Success In The Age Of Digital Media with Kelly Hayes

An expert producer’s look at the past, present, and future of serial programming   Last week, I had the pleasure of talking with Kelly Hayes, a current Hollywood producer and Voyage team member, about what it’s like to work in all corners of the industry, and how the classic forms of development for network, cable, and film compare to the emerging market of digital streaming. This is the first of an ongoing series that asks our producers about their work in the entertainment industry so that YOU can learn from their wealth of experience! Hayes’ many credits have ranged from formats in scripted and reality television, film, and digital streaming series. Today, he has a lot of plates spinning in every market you can think of, with ongoing projects in half-hour comedy, hour-long drama, reality, and feature film. To say he’s got a bit of experience is an understatement. Although Hayes started his career in film, an economic downturn coupled with the WGA strike of 2008 served to destabilize the film industry, and prompted Hayes to look into other options. Television was his next best choice to keep following his passion—and it took some relearning to make it work.   Looking Ahead The biggest change to the process of development in film and television was the notion of planning much further ahead into the future of the project. “It’s ’where do I see this show at episode 100?’” says Hayes of the development process for the life of a series, “versus, ‘I have 90 minutes to tell my story and then it’s done.’” The core of making a great...

What do the Top 1% Know that You Don’t?

5 LASER-GUIDE BUSINESS TOOLS FOR SUCCESS Millions of people love movies and TV…hundreds of thousands want to generate work for the screen themselves.  But of those, only a few ever will. And the number of them who will end up with successful careers?  Well… Only about 10% of movies that make it into Sundance get distribution.  Only about 50% of screenwriters in the Writers Guild will earn any kind of money as writers, and of those, only about 1% will make over half a million dollars per year.    The statistics are daunting, but the real question is this: What are the 1% doing that you aren’t? The odds are just as bad for them as they are for everyone else, and yet somehow they convince others of their value, and you can bet that in 2012 they’ll be reaping bigger rewards today than ever.  What’s the secret sauce? Well, here’s my opinion-and this is from our observation of hundreds of our successful TV and Film clients over the last decade: Having a clear vision; a realistic plan; and the right habits to execute that plan day after day after day Success stems from consistent professionalism in a number of different ways, exhibited on a daily basis.  It’s about constantly planning, pushing forward, investing in yourself, thinking big when necessary, thinking to scale when necessary, taking action, and making ALL the right moves so that you deliver the goods and build upward momentum with every deadline, meeting, and screening. The truth of the industry is that it’s not about overnight success-because even when you get that, if you don’t handle...

Wait for the Networks to Come to You!

JUST KIDDING. THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS. There’s a reason why they say “There’s no time like the present.” The present is what determines and shapes what’s to come. So take action! If you think you’ve got something that connects with today’s audiences and trends, act on it! If not, demand and trends might change, your work might change, and you might change. Don’t assume opportunity will stay constant. Instead of waiting around for an opportunity to come along, create your own opportunities now. Many of us hold back for different reasons, and one of those involves fear and doubt. There’s the fear of rejection (“I’ve had so many doors slammed in my face, why bother knocking on another one?”). There’s the fear of being accepted and then having to follow up on a promising proposal (“What if I don’t have enough to back myself up? They’ll be disappointed!”). And then there’s the basic fear of the unknown (“What will happen to me if…?”). Let’s face it. You (and we) are not getting any younger, and you never know what life-altering changes may be waiting for you around the corner. The wants of the entertainment marketplace are constantly changing. Therefore, there really is no better time to break out of your shell of insecurity with an idea you can share with others who can help you turn your vision into something real. So write your idea and find your talent. Don’t forget to make a sizzle reel and a pitch book. Hit the print button. Compose an email. And send it out into the universe. You just never know....

Who Else Wants to Beat the Odds?

HOT PRODUCER REVEALS HOW HIS PROJECTS MOVE UP (WHEN EVERYBODY ELSE’S ARE GOING DOWN) Few industry professionals have better insight into the process of getting films greenlit than active producers. This month Nat Mundel welcomes Producer Monnie Wills to the Starbird. Wills is in the process of building on his already impressive list of credits, and just completed filming The Darkest Hour starring Emile Hirsch, produced at Regency and to be distributed by Summit Entertainment and 20th Century Fox later this year. In recent years, the industry has contracted, but many producers, like Wills, just won’t be stopped.  In this interview, Wills shares some of his most effective tools for keeping things moving forward. Archives October 2023 (1) April 2023 (1) January 2023 (1) December 2022 (1) October 2022 (1) June 2020 (1) April 2020 (1) February 2020 (1) January 2020 (1) October 2019 (1) August 2019 (1) June 2019 (1) January 2019 (1) April 2018 (1) March 2018 (1) February 2018 (1) January 2018 (1) December 2017 (1) November 2017 (1) October 2017 (2) July 2017 (4) April 2017 (1) February 2017 (1) January 2017 (1) December 2016 (1) November 2016 (1) October 2016 (1) September 2016 (2) June 2016 (1) May 2016 (1) April 2016 (1) February 2016 (3) January 2016 (1) December 2015 (2) November 2015 (1) October 2015 (2) September 2015 (2) August 2015 (2) July 2015 (1) June 2015 (1) April 2015 (1) March 2015 (1) February 2015 (2) January 2015 (3) December 2014 (2) October 2014 (1) September 2014 (3) August 2014 (3) June 2014 (2) May 2014 (5) April 2014 (3) February 2014 (1) January 2014 (1) December 2013 (1) April 2013 (1) December 2012 (1) July 2012 (1) April 2012 (2) March 2012 (2) December 2011 (1) November 2011 (3) October 2011 (4) September 2011 (5) August 2011 (3) May 2011 (2) April 2011 (1) March 2011 (2) November 2010 (2) August 2010 (1) June 2010 (1) March 2010 (1) October 2009 (1) September 2009 (2) CategoriesCategories Select Category Audience  (20) Blog post  (32) Book to...

Sometimes Those Who Can Do, Teach

An Interview with Story Expert Corey Mandell No other profession in the world insists upon perfect execution with one’s first assignment on the job. So why does screenwriting? Nat Mundel sits down with professional writer and UCLA film-script sage Corey Mandell to examine this and other questions. Welcome to the new issue of The Starbird. It explores the writing process, from the conceptual to the intuitive. Learn the common mistakes made due to over reliance on the calcified edicts of the blockbuster and hear how simple skill sets, diligently applied, will produce success. Archives October 2023 (1) April 2023 (1) January 2023 (1) December 2022 (1) October 2022 (1) June 2020 (1) April 2020 (1) February 2020 (1) January 2020 (1) October 2019 (1) August 2019 (1) June 2019 (1) January 2019 (1) April 2018 (1) March 2018 (1) February 2018 (1) January 2018 (1) December 2017 (1) November 2017 (1) October 2017 (2) July 2017 (4) April 2017 (1) February 2017 (1) January 2017 (1) December 2016 (1) November 2016 (1) October 2016 (1) September 2016 (2) June 2016 (1) May 2016 (1) April 2016 (1) February 2016 (3) January 2016 (1) December 2015 (2) November 2015 (1) October 2015 (2) September 2015 (2) August 2015 (2) July 2015 (1) June 2015 (1) April 2015 (1) March 2015 (1) February 2015 (2) January 2015 (3) December 2014 (2) October 2014 (1) September 2014 (3) August 2014 (3) June 2014 (2) May 2014 (5) April 2014 (3) February 2014 (1) January 2014 (1) December 2013 (1) April 2013 (1) December 2012 (1) July 2012 (1) April 2012 (2) March 2012 (2) December 2011 (1) November 2011 (3) October 2011 (4) September 2011 (5) August 2011 (3) May 2011 (2) April 2011 (1) March 2011 (2) November 2010 (2) August 2010 (1) June 2010 (1) March 2010 (1) October 2009 (1) September 2009 (2) CategoriesCategories Select Category Audience  (20) Blog post  (32) Book to Film  (20) Entertainment Business  (39) Font Page  (7) Pitching  (13) Presentations  (8) Producer Interviews  (10) Reality TV  (5) Screenwriting Tips  (11) The Expert Network  (13)...

A-List Creative Producer Seeks New Talent

The 3 Most Vital Aspects of Story from the woman who developed SALT — Voyage Team Member Kathleen McLaughlin. A phone rings in the middle of the night, and a movie is born. Such is the case when someone with an exceptional idea connects with the guiding hand of a veteran development expert. Meet Kathleen McLaughlin, a producer and development executive with over 15 years of experience in both studio and independent feature projects.  She helped Director Philip Noyce shepherd a midnight pitch into the Golden Globe-nominated film RABBITPROOF FENCE, she Co-Produced The Quiet American, and she developed The Saint, The Bone Collector and The Sum of All Fears.  She has worked with some of the top names in the business including Sydney Pollack, Anthony Minghella, Kurt Wimmer, Christopher Hampton, and she recently served as a creative consultant on SALT starring Angelina Jolie. She is now a member of the Voyage Development Team. “You just never know” McLaughlin muses, “The most interesting stories can come from the oddest places.” Throughout her career she has honored this belief to help some of the world’s leading directors bring their  visions to life. Whether she’s working on a large tent-pole franchise or a small indie, she focuses her attention on what she considers the three most vital aspects of screen story: 1.) Character Development – “Likeability can be a complex notion. It’s much more fluid than many people think. Heroes, if they’re just “heroic,” are not interesting.It’s the quirks and flaws that make them relatable and interesting.A classic example of this is Indiana Jones’s hatred of snakes.In a roomful of them, he’s uncharacteristically...

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