Producers Guild Closes 13th Annual Produced By Conference with Seth MacFarlane, Erica Huggins, Stephanie Allain, Mark Gill, Aaron Hart & More
PHOTOS: DAY 2 (June 12): CLICK HERE | DAY 1 (June 11): CLICK HERE
*Photo Credit: AP Images for the Producers Guild of America
LOS ANGELES, CA (June 12, 2022) – The Producers Guild of America (PGA) closed out the second and final day of the 13th Annual Produced By Conference where the industry’s leading creative voices united for stimulating conversations, mentorship and networking at the FOX Studio Lot. The action-packed weekend featured notable visionaries in film, television and new media including Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, Charles D. King, Eva Longoria, Seth MacFarlane, Chris Miller, Dan Lin, Betsy Beers, Peter Friedlander, Yvette Nicole Brown, Erica Huggins, Stephanie Allain, Mark Gill and many more.
Day two of the Produced By Conference brought top producers and executives together to educate and mentor aspiring producers through panel discussions and interactive sessions to foster the next generation of creators. They discussed the most pressing topics facing entertainment and production including the future of the industry; strategies for creating compelling and successful content; groundbreaking innovations in production technology and more. Core practices that continue to drive both creative and business success for producers were also on center stage, reflected in conversations around pitching, packaging, leveraging IP, financing and more.
The PGA also debuted “Producers One-on-One,” a new program for PGA members that connects PGA members with an experienced producer for a one-on-one conversation to gain insightful advice about their current projects. Additionally, the 35 members of PGA Create - the Producers Guild’s program supporting emerging and mid-career creative producers from underrepresented backgrounds - came together for a day-long set of networking opportunities supported by the program’s lead sponsor, Google.
Day one brought a renewed energy from the industry’s leading creative voices about how to drive the industry forward and the lessons they learned from the pandemic. Panelists spoke frankly about the importance of embracing work-life balance, fostering collaboration, and promoting a culture of humanity and respect. Top TV and film buyers shared what they are looking for in a project and how to pitch; leading producers described how to expand access through the use of virtual production; storytellers discussed how they’re pushing forward inclusion and representation through their endeavors, and offered advice for producers navigating a rapidly changing industry landscape.
Day Two Highlights:
- Seth MacFarlane (Founder/CEO, Fuzzy Door) and Erica Huggins (President, Fuzzy Door) talked about a wide range of topics, including their current and upcoming projects such as the Ted adaptation for Peacock, their journey building their company Fuzzy Door, and how they approach development. Speaking about Ted, Seth shared, “I never really considered it before because I thought it would be too expensive. It was Peacock who proposed the idea and I was delighted they were considering it. For me, it’s exciting to do something that hasn’t been done before. I don’t think a TV show of a CGI character has been the main character of the show, so in many ways we’re breaking some new ground.”
- Speaking on the current state of producing and navigating industry changes since Fuzzy Door was founded in 1998, Seth stated, “On a broad sense, I see it as a golden era of programming and opportunities where you can sell to tons of platforms. There’s a lot of competition now, but there are a lot more platforms. It seems to be as ripe a landscape as it’s ever been.”
- Erica added, “It’s an interesting time for people who are entrepreneurial and have to be able to pivot with the changes happening from the buyers. It’s an exciting time to be a producer and any young producer should think of it as a good moment to think about how to create content.”
- The “IP IQ” panel moderated by IndieWire’s Anne Thompson delved into the exciting future of IP development, including sourcing stories from unlikely places such as TikTok, an Instagram post, a podcast, tweets, and beyond. Barry Jossen (President & Head of A+E Studios) said, “We look everywhere - podcasts, tv shows, books, articles - movies even become inspiration. Especially as content creation evolves - there’s TikTok, Snapchat - everything now is a form of filmmaking. For those of us who are filmmakers, we find inspiration everywhere.” Liz Hannah (Producer, The Girl from Plainville, The Post) added the importance of formulating a team to effectively make IP, “You don’t just want to blanket the world with IP - you want to come in with a strong perspective of how you’re going to tell the story. With The Dropout, the tone was an incredible balancing act - and I think that’s what’s unique about this is that you’re not just making IP to make IP but finding the right teams to bring the story to life.”
- “Pitch Perfect” returned this year with five pre-selected conference attendees pitching their film or TV idea for feedback to a panel of seasoned entertainment executives. Leading producers included Mike Farah (CEO, Funny Or Die), Lucy Fisher (President, Producers Guild of America; Partner, Red Wagon Entertainment), Jesse Collins (The New Edition Story, The Grammy Awards) and Mike Larocca (Co-Founder, Vice Chairman, Producer, AGBO). Mike Farah noted, “Comparisons in pitches are good, so you set everybody’s mindset of where you want your show to be, and give a sense of the tone you’re looking to compare to. Have an actor suggestion to lead with and give people a compass as they are listening to your presentation.” Mike Larocca stressed that pitchers should “know what your buyer is looking for going in and tweak it to them. Spend time doing research and how it fits a need for a studio or network.” Jesse’s advice is to “leave a pitch with questions at the end so it leaves you thinking.”
- The “Artificial Intelligence Demystified Sponsored by Microsoft and NVIDIA” panel dove into how AI is transforming film production pipelines. Joel Sloss (Sr. Program Manager, Microsoft Azure), Nikola Todorovic (Co-founder & CEO at Wonder Dynamics), and Rick Champagne (Global Media & Entertainment Industry Strategy and Marketing, NVIDIA) discussed how AI can offer opportunities for business efficiency as well as creativity, including how AI can speed up the post-production process and even visually restore old films. However, Rick stressed that “Humans still need to insert humanity into this process. AI has to be guided by humans. AI is a collaborator.”
- The speakers on the “Producing For Every Fandom Sponsored by IMAX” panel shared their strategies and insights for creating obsession-worthy films and TV that fans flock to, from existing franchises and IP to brand new worlds. Elizabeth Raposo (President, Outlier Society), Jason Sterman (Producer & Co-Founder/President of Supper Club) and Mo Rhim (Chief Strategy Officer, IMAX Corporation) talked about how to manage fan expectations and keep them engaged, with Elizabeth noting, “It’s a sacred relationship. The audience is king. It’s about listening to the feedback and continuing to listen while also making sure filmmakers are given the ability and space to tell a great story within that structure and on that canvas. It’s also about being educated and having your eyes open to praise and criticism.”
A full list of the conference speakers, panels and sponsors can be viewed here.
You can view archived video of select sessions from Day 1 on the PGA’s LinkedIn page here.
In addition to host sponsor FOX Studio Lot, conference sponsors included: Cadillac, the Official Vehicle; Delta, the Official Airline; A+E Studios; Astek; Batch & Bottle; BEN Group Inc.; CBC/Canada-Radio; Cast & Crew; Cinema Audio Society; Coca-Cola; DNEG; Don Francisco’s Coffee; Film in Georgia; First Entertainment Credit Union; GreenSlate; HCL America, Inc.; Heineken; Hollywood Commission; Honolulu Film Office; IMAX; Josh Cellars; Justin’s; Mananalu; Microsoft Azure; Motion Picture Sound Editors; National Geographic Documentary Films; NVIDIA; Produce Iowa; SAGindie; Siggi’s; and Sunset Studios.
The Produced By Conference 2022 team is Supervising Producer, Branden Chapman; Program Directors, Matt Ullian and Jane Sarkin (Boldface Partners); Sponsorship Director, Diane Salerno (Six Degrees Global); Marketing Consultant, Julie Giles (greenHAT digital); and the PGA’s PR agency of record, Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis.
To receive news and the latest programming updates for Produced By Conference 2022, please visit the Guild’s official website and follow its social media channels for the event:
ABOUT THE PRODUCERS GUILD OF AMERICA (PGA)
The Producers Guild of America is a nonprofit trade group that represents and promotes the interests of all members of the producing team in film, television and new media. The Producers Guild has more than 8,000 members who work together to protect and improve their careers, the industry and community by providing members with employment opportunities, seeking to expand health benefits, promoting fair and impartial standards for the awarding of producing credits, as well as other education and advocacy efforts such as encouraging sustainable production practices. For more information and the latest updates, please visit the Producers Guild of America website and follow on social media.
Matthew Lawrence, Alexandra Anderson, Pipere Boggio
Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis
Six Degrees Global