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.
Insights from the intern bullpen
As part of our expanding intern program, we are looking into the backgrounds of the students and recent grads who help make the NYTVF run smoothly and will make up the next generation of televisionaries. For the first of these interviews, we asked Emily Damron, a California native pursuing a master's degree at Columbia University in New York City, to take us through her educational background (things she learned both behind a desk and in front of a screen), what she looks for in a successful pilot, and where she sees herself in the ever-expanding TV universe.
What is your educational background, both in the classroom and on television?
One year ago, a few short months after graduating magna cum laude from the University of Colorado Boulder, I landed in New York City to pursue a master’s degree in Film Studies at Columbia University. My lifelong love affair with film has often been pushed aside to make room for my burgeoning obsession with television and media. As someone who grew up without cable television, procedural dramas have been a staple of my viewing practices for years. From all three installments of the CSI franchise, Castle, Bones, and more, I still indulge in the time-honored structure of these broadcast network successes. But now my television watching tends toward cable fare – with the exception of The Good Wife – as I tune-in weekly for Orphan Black,Sons of Anarchy, and Game of Thrones.
What makes a great television pilot (the first episode in the series)?
While my television preferences tend toward scripted dramas, the “perfect pilot” can be accomplished in any genre – including unscripted content. Setting is particularly significant in a pilot, as it can either be a fresh perspective on a constantly seen arena or a unique take on something not-often seen on TV. The pacing of scenes and movement of dialogue are also of the utmost importance in a pilot episode. The show’s structure should grab attention and hold that attention without seeming too sluggish or stunted. My own idea of a “perfect pilot” is encapsulated by The Good Wife premiere. Now there is a stunning opening sequence!
What are your career goals (near/long-term)?
With a background in critical film studies, I hope to move into a career involving critical film and television writing. With television delving into more “filmic” subject matter through shows like Fargo, the seeming divisions between film and television have dissolved somewhat. The ever-growing media landscape offers new pockets of delight for television lovers and film buffs alike.
What Emily's Reading:
TVLine’s “Ask Ausiello”
NY Mag’s Lilli Loofbourow: “Introducing TV’s Best Female Monster Yet”
Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich: “Community’ survives. Television dies?”
Check out previous downloads here:
Rory Covey of My Damn Channel's Honchos - 4/10/14 | Drama advice from Siobhan Byrne O'Connor - 4/3/14 | NYTVF Alum Danny Abrahms - 3/21/14 | Drama Advice - 3/13/14 | Advice from Chicago - 3/10/14 | Unscripted LA Panel - 2/25/14 | 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