Interview with Anna Rohde-Seyfried

Anna Rohde-Seyfried, Creative Executive at Beta Film. Jury member of NEM Zagreb 2019 TV Writing Contest.

Why did you decide to join NEM Zagreb’s TV Writing Contest as a member of the main sponsors jury?

Since many years, Beta Film has been following the Eastern Europe creative landscape, partnering with Agenieszka Holland on HBO’s Burning Bush among many others. At this year, at the film festival in Sarajevo, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of very talented people and again was fascinated about the creative energy and the high quality of the projects that were presented there. So, I didn’t hesitate to join the jury of the TV Writing Contest when NEM reached out to us; I am very happy to have the chance to read all the pitches.

What are the most common themes among the applied script ideas?

Although the projects differ in genre and storytelling-approach most of the ideas deal with problems and conflicts of our daily life and the place of an individual, mostly female characters, in society itself. There are very strong characters, trying to handle family issues and conflicts that are rooted in the past of a wounded country – some of them doesn’t succeed. The tone of the pitches is often more dark than uplifting and the absence of humour is striking.

What would be your general advice for all NEM Zagreb’s TV Writing Contest applicants?

Continue writing! Make your story unique and personal and try to find the key to the topic. Storywriting is all about WHO, WHERE, WHAT but most importantly, WHY.

Is there a recipe on how to write a successful TV project?

Well – if there would be only one recipe, all projects would taste the same. That would be a shame, don’t you think? How do we define „success“ anyway? When we agree on the definition of a successful TV project that performs very well in its home country and travels well internationally because of its cultural impact, then it is mainly due to the fact that content and structure form an entity. This allows the international audience to identify with the characters and the story, no matter where or who they are.