsor’s election, collaborative script development will take place over the course of six (6) months via phone, email and video conference. No travel will be required but you will be required to be reasonably available to work with the creatives on any required changes by the Sponsor’s to the Entry Materials.
Finalist(s) may also be required to participate in a reasonable number of customary promotional and publicity activities to promote the Initiative.
If the Sponsors produce a program based on your Entry Materials, subject to your availability and willingness to render services, you will be engaged to render writing and/or producing services on the initial program produced per the terms of the Development Deal (see Official Rules for terms of Development Deal).
Please refer to the Official Rules for all requirements.
We are anticipating the following dates for the First Entry Period:
- First Entry Period: September 24, 2021 through the earlier of (a) November 4, 2021 and (b) the date Sponsors receive 200 eligible entries.
- First Selection Period: November 5, 2021 through February 10, 2022
- First Finalist Notification Date: on or about February 14, 2022
- Last day to change email address or other notification: January 28, 2022
There is no application fee. Due to the high volume of applicants, we are not able to give feedback on applications/Entry Materials or give updates on application status.
We are anticipating the Second Entry Period to open around April 1, 2022. Please check back to this website for any changes to the Dates.
Please refer to the Official Rules for exact dates, which are subject to change if and as needed.
If you are selected as a Finalist, you will have an opportunity to enter into a Development Deal with the Sponsors in which, amongst other things, you will be required to sign an Acquisition Agreement with Sony Pictures Television International. Per the terms of the Acquisition Agreement, you will receive an Acquisition Fee of $7,500 (USD) and Sony will acquire all rights in and to your Entry Materials to further develop and/or produce a program based on the Entry Materials. In addition, if the Sponsors produce a program based upon your Entry Materials, and provided you are available and willing to render services, you will be attached to the Initial Program produced to render writing and/or producer services and will receive the following:
(i) a fee of $15,000 per one-hour episode or $10,000 per half-hour episode for each episode of the Initial Program produced
(ii) a writing and/or producing, as applicable, credit on each produced episode of the Initial Program (subject to broadcaster approval and any applicable guild or writers' union restrictions), and
(iii) (5%) net profit participation from Sony’s exploitation of the Initial Program
Please refer to the Development Deal and Grant of Rights provisions in the Official Rules for all terms of the Development Deal and/or Acquisition Agreement.
The Sponsors will have up to 2 years from signature of the Acquisition Agreement to further develop and/or produce your submitted materials and/or enter into an agreement with a commissioning broadcaster otherwise the materials will revert back to you and you will be free to exploit them with no further obligation to the Sponsors, except if your Entry Materials eventually get sold and exhibited as a program on a Global VOD platform, then the Sponsors will receive a royalty and profit participation from the producers of the program.
However, (a) If the Sponsors incur any development and/or production costs (in addition to the Acquisition Fee paid to you) and/or (b) enter into an agreement with a co-producer, commissioning broadcaster and/or financier, the Sponsors will own your Entry Materials in perpetuity with you being involved as set out above and in the Official Rules. However, if no program is produced within 5 years from signing of the Acquisition Agreement, you will have the right to request a turnaround/reversion in your submitted materials which the Sponsors will consider in good faith.
Please refer to the Grant of Rights provisions in the Official Rules for all terms regarding turnaround/reversions.
Sony Pictures Television International and/or EbonyLife, and their affiliated companies and divisions, are in the business of producing, exhibiting and/or distributing entertainment and receive numerous submissions of materials and/or developing and/or producing content which independently may contain elements that appear to be similar or identical to elements in the Entry Materials you submit. In accordance with the Submission Release, Sony Pictures Television International and/or EbonyLife (and/or their affiliated companies) do not have any obligations to you, including payment of any compensation, if an existing and/or future program includes elements that may be similar or identical to elements in your Entry Materials.
PLEASE READ THE SUBMISSION RELEASE AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS CAREFULLY. IF YOU DO NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND AND/OR AGREE TO THE TERMS IN THE SUBMISSION RELEASE AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS, PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR MATERIALS.
If you are submitting as a team, both of you are required to fully understand and agree to the terms of the Submission Release and Release of Claims, and by submitting your Entry Materials, both writers are agreeing to be bound by the term of the Submission Release and Release of Claims and are required to provide electronic consent in the online application prior to submission of materials.
In order to give each Submission the proper time to be considered during the Selection Period, we are limiting the total number of eligible entries to two hundred (200). Sponsors shall also have the right but not the obligation to carryover any or all eligible entries in excess of the first one hundred (100) into the Second Entry Period for consideration. If we elect to start carrying over submissions, we will notify you that your submission has been carried over, either via an automatic notification at the time of submission and/or by email at the end of the First Selection Period. If you do not want your submission carried over and want to withdraw it from the Initiative, you will be provided information at the time you are notified on how to withdraw your submission. Any withdrawing of submissions will need to happen in the time frame set out in the notification but no later than commencement of the Second Entry Period. Any eligible entry that is not withdrawn by the commencement of the Second Entry Period will be considered submitted and subject to the terms of the Official Rules.
Please refer to the Official Rules regarding the Terms of any Carryover Entries.
EbonyLife Media, headed by CEO Mo Abudu, is Nigeria’s premium media conglomerate comprising EbonyLife TV, EbonyLife Films, EbonyLife Studios, EbonyLife Place (a luxury entertainment resort) and most recently the EbonyLife Creative Academy (a film and television school aimed at accelerating filmmakers’ skills in Lagos). EbonyLife Media believes in creating original and inspiring content that showcases a pioneering and progressive Africa. The content is strongly rooted in Africa and connected to a global audience, through a shared identity and common values. EbonyLife Media’s vision is to be the most influential storyteller of a new Africa.
Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is one of the television industry’s leading content providers, producing, distributing and carrying programming worldwide in every genre and for every platform. In addition to managing one of the industry’s largest libraries of award-winning feature films, television shows and formats, SPT is home to a thriving global content business, operating a robust portfolio of wholly-owned and joint-venture production companies across the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific, as well as linear and digital channels around the world. SPT is a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company.
EbonyLife Media CEO Mo Abudu and Sony Pictures Television EVP of Global Scripted Development, Nina Lederman have a conversation about telling African stories through the new ÀLÓ Writers Initiative. For more information, go to alowritersinitiative.com
Mo Abudu from EbonyLife Media announces the new ÀLÓ Writers Initiative. To learn more, visit alowritersinitiative.com #AloWriters