This week I had the pleasure of attending the NYTVF. This is an awesome conference intended to help new television writers to get a foothold in the industry. They have several contests which result in meetings with producers and networks.
It is a conference that is very well-connected in the industry so the level of development executive producers and show runners was very high. I especially enjoyed hearing Kathleen McCaffrey of HBO share her wisdom as well as RJ Fried who is the show runner of Our Cartoon President.
Another great panel was The State of Comedy Today, and the four panelists, who had cut their teeth at Saturday Night Live, offered great insights into the state of comedy writing.
Terence Gray, the founder of the festival also moderated many of the panels. He was an excellent moderator, and very generous and guiding the Q&A sessions.
Here is some of the overall feedback given by executives about how to best present your material and get it sold.
1. Be professional, research submission guidelines, write a good cover email, and be on time.
2. Build relationships. To that end, have multiple projects and go for the general meeting rather than a pitch meeting.
3. Visual presentation materials are a key to getting a busy executive’s attention. Whether this is a trailer, sizzle reel, poster or a pilot, your goal is to get that executive to push your project to the head of the line.
4. Write the pilot and a few episodes. Increasingly, the more ready a project is to go, the better your chances.
5. Be patient. There is a tremendous amount of competition and so it takes time for people to weed through everything. But remember, cream rises to the top!
Pictured below at the conference is David Manstream, my business partner, and Casper Wong, NYWIFT Board Member.
Here’s to your successful writing!
Professor Marilyn Horowitz