If the next three days of Westdoc 2013 are as productive as the opening Producer’s Master Class with Peter Hamilton and Ed Hersh, participants better exercise their note-taking skills.
Yesterday’s energetic and knowledgable presentation entitled, “The Key Success Factors in Nonfiction Programming,” dove into background research on the non-fiction landscape and immediately turned to a concise discussion about pitching – the how, when, where, what and why of it.
A surprise visitor, Executive Producer, Stephen Harris, drew on his experience as an executive with networks such as A&E and his current endeavor, WTF.com (“What the Funny”) to give us a back-room account of what happens at the networks. At one point, the light went off for many in the room as Stephen described the path a pitch takes from the time it is first launched in the executive’s office, to its incarnation through various departments until it is finally commissioned. We walked a few miles in the network shoes at that point.
The attendees came from countries as far as Taiwan, Russia, Germany and many regions in the United States. Attention never wavered for the three hours and during the brief break, energy was high as networking vibes took over.
Peter Hamilton comes to Westdoc with strong credentials on the business and production side of docs. His popular site, DocumentaryTelevision.com is to documentaries what Paul Kagan’s newsletter used to be for high-level theatrical and marketing researchers. Peter has an MBA from the Wharton School of Management, is a former CBS executive, author and industry consultant.
Ed Hersh is an award-winning producer, programmer and media executive with strong track record in strategic planning. He is the CEO of Story Centric, LLC, and has served successfully at such companies as Discovery, The Military Channel, Court TV and TLC. For more information visit StoryCentric.com
Wesdoc continues through Wednesday at the Landmark Theaters in Westwood, California. For more information visit Westdoc.com