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 expanded intern program, we are looking at the backgrounds and interests of the students and recent grads who help make the NYTVF run smoothly and keep the NYTVF staff on our toes. For the most recent of these interviews, we asked Zach Pughe-Sanford, a recent graduate of the University of Vermont, to tell us where he goes to watch great TV, what makes a successful pilot, and what he's up to next.
So, tell everyone a little bit about yourself. Where do you go to find great TV?
I recently graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in Film and Television Studies. While I’ve always been a little bit more of a film student (Welles, Friedkin, Kurosawa, and Fellini are some favorites) the past few years I’ve become increasingly drawn to some unbelievably intense and well written shows like Breaking Bad, Fargo, True Detective, The Americans, etc. I think that writers are currently doing an incredible job constructing story and character arcs that build with intensity every season, and I’m overwhelmingly happy to see the large success of a show like True Detective, where all eight episodes where helmed by one director (Cary Fukanaga).
To you, what makes a great television pilot?
I think that a great television pilot has to know its tone right off the bat and create characters that are both visually interesting and psychologically intriguing. By that I mean that the characters have to be multi-layered. I think that one of the best pilots I’ve seen recently that exhibits my point is Fargo. It’s an amazing pilot because we get to know Martin Freeman’s character as a sheltered, bullied, not-so-confident middle-aged man in the first half of the episode. However, in the second half, everything changes in ways that are very unexpected. When a pilot can do that, I’m totally in. It makes me want to keep watching. The tone was also very clear, and that helped a ton. I also think that a catchy theme song is also vitally important to a good pilot; it needs to get stuck in my head.
What's next for you? What are your goals?
I plan on becoming a feature film director. But I’m also currently working on developing two television shows with some friends of mine and am overwhelmingly excited about the potential that the internet has for the growth of television in the future. So, as long as there’s some kind of collaborative and creative work in my future, I’ll be happy!
What Zach's Reading:
Check out previous downloads here:
Insights from the intern bullpen - 8/6/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 7/30/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 7/24/14 | 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