Advanced Television

Big Light Productions announces new apprenticeship recipient

December 13, 2022

Big Light Productions, the producer behind Leonardo and The Man in the High Castle led by award-winning writer/producer Frank Spotnitz, has announced the recipient of its annual writers’ apprenticeship programme.  Anna-Lena Theobald will join Big Light Productions for a three-month placement.

The apprenticeship programme, which provides emerging writers with hands-on practical experience in a writers’ room, collaborating on local and international projects and new series development, is now in its sixth year. The programme is aimed at aspiring screenwriters who have already made a considerable commitment to the development of their practice and would benefit from a placement alongside experienced drama executives.

Screenwriter/producer Anna-Lena Theobald, from Germany, was selected for the programme following completion of the prestigious Serial Eyes postgraduate television training programme for television writers and producers in Berlin, where Spotnitz is a founding tutor.

During the placement, Theobald will have the opportunity build on their craft and learn from Spotnitz (The Man In The High Castle, Leonardo, Medici, The X-Files), Creative Director Emily Feller (Leonardo, Medici, Trust Me, Ordinary Lies) and the wider Big Light team across a range of scripted television and podcast developments.

Theobald commented; “I’m very excited to join Big Light. I’ve always wanted to work internationally, to tell stories for a global audience. Big Light is an internationally renowned company, which creates world-class drama series. They are known for putting the writers’ vision first. Through the mentorship I have the chance to learn from prestigious TV writers and producers and to enhance my own vision as a screenwriter.”

Big Light’s Spotnitz and Feller said: “We’ve long held the belief that we should support emerging writers coming into this industry, and to be in our sixth year of supporting and nurturing new writers is a pleasure.  The last few years have seen an enormous uptick in productions coming from all corners of the world, and it is exciting to welcome new voices who will continue to contribute to the growth of the film and television industry.  Our apprenticeship programme is a chance for emerging writers to learn directly from experienced peers and hopefully put them on the track to becoming a successful and integral part of the industry for years to come. Anna-Lena is enormously talented, and we look forward to welcoming her into the Big Light team and working with her for the next few months.”

Katrin Merkel, Head of Studies at Serial Eyes, said; “Anna-Lena was an incredible addition to Serial Eyes and we are very happy to learn that she has been offered an internship at Big Light Productions, an opportunity that will no doubt allow her to develop and hone her skills as a writer. The partnership between Serial Eyes and Big Light has, over the past ten years, fostered Europe’s premier screenwriting talent and we are certain that this will continue. We wish Anna-Lena the very best for her time in London.”

Prior to joining the Serial Eyes programme, Theobald completed an MA in Philosophy at the Munich School of Philosophy and a Diploma in Producing from DFFB, the German Film and Television Academy Berlin.  She has worked on feature films and TV series from Germany, China, Canada and the US, and her credits include HBO’s The Tale (Postproduction Supervisor), Chinese Independent Film To Live To Sing (2nd Assistant Director), German TV-Movie Ein Leben Lang (Production Coordinator) and German Reality TV Show Berlin Tag Und Nacht (Casting Editor). She co-wrote and produced several award-winning short films, such as films Deus Ex Machina (2016), P (2017) and Q (2019). Currently, Theobald is developing her first TV show, titled TAMIM, as lead writer and showrunner, produced by Jana Lotze and Achtung Panda! and co-produced by SWR. In 2022, Anna-Lena served as TV jury president at the 35th Finale Pilsen Film Festival.

Serial Eyes is Europe’s premier postgraduate training programme for television writers and producers. The Berlin-based programme prepares the next generation of European TV writer-producers to bring first-class storytelling to television screens. With the writers’ room experience at the core of the programme, twelve participants are given the opportunity to learn from industry experts and develop a European model of show running.  Spotnitz has been tutoring at Serial Eyes since the programme started in 2013 and began the Big Light Productions apprenticeship programme six years ago as a way to deepen the company’s commitment to supporting upcoming writers.

Big Light Productions has since firmly established a reputation for supporting emerging writers through its apprenticeship programme.  Previous apprentices have gone on to enjoy success in the industry, with alumni creating and writing TV series and feature films in France, Germany and across Europe.

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