TV Insights, Observations and Obsessions from the NYTVF
We're introducing a new Q&A series, designed to provide submitting artists and TV fans with insight to the current development landscape. If you're thinking about submitting to the NYTVF, this is for you. Today, the beleaguered NYTVF staff sat down with Fest Founder and Executive Director, Terence Gray.
NYTVF STAFF: So, TG, you're our guy on the inside – any scoop from NYTVF Development Partners you can share with NYTVF creators?
TG: One thing I'm hearing over and over and over and over and over is comedic non-scripted. Everyone is looking to inject humor into the non-scripted space – and that makes me really excited for our community. The community that submits to us have always shown a particular strength in comedy and I think this trend represents a unique opportunity for those with a comedy voice to succeed.
NYTVF STAFF: Ok...break it down for us - what do you mean by “comedic non-scripted”?
TG: Three words: Bring. The. Funny. Whether it's a comedic format, like truTV's “Impractical Jokers,” or even “Pawn Stars,” on History or a more traditional docu-comedy, like A&E's “Duck Dynasty” - there's a real desire at the network level for more light-hearted fare. I think this is encouraging because we have so many comedy writers and performers that submit to us and each of those artists has been honing their comedic sensibility for years – if they merely shift that focus toward the non-scripted space, there are literally dozens of buyers eager for those concepts.
NYTVF STAFF: Let's pretend that we're idiots (we are). Can you give us a simple definition of what makes something a “format” versus a “docu-series”?
TG: Formats employ a simple formula, episode after episode, that is consistent – for example, in “Impractical Jokers,” each episode features a series of embarrassing challenges posed to each of the cast members, which they complete to the delight of their cast mates. There isn't necessarily a narrative thru-line for a season, so you could sit down and watch episode three and not be missing a chunk of narrative information that might hinder your ability to enjoy.
Docu-series, are just that – they document the lives of their subjects. We always hear from our network friends that they're looking for big characters – but I think now they're also giving license to the producers to find lovable characters. My sense, for what it's worth, is that the grittiness that was en vogue for while has worn off somewhat and we're now looking for people that we can laugh with. By no means should producers shy away from the crazy, after all, you want to draw an audience and entertain – but have fun.
NYTVF STAFF: [channeling NYTVF artists] OH MY GOD. I've been working on a scripted comedy for this year's IPC...should I jump ship on that project and throw my hat in the non-scripted ring?
TG: No, of course not. We already have eleven partners announced for 2013 and more to come – I promise you that there is absolutely room for all kinds of content in the Festival and I want you to make something you love and are passionate about. I also want creators to utilize the NYTVF as a tangible outlet to get their work noticed, and hopefully, make lots of sweet sweet TV money. In the supply/demand ecosystem that is television – there is, quite simply, a tremendous demand for this kind of content and I think that the thousands of genuinely funny people that submit to us each year should consider this as an ADDITIONAL option. You can always submit multiple projects.
NYTVF STAFF: Terence, thanks for the 411. We're pretty stoked for NYTVF 2013.
TG: As am I. Now get out of my office.