What are the limits of your role as a film/ TV producer?
My role as a producer is to champion and support creatives to help shepherd their projects so they can see the light of day and reach the masses. I try my best to provide guidance and push my partners to be their best selves. I never want to dictate or force an idea, but rather have a collaborative conversation using my industry knowledge to enhance a project’s ability to succeed.
How do you define the main silos in the business beyond studios/indies and streamers/broadcast TV?
The main silos in the business beyond those mentioned arenas now include podcasts and short form content focused platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Games from video games to board/card games are now areas where writers can look to option the project and build a creative world from that to generate content.
I see people now more eager to film a short for a feature they want to get set up. It’s used as a proof of concept to give a taste and potentially gain interest from financiers who want to then fund the larger movie.
At this point the industry is ever changing. I think the best attitude is to be flexible with where things could go and what the team can do to make noise to be seen and heard. There are traditional ways of doing things, but at one point, the idea of streaming seemed revolutionary and those who only thought broadcast was the way to go often rejected the notion that people would watch anything on their computer or phone.
The lengths of projects are less limiting these days, so comedies are no longer defined by being 30 mins and same with dramas. Streamers allow for ranges that are not as stringent as broadcast.
And with an open mindset taking a movie out could result in it being housed in more of a TV market. At the end of the day a great story and creative will find an audience so that should be the paramount focus.
What are the main issues you consider regarding the makability/ viability of a script?
I often find writers will generate a script that might be a fun idea, but ultimately unproducible. Too big of set pieces and enormous costs that would never make sense. I’ve read TV pilots that would ultimately need $100 million to get made.
Another issue I’ve come across is when something becomes successful some people think they should create something very similar to follow that trend, but then the marketplace will get saturated and that genre/subject matter will be the one buyers will immediately say they see too much of and want something fresh.
Where do you see currently the main opportunities for both emerging and experienced writers?
I encourage writers on both the more experienced and emerging side to focus on writing what they love because that can be felt when read. Just keep networking and putting yourself out there. The writer community is so supportive and wonderful so get yourself in a writer group.
Opportunities will come when the creative is exceptional
Follow writers on Twitter. Be vocal about your passion and enthusiasm. Be open to development and staffing. The industry is inherently tough, but don’t give up. One conversation can result in a lot, so be positive and driven by the love of writing. Producers really hate to hear “I don’t write for free,” so avoid leading with financial needs.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions writers have about the industry?
I hear people all the time say if you do this then it will sell. There are no guarantees in this industry. There is no algorithm to fill writing wise to confirm a path for success. Even having a huge piece of talent won’t get greenlit if the story isn’t great.
How much industry awareness should writers have?
It’s very helpful for writers to track what’s going on in the industry. To know what projects are getting bought and where trends are leaning so they can bring fresh content to the marketplace and know how to use those successful comps to aid in their pitch.
What’s the most effective way writers should pitch to you?
Make a connection. Producers don’t love feeling like you just see them as a way to make money. We work really hard and I fight more for the writers who I really love working with.
Connect as humans then talk business
Do you see any broad and creative industry trends now?
I see a lot of podcasts being turned into TV shows. That seems to be a strong trend right now. IP backed projects are very much top of mind for buyers.
What types of stories should writers steer clear from?
I never want writers to force themselves to write something just because they think it will sell. If you don’t love writing certain things then focus on what excites you. Don’t write a YA for example if your thought process is that a lot of YA is selling right now so I’ll have a better shot if I write in that space.
What recent film and TV projects are you most proud to have been associated with?
I have had the honor of being part of developing great amazing projects but the one I’m most proud of right now is The Cleaning Lady on Fox. I found that format and really pushed hard for others to believe in it as much as I did from the get go.
Do you have any final words of inspiration for writers?
It only takes one. One person. One company. One idea. And you can have a TV show greenlit and on the air. Stay the course. Keep writing and stay positive!