Designed to sell reality programming to television, WESTDOC recently wrapped its fourth annual conference in Los Angeles. CMT’s Head of Development, Jayson Dinsmore, as well as Vice Presidents of Development Melanie Moreau and Julia Silverton, participated in multiple panels and pitch sessions, giving the network a notable presence during the three-day event.
As summed up in this LA Times recap, WESTDOC was created by producer Chuck Braverman and distributor Richard Propper to “fill a gap” in Los Angeles, noting there were big events on the East Coast and other cities, but nothing in their own backyard. More than 150 industry speakers participated in panels, case studies and one-on-one sessions covering such topics as financing, packaging and selling a documentary or reality TV special or series, as well as digital distribution models and online networks.
CMT’s Jayson Dinsmore sat on a panel entitled the “Arc of Reality” and discussed the state of reality television, past, current and future; noting the challenges and successes of re-developing a franchise series such as “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt.” Jayson also emphasized the network’s plan to grow the channel by developing a portfolio of successful shows, while continuing to generate shows that have repeatability and library value.
Meanwhile, Julia Silverton braved a “Face Time” session, in which she heard a multitude of one-on-one pitches. This experience afforded an invaluable opportunity for producers to meet with network executives who can then critique their ideas, while at the same time, giving networks the unique opportunity to meet a wide scope of production companies and creators.
Melanie Moreau participated in a 30-minute, small group discussion in which individual networks outline their specific needs for today and, more importantly, tomorrow. Melanie got the chance to impart upon a packed room, what CMT is looking for in characters, story and tone; and how producers can best deliver their pitches.
With WESTDOC completed for this year, CMT’s West Coast team will be joined by their East Coast counterparts, development execs Joe Livecchi and Jordan Harman as they prepare for REALSCREEN in Washington, D.C. in January 2014.