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The Star Writers Program is shaping the future of storytelling

Shaping the future of storytelling

A guiding principle for us is our belief in the power of storytelling and the transformative impact stories can have.

We see it at work every day, in the inspirational stories we uncover and share with our consumers, and in the heartfelt responses we receive from them. But a story is only as good as its writer. Despite going from one channel to over 800 within the span of a generation, the Indian television industry has no mentorship programs for its writers. In 2016, we decided to do something about it. We announced the Star Writers Program – an elite, six-month television writing course, with a two-year writing contract waiting for everyone who graduates.

“While television as a business has exploded, we have not been able to create centres of excellence where young people are able to learn from the best,” explains Gaurav Banerjee, President and Head of our Content Studio. “The Star Writers Program is a small step in that direction.”

The Star Writers Program’s aim is to grow world-class writers who will shape the future of storytelling in India, not just for us but eventually for the whole television industry. The first thing we did was to recruit David Freeman, who has taught key personnel at global film studios and television networks, as well as famous film and television writers, directors, and producers. His ‘Beyond Structure’ class teaches students over 200 different screenwriting techniques to make your characters and stories as engaging and thrilling as possible.

“David is funny, he can write, but more than anything else he's brought a certain amount of science into writing. He's mastered techniques and skills which will produce results. He’ll be sharing that knowledge with the writers, and we will help them adapt it to our sentiments, requirements and consumer tastes.”
Kankana Das, Human Resources

Along with David, we also created a rigorous screening process for writers to ensure that they have the right stuff. The first step was to complete two writing challenges on our website, one to test their ability to write a story, and the other to test their dialogue writing. In the one month that applications were open, we got 427 completed entries. “That was both a dream come true and our worst nightmare, because the reading time would take that much longer,” remembers Das. “David flipped out because he was going mad reading that much.”

On January 9th 2017, 19 people took their first steps towards becoming a part of the next wave of India’s top TV writers. As we move ahead, we hope that many more of you will join them.

David Freeman

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