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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Response to AV Club's NYTVF Wrapup

I just read the Onion AV Club's wrap up article on the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) and thought I'd take a minute to respond. This is my third year as an attendee, and second as a competitor in the pilot competition (Man-Man in 2009, and for this year, Octane Pistols of Fury).

First, I very much appreciate the AV Club's coverage of the festival and their efforts to see and review all the pilots. As a first time attendee, Todd VanDerWerff offers several suggestions to improve the festival.

"1.) Don't schedule the event during premiere week."
I think the point of this is that many industry people are in town and can easily come by for a premiere or panel. And as a pilot maker, it's more about meeting these people than getting covered by journalists.

2.) Focus on the pilots.
Agreed, I would love to have my pilot shown more! I imagine there are logistical problems with more screenings, or more spread out screenings as you suggest.

3.) Don't accept pilots that are obviously just reheated Web material.
Obviously, as a web series producer, I wholeheartedly disagree. Web series are a huge part of the festival (there's even an award for the best one). Digital Day is an entire day of panels devoted to new media. We had several meeting with industry people who were primarily interested in the format.

“but there needs to be some sense that this is a TELEVISION festival and not a Web series festival “

I guess this is a semantic problem, but the fact is that the festival accepts old and new media formats. This will not change. Industry people are not anti-web series and that's what counts.

4.) Make the minimum length 11 minutes and the maximum length 60.
Mr. VanDerWerff tries to bump off web series by altering the length requirement. Man-Man, our pilot in the 2009 competition, was only 4 minutes long. While it was only a taste of the show, it lead to development meetings.

As for the maximum length, I'm not sure. I suppose it's possible someone's out there self producing an hour long procedural. From what I've heard at the festival chats and panels, the development folks prefer watching shorter material.

“5.) Offer press screenings or screeners for anyone who's willing to come to New York.
Sounds good to me!

“6.) Move to Los Angeles.”
“I'm actually only really half suggesting this one, since I'm sure if NYTVF takes off, L.A. will immediately copy it. “
Los Angeles already has the Independent Television Festival (ITVFest), which is in its fifth year.

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