initiative to develop African Screenwriting Talent
April 2009
M-Net recently held a special 6-day Screenwriters’ Workshop in Nairobi which saw interested writers, producers and industry professionals from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda attending lectures and completing writing exercises as part of the channel’s ongoing commitment to fostering African filmmaking talent.
The workshop, hosted by Hollywood-based writer and director Professor Nathan Marshall covered both production and scripting elements. Professor Marshall’s background was in television production before he joined the California-based American Intercontinental University’s Media Production Department, lecturing in both hands-on production and theoretical aspects of television.
Over the course of the 6 days, the participants underwent training in the basics of television genre, plot mapping, writing structure, pitching for new shows, character development, the business side of TV writing, an introduction to production and hands-on experience in production and editing.
A major component of the course was the constant revision of the scripts the participants had originally submitted as part of the workshop application process, alongside a group-work exercise in developing a new show to demonstrate their understanding of concepts discussed during the course of the workshop.
Participants in the workshop included: Ugandans Lucy Judith Adong, Dilman Dila, Moses Serugo, Patricia Olwoch, Patrick Mangeni, Samuel Tebandeke and Tony Mushoborozi, Kenyans Anthony Thandi, Carole Keingati, Charles Ouda, Damaris Irungu, Mark Muhathi, Mona Ombogo-Scott, Natasha Likimani, Peter Kuria, Reuben Odanga, Serah Mwihaki and Victor Ogollah and Tanzanians Richard Magumba and George Tyson.
According to M-Net’s Africa Director Biola Adekanbi, M-Net is focused on showcasing and supporting African talent, whether on screen or behind the scenes.
“M-Net is, has always been and will remain, committed to working with local filmmakers in the interests of telling African stories and telling them well to African audiences. This time, we wanted to focus on scriptwriting, which is often at the very heart of production and where stories are profoundly shaped. We wish to thank the participants who were involved in the successful Nairobi workshop for taking this opportunity to share knowledge and to engage with one another and with M-Net.”
Entrance to the workshop was subject to strict criteria. Scriptwriters from the three countries submitted a copy of an unused, original television script, a synopsis, character bible, biography and proposal motivating their attendance at the workshop.
Their submissions were evaluated and 25 participants were selected to attend the all-expenses-paid workshop.
M-Net has long been involved in skills-sharing initiatives to aid in the development of the African film and television industries. In 2007 a contingent of Kenyan filmmakers participated in a trip to Lagos to share ideas and knowledge with Nigeria’s prolific Nollywood film making community.
In keeping with their African focus, M-Net audiences tuning in on DStv have grown familiar with seeing African programming on M-Net channels including the lifestyle program Studio 53, The Patricia Show from Kenya, Stand Up Uganda and many more.
M-Net channels available on DStv include – the flagship M-Net channel, M-Net Action, M-Net Series, M-Net Stars, AfricaMagic, AfricaMagic Plus, MagicWorld and Channel O.

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