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Doc on the Box 2012



(Please note that the application deadline for this one-off scheme has passed)


RTÉ and Filmbase launch new video director initiative to mark RTÉ’s 50th anniversary celebration TV50

Have you a burning desire to direct an award-winning documentary like Spellbound, Hoop Dreams or Roger and Me? What about His & Hers, The Pipe or Pyjama Girls? Is there a story you’d like to tell on television about Ireland today and your generation’s place in it? Do you have an observational tale that viewers need to hear and see? Does that story reveal something original, layered and challenging about life in Ireland amid the country’s changing times?

To mark fifty years of television in Ireland, the RTÉ TV Documentary Unit and Filmbase have launched ‘Doc on the Box’: a forward-looking initiative designed to encourage a fresh, emerging voice in video documentary direction and production. The competition (open to over-eighteens) offers a single, three-month contract to one individual to produce, direct and deliver a 25-minute, original video documentary story that is aimed at a twenty-something audience for RTÉ prime-time television broadcast. The successful applicant will display a sense of directorial vision. They will also have DV or other camera experience as well as an understanding of video production: from prep to shoot, editing to delivery. The production will be mentored by an RTÉ Executive Producer.

‘Doc on the Box’ guidelines are available below or on

Guidelines - Introduction

To mark TV50 and beyond, RTÉ and Filmbase call on emerging, new video directors who have not had work broadcast on television to create an innovative short documentary for premiere on prime-time RTÉ TV.

To complement fifty years of Irish television, RTÉ’s ‘Doc on the Box’ looks forward by challenging new video directors to pitch for the opportunity to produce and direct a contemporary, topical and story-led video documentary that will capture a peak-time Irish audience in their twenties as well as online/social media. This RTÉ and Filmbase initiative aims to encourage fresh creativity while giving voice to new documentary talent in Ireland.

A single, twenty-five minute documentary suitable for prime-time television broadcast will be commissioned and mentored by an experienced RTÉ producer/director. The TV documentary idea must be original, layered and reflect experience of life in Ireland today. Potential directors must be able to display vision and ability. The chosen director will be paid twelve weeks of a flat fee to produce and direct the documentary in-house for RTÉ, within RTÉ budgets and facilities and under the mentorship of an RTÉ Executive Producer. The copyright of the documentary will remain with RTÉ.


  • Week of January 23rd 2012 – Launch of initiative
  • Saturday February 4, 2012: – Information Session at Filmbase
  • 5pm Friday, 2nd March 2012 – Submission Deadline
  • Week of April 9, 2012 (Easter Week) – Shortlist announced
  • Week of April 23, 2012 – Interviews for shortlisted applicants
  • Week of May 1, 2012 – Announce successful candidate
  • Beginning June to end August 2012 – Production of commissioned documentary
  • August 31 2012 – Delivery of commissioned documentary
  • Autumn / Winter 2012 – Broadcast of documentary if suitable


Applications must be received by hard copy (including any DVD) by 5pm on March 2, 2012.

Applications should be submitted to:

    Doc on the Box Filmbase Curved Street Temple Bar Dublin 2 Ireland

Applicants should not be currently employed or engaged by a television broadcaster and should not have had work (as a producer/director) previously broadcast on television.

See below for more details on the application process and to download the application form.

Assessment Criteria and Priorities

  • Story originality, topicality, and relevance both to Ireland today.
  • Story to engage a peak-time, twenty-something audience.
  • A sense of directorial vision, DV or other production, camera and editing experience as well as video project work.
  • Ability to deliver within budget and time frame.
  • Ability to work with an RTÉ executive producer and within RTÉ production requirements, budgets, timelines and editorial/production standards.

RTÉ production facilities to be used within the twelve-week production schedule including pre-production, DV or other shoot, edit (10 days), post production. The successful applicant will be engaged by RTÉ on a one-off, short-term, full-time, twelve-week contract, working in-house. A contracted fee of €6,000 will be paid in 12 x €500 weekly installments spread across the twelve weeks of production. The applicant will present appropriate documentation for tax compliance and be legally entitled and available to work in Ireland.

Application Process

  • Applications must be received no later than 5 pm on March 2, 2012.
  • Only hard copy and supporting material will be accepted. Show reels or sample work must be made accessible via DVD (3 copies). File-sharing websites like Youtube, Vimeo etc. may be additionally cited.
  • Maximum submissions by one individual: three story ideas entered separately.
  • Shortlisted applicants must be available for interview in April 2012.
  • Applications will be assessed in one round by a panel consisting of representatives from RTÉ, Filmbase and an external assessor/s successful in documentary production.
  • The administration of the scheme will be carried out by Filmbase on behalf of ourselves and RTÉ.
  • The application form can be downloaded HERE>
  • All applications must include three copies of the following:

    1. Completed application form with subject line ‘RTÉ Doc on the Box 2012’ 2. One paragraph synopsis 3. One page treatment 4. CV of director 5. Show reel if available 6. Written confirmation of provisional agreement to participate from key documentary subjects 7. Written confirmation of availability of director to attend for interview in April 2012.


Contractual Requirements

RTÉ funding of the successful applicant is subject to signed contract and to RTÉ Television’s standard terms and conditions. Ownership of copyright will be with RTÉ including unlimited broadcasts on all media. No previously broadcast, funded or other agency-sponsored projects will be considered. RTÉ shall have the option to commission spin-offs/follow-ups and the option to engage the director for other programmes. RTÉ retains all editorial control, including final sign-off and the decision whether to broadcast. Successful projects and applicants must acknowledge support of the financiers/mentors (RTÉ/Filmbase) in screen credits and all promotion. All obligations will be set out in final contract.

Delivery to RTÉ
  • 2 Digi Beta tapes delivered no later than August 31, 2012
  • All chain of title information and documentation, including music returns
  • Publicity stills
  • 3 viewing DVD’s
  • Full credits
Delivery to Filmbase
  • 2 Digi Beta’s delivered August 31, 2012
  • All chain of title information and documentation, including music returns
  • Publicity stills
  • 3 viewing DVD’s
  • Full credits

For more details on the scheme please contact Clare Creely at Filmbase on or 01 881 5102.