Universal Cable Productions (UCP) has joined forces with producer Scott Glassgold’s Ground Control, a management and production company specializing in film shorts, to create the ‘Universal Cable Productions and Ground Control Film Lab,’ an initiative to find and nurture the next generation of groundbreaking storytellers. The ‘Universal Cable Productions and Ground Control Film Lab’ challenges aspiring filmmakers to submit a sample of their directorial/visual style, as well as an original television program concept, for a chance to have the opportunity to develop a television project with UCP. The goal of the competition is to find undiscovered directors and visual artists and give them the opportunity to pitch their projects through a nontraditional method, by selling their ideas through graphic story telling rather than a customary script pitch.

“‘Universal Cable Productions and Ground Control Film Lab’ is designed to help bring fresh, unique film makers to the fore,” said Kate Fenske, Senior Vice President of Development for Universal Cable Productions. “We wanted to create a new showcase environment for distinct narratives and bold story telling – giving participants the chance to submit a short film, or other visual sample of their work, is a wonderful way for us to discover new gifted storytellers.”

To be considered for the initiative those interested are asked to submit an original short film (or another original visual presentation of any genre) of up to ten minutes in length that represents their directorial/visual style, as well as a concept for an original television project. Selected participants may have the opportunity to pitch their original television concept to the development team behind UCP’s stable of premium dramas including the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning MR. ROBOT and the Golden Globe nominated series THE SINNER, and the Ground Control creative team.

The ‘Universal Cable Productions and Ground Control Film Lab’ is the latest initiative from UCP aimed at connecting and supporting emerging talent. The award-winning studio also created ‘Pitch Fest,’ an initiative open to unsigned writers and directors to pitch their ideas to development executives with a select project being placed into development. UCP has a history of supporting first time showrunners and fostering their emerging talents. Some of UCP’s celebrated finds include Sam Esmail (MR. ROBOT for USA Network), Lauren LeFranc (IMPULSE for YouTube Red), Nick Antosca (CHANNEL ZERO for SYFY), Derek Simonds (THE SINNER for USA Network), Julie Klausner (DIFFICULT PEOPLE for Amazon), Jeff Buhler (NIGHTFLYERS for SYFY), Jonathan Abrahams (THE ARRANGEMENT for E!), Aaron Korsh (SUITS for USA Network) and many more. The studio strives to find diverse, undiscovered creatives, pair them with veteran mentorship, and then give them the platform to make innovative, unique and premium content for the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment portfolio, external networks and streaming services.

Ground Control works with filmmakers adept at building vast worlds through both VFX and practical innovation. Often, the filmmakers start by creating a proof or presentation to demonstrate an artist's talent as well as the potential of a particular concept. Once finished, they bring to market a dynamic calling card (the proof) and a transactional property ready for adaptation. Over the years, Ground Control has sold proof to top studios including Universal, Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros., and Sony. This past year, Ground Control produced two proofs into feature films: HaZ Dulull's PROJECT KRONOS, which was adapted into THE BEYOND for Gravitas Ventures, and the adaption of Zeek Earl & Chris Caldwell's PROSPECT which debut at SXSW last month. Currently, Glassgold’s company is in production on the digital series adaption of Tomas Vergara's ISOLATED for Blackpills, and are in active development on Stephan Zlotescu's TRUE SKIN for Amazon Studios.

Submission Requirements:
o Concepts: The Film Lab is open to all genres. Our emphasis is on creativity and originality. Participants must be prepared to demonstrate their capacity to both conceptualize and execute their prospective projects.

Submission Materials:
o Completed application, including a logline and brief description of a concept for an original television project
o Completed NBCUniversal Policy Concerning Submission of Ideas and Other Material and Agreement Including Arbitration Provision
o Short film/visual presentation with a duration of up to 10 minutes

Standard Fee: Free