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.
For our continuing Development Download series, Terence Gray sat down with the execs from Bento Box to discuss their current development strategies and the best way to get a second meeting:
What is Bento Box Entertainment’s core identity? How is it demonstrated in your current slate?
Bento Box Entertainment’s core identity is scripted comedy with a strong creator point of view. For our animated slate, we work with creators with unique comedic voices whose identities guide the tone of the show.
Do you have a target demographic? How is this reflected in your programming?
Our target demographic is 18-34. Treating animation as scripted comedy allows us to work with the best writers in the comedy space. We pride ourselves on making entertaining and funny content suitable for more than just our target audience.
Obviously Bento Box has carved out a strong niche in animated programming, with hits (both with critics and audiences) across the television landscape. At what stage does Bento Box enter into the development process? Are you creating projects to bring to market, or are you being tapped by networks looking for high quality animation and comedy?
Both. Bento Box Entertainment was built on producing high quality animation for major networks. In addition to this core business, we have broadened our scope to work with creators to develop and sell original content to the networks and direct to consumers on mobile and digital platforms, as well as virtual reality.
When you’re creating a series, does it start with the animator or the creator, or are those one in the same? What is the process like from the inception of an idea to its completion?
All of our shows start with a strong voice—that voice can come from a writer, an artist, a comedian, anyone with a strong creative point of view. The concept might start as a small description or piece of art that can be the anchor for the piece. Our job is to help develop the art, characters, and animated world surrounding that voice into a stand-out show. Our production process is dynamic and designed to service the unique needs of each show. All of our shows have a set pipeline and schedule; however, each show is staffed with a team specifically built for that show.
Bento Box was the first company to offer a development deal through the 2016 New York Television Festival. What are you looking for from this year’s crop of independent artists?
As with all of our shows, we are looking for creators with a strong comedic voice – the creators who have a passion for their concept and know the world they have built inside and out. Animation allows us to think outside the box with concepts and scenarios that aren’t possible in live-action worlds. We want talent that is creative, edgy, and downright funny.
What are some common mistakes made by producers when creating ideas for you? How can these mistakes be avoided?
Often times creators come to us with show concepts thinking we need to find “animation writers” to further develop the story. We are scripted comedy. We treat our story development and structure the same way a live-action scripted comedy would which is why we work with the top writers in scripted television comedy. Having said that, animated projects need a “reason” to be animated. We are looking for that hook that puts a particular project in an animated world.
What advice do you have for independent artists looking to develop new projects?/i>
Find a project you are passionate about and that you think is funny. The “voice” of a show that we often refer to comes from the creator behind the concept. That “voice” is the compass to navigating the world they’ve built, they know the characters, the world, and things that would and would not happen, that “voice” makes the show relatable and fun for our viewers.
What are you actively looking for in new content (format/genre/demographic)?
We are always looking for new content of all formats, however we focus on half hour series, short form digital series, and virtual reality projects. We generally stick to the comedy space targeting the 18-34 demographic.
Check out previous downloads here:
2016 truTV - Marissa Ronca | NYTVF Best Comedy Animals Heads to HBO | Q&A with the Jamz | Alumni Q&A (Richard Keith and Erin Cardillo) - 5/29/15 | Alumni Q&A (Damian Lanigan) - 5/29/15 | Chicago Comedy Panel - 5/18/15 | Big Laughs at Just For Laughs - 5/5/15 | Alumni Q&A (Whatever Linda) - 3/27/15 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 8/27/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 8/19/14 | 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