Newsletter 20 – June/July Special Edition
June was on FIRE.
June was so wild crazy busy that we didn’t have any time to talk about it until July. So here it is: Our special photo journey through the Banff World Media Festival and Realscreen West 2014. Enjoy the fireworks.
From the Frontlines: Banff World Media Festival
“It’s insane the people you have direct contact with here. And if you want to meet someone? Mark or Jeanne will introduce you.”
– Hit Maker Tour member and magician Drew Thomas
(In front of the Banff conference hotel location, and flaming his business cards above.)
Let’s meet a few of those people…
That’s Ben Silverman, center, former Chairman of NBC and current president of Electus (Fashion Star, etc.), meeting with Drew Thomas and Mark Simon.
truTV exec Adam Rosante (far right), listens to a pitch for a comedy reality show from Hit Maker Tour member Edlyn Lewis (far left). Rosante was very happy to take pitches from all our clients considering his boss, truTV president Chris Linn, was once hired and trained by Jeanne when he was starting his career at Nickelodeon.
Breakthrough Entertainment President Nat Abraham (black suit) and CFO Michael McGuigan (gray hair), take pitches from several of the Tour members in the spectacular fresh air of western Canada. Breakthrough made a deal with one of our client’s shows at the Kidscreen Summit just this past February. We’re looking for history to repeat itself!
Marblemedia Vice President Miklos Perlus (far left), listens intently to a pitch for a scripted drama from Hit Maker Tour member Andrew Swanson, far right.
Fresh TV President Tom McGillis (blue shirt center), gives Tour member Nick Cloete some great feedback on his animation series pitch.
Ciwen Kids Vice President Sean Chu (white shirt) meets with Tour members. China is a huge emerging market and Ciwen does co-productions with American producers and show creators. Mark has known him for many years. And Drew dazzled him with some live close up hand magic at the table.(really!)
Tour member Drew Thomas (doing a rope trick far right) had a spectacular conference, drawing interest for his magic lifestyle reality series from multiple studios and networks.
But let’s hear directly from him about the experience in the video below.
Channel Zero founder Romen Podzyhun (far left), listens to Tour member Andrew Swanson’s pitch. “The feedback from all my pitches at Banff has been 80-20 positive,” Swanson reports. Great score Andrew!
Just right click on the image to watch the video below.
But you also meet all kinds of people at Banff. For instance, Jeanne got up close and personal with Wolf Cop. She found his personality a bit 2-dimensional, though.
Not to be outdone, Mark asked SyFy network’s Helix star Kyra Zagorsky to help make his twin boys jealous. He might have gotten more than he expected
Mark also ran into Showtime’s Nurse Jackie showrunner Clyde Phillips. They are both survivors of working together on the Showtime series Dexter, about a serial killer cop who dissected criminals and dumped their body parts in Biscayne Bay for the sharks to eat.
We all need an immediate change of scenery to get over after that disturbing image in the video, so here’s a parting shot of Tour members before hiking through the spectacular Canadian Rockies, no posteriors exposed.
“Banff is the most fun conference we go to and the most beautiful location in the world!” – Mark
From the Frontlines: Realscreen West 2014
Realscreen West was held at the Loews in Santa Monica, California, and focused exclusively on non-fiction programming. Instead of the snow-capped Rockies, you had the white-tipped waves of the Pacific Ocean out your back window.
And there were plenty of execs fishing for new reality show ideas.
Discovery Studios Talent Development Producer Amberlee Mucha (right), met exclusively with Tour members at a closed door dinner. She explained how her company has a first look deal with the Discovery Channel. If Discovery passes she can then take projects anywhere (and has sold shows to MTV, VH1 and truTV, among others). She not only took pitches from all of our clients, but asked to see any sizzle reels they had, as well.
Jeanne also set up an exclusive meeting for Hit Maker Tour members with Beverly Hills Entertainment Attorney Larry Verbit (center). He explained how he works with independent producers and production companies to negotiate deals. Many of his clients later won awards for their shows this year at the conference show finale.
The biggest score for our Hit Maker Tour members was a meeting with truTV President, Chris Linn. He explained truTV just greenlit 13 shows and is going through a re-branding that will shuffle their slate for the fall and open up even greater opportunities for new shows. He was particularly attentive to our group because he got one of his first big breaks in the business when Jeanne hired and trained him at Nickelodeon. He later went on to work at Spike and MTV before coming to truTV.
Tour member Debbie Baldwin (far right) pitched Chris and received great notes from him that she incorporated into her follow-up pitch with another member of his team (Adam Rosante) at the Banff World Media Festival the following week.
“I was so impressed by the way our Hit Maker Tour clients took every opportunity to pitch their shows. They consistently ‘WOWED’ execs and the execs almost always asked to see their sizzle reels or read their scripts. Every one of them brilliantly implemented our training and they got results!”
– Jeanne on the HMT to Realscreen West
Cee Lo Green (second from right) appeared on a panel talking about the reality series he sold and is co-producing about his entourage. He revealed that, as co-producer, if something is caught on tape he doesn’t like, he has final cut to omit it – a rare power in reality television. Dierdre Gurney, to his right, is the producer of the big hit reality series Duck Dynasty. She revealed her production company was just scraping by when her husband remembered some interesting guys he went to high school with (who were preppy at the time). She resisted the idea at first, but then relented, and those preppy boys reverted back to their hillbilly roots to make Duck Dynasty the phenomenon it is today.
Jeanne scored two luncheon roundtable places with execs, including a terrific lunch meeting with an exec from Veria Living, which airs lifestyle reality shows about topics such as nutrition or yoga. But he confessed to Jeanne that they’re up to their crown points in yoga shows and aren’t looking for any more at this time.
Realscreen West’s finale awards show featured entertainment at the poolside from a lovely synchronized swimming team. We have no idea if this is an upcoming reality series, but we’re not optimistic. No one can hear you bitch fight like the Real Housewives when you’re under water.
Okay, this doesn’t have anything to do with the conference, but we had to get a shot of this panhandler practicing his unique type of yoga on the boardwalk outside the hotel. We tipped his jar, but didn’t have the heart to give him another important tip…
“Veria Living doesn’t want any more yoga shows!”
UPCOMING EVENT – HIT MAKER SUMMIT
Excited to take a crack at the big winter television conferences yourself? NATPE, Realscreen Summit and Kidscreen Summit? We don’t blame you.
We’ve got the perfect warm-up experience to fine-tune your project and your pitches in a 3-day boot camp running on August 24-26 in Orlando called the
Hit Maker Summit.
Fantastic industry speakers, breakout sessions, personal mentoring, pitch practicing. Everything you need to master your show in one event.
The best part is you can save BIG by registering on or before July 11th.
Guest speakers include Emmy-winning producer Bill Suchy, Mickey Mouse Club producer and former Showtime executive Kim Dawson, A-list screenwriter Wayne Carter and others.
We haven’t held a Summit in over three years and we don’t know when the schedule will permit the next one, so this is the time to get aboard, reserve one of the 50 limited slots available and work directly with us, our guest speakers and coaches, and have a spectacularly productive time in Orlando preparing you for YOUR next conference.
Here’s the link to find out everything you need to know about the Hit Maker Summit.
Click here for more info. www.HitMakerSummit.comOr call 407-351-0893 if you know all about it already and want aboard.
P.S. – Our big early bird discount for the event ends on July 11, so book soon. And remember, only 50 spots available.
“I realized that there is so much to this business and was enlightened to how much I needed to know. The Hit Maker’s Summit was filled with great information, wonderful contacts, and the making of new friends. It will WARP speed me to the next level.“
GREETINGS FROM COSTA RICA
You can’t have a June that busy and not need to find some time to decompress. We found the perfect place this summer staying at the Hilton on the west coast of Costa Rica.
The ultimate highlight of the trip may have been Luke’s big catch – an 8-foot Sailfish (below) … the dream of a lifetime for any true fisherman.
If YOU want to catch the BIG ONE, we suggest you join us at the Hit Maker Summit in August to prepare for the big winter TV conferences!