Pitching Clinic - Sharing the broadcaster's views

By AMRITA VALECHA | 11 January, 2011 - 14:57

At the Pitching Clinic at Kre8tif we saw broadcasters from Cartoon Network, Disney Asia, Al Jazeera Children's Channel and Astro Ceria sharing their views on how a producer should pitch to the broadcaster, how each channel is unique in its own style and needs to be dealt differently. The session was moderated by Leah Hoyer. All the panelists were of the opinion to not to give up on your idea, always listen to feedback and know the channel's needs before pitching.

Talking about Al Jazeera Children's channel, Juhaida shared that the channel has all their programs in Arabic but they also accept pitches for English programs. "We believe in being involved from the early stage as we can also share our understanding of the content with the producer." She went on to share that one of the successful co-pro with a Malaysian company took only 15 mins. They were impressed with the theme of the project which was 'A shark going to land to eat chicken.' She said, "It can be only one line but it has to be unique. Most of the content developers tend to make the mistake of showcasing what they have done 10 years ago and how they have evolved with the project. It might dilute the content in front of the broadcaster." She also advices not to pitch half animation production work.

For JCC, the channel does not need high end 3D since their target audience is 3 to 6 years old, and having very high budgets is not possible. Juhaidah also shared that the time line of the project is agreed during the negotiation time.





Tracy Wong from Animax Asia shared her views on how the channel looks at content. She shared, "We look for noble ideas that relate to adults as well as children. It is very important to know the channel you are pitching to and watch the shows and understand what kind of content the channel airs before you get to go to the channel. Creating content for multi platform is Animax's concern and easy access to the content through different platform is essential and it comes from understanding your target." It is necessary to send someone to pitch who speaks with a lot of passion about the project. She said, "Be prepared for the questions by the broadcasters. I know a lot of people who put in a lot of efforts in their pitch in Hollywood and they do a lot of rehearsals." Tracy shares that for Animax, the visual style is really important in the pitch.

Silas Hickey from Turner shared about SNAPTOON which has been recently launched in Malaysia. He said, "In terms of slapsticks, we are looking for everything, broadly between 4 to 14. Most important thing for acquiring is the story which has to be character driven. We accept anything from sketches to animation, since we want to be involved in a very early stage to know what is good for us. The more animated you can be in narrating the idea is really good for the pitch. It is necessary to know whom you are pitching to.

Lynnette Ng from Disney Asia shared how having a distributor helps as the producer can concentrate on the development. She emphasized on how Pitching is actually an art which people have to learn. One needs to stop talking enough for the other person to talk and understand what is going on at the other end and guage that. She said, " It is ok to ask the channel what they are looking for and understand if your content fits in before you go about pitching."

Talking about having some of the Malaysian content on Disney, she said, "Our humor is more direct and Malaysians have that sensibility to develop it and the audience gets it here. At Disney we do a lot of research to know where all the viewers are coming from. We do testing on what is working and what is not working."

Representing Astro Ceria, Evon Koh shared that often the producers make the mistake of producing and developing content of what they like but not what the kids like. "Sometimes there is a disconnect on that line and not enough research on the project is done." Adds Evon.

Leah shared that, "We don't want someone to read the documents of the pitch. Know your concept very well. Disney is a very writer driven studio and most of the pitches are from artists. The industry certainly goes through changes and one should keep up to that. It obviously makes a difference of who is pitching as well. If you are the director of Simpsons or Family guy, yes it will be easier for you."

One of the questions which was raised was what would the channel prefer - 2D or 3D? All the panelists were in the agreement that the medium does not matter. Leah gave an example of how South Park is so famous and its not about high end production. The people who produced South Park would come every Tuesday with their script would develop the show in no time. This is because they have the advantage of the production.

It was also discussed that the channels which are globally present in different regions have different needs. The producers of the show need to be sure of regions they are targeting. Disney America is looking for boy content while Asia is very different.