Tongal and Wattpad Join Forces with SYFY to Develop Digital Pilot for Viral Hit Expiration Date
Creators and Fans on Tongal to Bring Wattpad’s Online Phenomenon to Life for SYFY.com
Los Angeles, CA—July 10, 2018— Online creator network Tongal is joining forces with Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company for original stories, to launch “Story to Screen – A Digital Pilot Project” with SYFY, adapting Wattpad’s hit sci-fi thriller, Expiration Date for the screen. The joint venture kicks off today on the Tongal platform with a call for filmmakers to pitch how they would bring Expiration Date to life as a digital series at SYFY.com. The partnership is part of the SYFY WIRE Fan Creators initiative launching this month.
“The partnership between Tongal and Wattpad flips the script on Hollywood by changing the how and who of content creation through our open platforms for talent," said Tongal Co-Founder and President, James DeJulio. "These new global communities are made up of diverse and passionate creators, and now they're actually developing the shows they want to watch. I’m thrilled that SYFY.com has opened the door for this innovative, by the fans, for the fans shift."
Starting today, creators are invited to submit a treatment that captures what Expiration Date could look like as a digital series on SYFY.com, highlighting the action, thrill and mystery of the fictional world filled with betrayal. Three finalists will then receive funding to produce a proof of concept in the form of a series trailer, with Tongal, SYFY and Wattpad awarding one grand prize winner additional funding to create a digital pilot episode with the potential to go on to develop the entire series.
“Our creative alliance with Tongal and Wattpad is a natural extension of our SYFY WIRE Fan Creators initiative,” noted Alexandra Shapiro, executive vice president of marketing and digital for SYFY and USA Network. “It really marks the next phase of SYFY’s “It’s a Fan Thing” positioning and celebrates, nurtures and supports the makers, artists and creators at the heart of genre fandom. In addition to Expiration Date, Tongal will continue to work with SYFY to develop digital content that inspires and ignites fans and brings together the creator community.”
"Data and technology are helping entertainment evolve, creating new development opportunities for studios and creators,” said Aron Levitz, head of Wattpad Studios. “We’re tapping into a whole new world of fresh voices, empowering new types of storytellers and exciting new narratives. The model we’re creating, with partners like Tongal and SYFY, shows that an established and loyal fan base will follow a great story wherever it goes.”
Expiration Date was one of the most popular sci-fi stories on Wattpad in 2016 and 2017, with more than 16 million reads to date. Mikaela Bender’s sci-fi thriller Expiration Date takes place in a world where the date of one’s death is known by the mysterious Society. Centered on 19-year-old orphan Iris Levine, the story imagines a society in which citizens are marked with their “Expiration Date”— the day they are supposed to die— at birth. When Iris’s expiration date arrives, a mysterious man saves her from imminent death. Having survived her expiration date, Iris is now the Society’s biggest threat.
“I created Expiration Date with the support of millions of readers on Wattpad, who encouraged and celebrated the story as it took shape,” said Mikaela Bender, author of Expiration Date. “It’s been an amazing journey interacting with fans around the world on Wattpad, and now seeing the story find life on a whole new medium. I’m grateful to Wattpad, Tongal and SYFY for the opportunity to take Expiration Date beyond words on a page to life on the screen.”
For more information on the search for SYFY’s next viral, digital series, visit tongal.com/SYFYStoryToScreen.
Tongal has organized a new wave of talent for a new wave of channels. Powered by a global creative community and a proprietary technology platform, the company connects studios, networks and brands to creators around the world to develop video content and program every digital platform—from YouTube to SVOD. Tongal partners include National Geographic, LEGO, Mattel, Macy’s, NASA, Disney and NBCUniversal. The private company is headquartered in Santa Monica and is backed by Insight Venture Partners. More information can be found at www.tongal.com/business.
Wattpad’s vision is to entertain and connect the world through stories. The global multiplatform entertainment company uses the power of community and technology to enable the creation and distribution of content across a variety of formats. Its flagship app, Wattpad, is home to a community of more than 65 million people who spend over 20 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories. Tap by Wattpad, the company’s second storytelling product, offers short, chat-based stories in over a dozen languages. Wattpad Studios co-produces stories for film, television, digital and print, together with industry partners. Wattpad Brand Solutions offers a full suite of advertising products to help brands build deep engagement with Millennial and Gen Z consumers. The company is proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Learn more at: company.wattpad.com
SYFY is a global, multiplatform media brand that gives science fiction fans of all kinds a universe to call home. Celebrating the genre in all its forms, SYFY super-serves passionate fans with original science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and superhero programming, live event coverage and imaginative digital and social content. The brand is powered by SYFY WIRE (www.syfy.com), the premier portal for breaking genre news, insight and commentary. SYFY is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.