TV Insights, Observations and Obsessions from the NYTVF
Check out our Q&A series with Fest Founder Terence Gray (and others), 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.
Development Advice and Introspection from Unscripted Panel in LA
On February 20, the NYTVF hosted a panel in LA tackling unscripted development, with particular attention placed on comedic unscripted formats. NYTVF Founder Terence Gray sat down with Warner Bros' Adam Steinman, CAA Agent Matthew Horowitz, and NYTVF Alum and Unscripted Producer Nick Armstrong. Here are the highlights from the panel:
From Adam Steinman, Vice President, Non-Scripted International Development & Sales, Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP):
"Formats are television shows that are repeatable, have a fixed set of rules (a "bible"), and a trick or hook."
"Formats work across markets and across countries. Often, this includes making culturally sensitive changes. Don't be afraid to shake up your show for different audiences, but make sure you know what the essence of the show is and keep it intact."
"Great formats tap into the zeitgeist...they can give new twists on classic concepts."
On Making a Format:
- Give your show a clear and catchy title.
- Limit the full treatment to 2-3 pages and your show description to a short paragraph.
- Name check other shows – it's “this meets that... with a dash of this.”
- Be brief, simple, and concise. Have someone outside the process read your treatment and offer tips on cutting down language.
"We want formats to succeed and for the creators/producers to be involved as much as they want to be. If you want to be an [Executive Producer], we can work to make that happen... There has to be trust between executives and the artists – people value you as a creator."
From Matthew Horowitz, Agent at Creative Artists Agency (CAA):
On Getting Networks to Say Yes to a Series:
"If you can't get a show made in the US, look at international distribution and then show a successful track record for the show overseas. There's safety in the known."
"It seems counterintuitive, but partnering up with the right showrunner and producer can make you and your project even more valuable."
"It's great to have tape, and, at this point in time, you should be able to put something together, even with found footage."
"Having a working knowledge of the television landscape, actually watching TV, can only help you. Know what's on the air."
From Nick Armstrong, Comedian and NYTVF Alum, Unscripted Producer:
"Melding the world of comedy and the professional world of selling shows, it was a very worthwhile experience."
"Working with a larger production company has increased my knowledge of unscripted television development."
For more information on the panel, visit NYTVF's Twitter feed @nytvf. Also, for more information on comedy unscripted development, be sure to check out panelist Nick Armstrong's interview with the NYTVF. For upcoming events in the NYTVF calendar (including possible visits to a city near you), head over to the Attend Page.
Check out previous downloads here:
Drama Development - 2/20/14 | MSN Development - 2/12/14 | Casting - 2/5/14 | The Network Development Process - 1/29/14 | History Development - 1/15/14 | Comedy Formats - 3/18/13 | A&E Pipeline - 4/3/13| Fox Script Contest - 4/10/13 | From Film to TV - 5/17/13 | Lifetime Unscripted - 9/4/13