How to Develop, Pitch and Produce a Premium Unscripted Docuseries for a Streamer or Network

Hosted by Andrew Fried

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Andrew Fried

Webinar hosted by: Andrew Fried

President & Producer at Boardwalk (Netflix's Cheer, Chef's Table, The Goop Lab)

Andrew Fried is the Founder and President of Boardwalk Pictures, producers of premium non-fiction content for multiple networks and distributors, including Netflix, Showtime, Quibi, YouTube and many others. A recipient of multiple Emmy wins and nominations (including six nominations and three wins for breakout Netflix hit CHEER just this year), Fried and Boardwalk strive to elevate and expand the idea of documentary television across an ever-growing unscripted landscape. Boardwalk has been responsible for some of the most prestigious unscripted series of the last few years. CHEF'S TABLE, now in its 7th season, received 8 Emmy nominations, won 3 James Beard Awards and the IDA Award for Best Documentary Series. CHEER, also on Netflix, has proven to be one of the platform's biggest successes. Other huge commercial hits include Gwyneth Paltrow's THE GOOP LAB, 7 DAYS OUT, STREET FOOD and LAST CHANCE U (now in its 4th season), the Showtime series ACTION and YouTube’s BEST SHOT. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

It’s undeniable that we’re witnessing a new era of unscripted television. The staggering, cultural success of shows like TIGER KING, CHEER, I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK, and LAST CHANCE U signify in no uncertain terms that the appetite is huge for premium docuseries and will likely continue to be for at least the near future. The water is warm for premium docuseries, but that doesn’t mean someone can just put together their own unscripted series willy nilly. Finding a subject and crafting a format that will resonate with audiences and find success with a network is no small feat and requires a lot of hard work and an understanding of what makes this type of content successful.

In today’s rapidly evolving television landscape, one of the greatest challenges that producers face is how to develop series that will actually resonate in such an increasingly crowded space. Gone are the days of having an idea, putting a 3-page deck together and pitching it to 30 different networks in the hopes that several of them will make offers to further develop the series. Instead, the most effective way to produce a docu-series in today’s world is to secure many more parts of the package when bringing a new project to market. In a world of talent, access, format and projected story arc, the development of different types of shows require us to ask different questions of ourselves early on and throughout the development process. Doing this and working to stay ahead of the curve can very well situate you for success and put you on your way to produce your own premium docuseries.

Andrew Fried is the Founder and President of Boardwalk Pictures, producers of premium non-fiction content for multiple networks and distributors, including Netflix, Showtime, Quibi, YouTube and many others. A recipient of multiple Emmy wins and nominations (including six nominations and three wins for breakout Netflix hit CHEER just this year), Fried and Boardwalk strive to elevate and expand the idea of documentary television across an ever-growing unscripted landscape. Boardwalk has been responsible for some of the most prestigious unscripted series of the last few years. CHEF'S TABLE, now in its 7th season, received 8 Emmy nominations, won 3 James Beard Awards and the IDA Award for Best Documentary Series. CHEER, also on Netflix, has proven to be one of the platform's biggest successes. Other huge commercial hits include Gwyneth Paltrow's THE GOOP LAB, 7 DAYS OUT, STREET FOOD and LAST CHANCE U (now in its 4th season), the Showtime series ACTION and YouTube’s BEST SHOT.

Andrew will give you the tools to put together, pitch, and hopefully sell your own docuseries to a streamer or network. He will begin by giving you a general overview of unscripted programming, including the different types, where we see these shows, who potential buyers are and how the industry has grown and evolved recently. Next he will delve more closely into the different types of docuseries that people are currently watching. This includes anthology vs. arced stories, format vs. a documentary approach, and how this landscape will continue to evolve through time. Andrew will then use his own Circus Analogy to explain how we find story versus create story, and how that informs both casting and access. He will teach you how to create material that will sell. He’ll go over how to develop a deck and how to create a sizzle reel to better communicate your vision. He’ll even give you tips on how to put all of this together without breaking the bank. He will also show you how to avoid over-developing your idea while being sure not to under-develop it either. Next, Andrew will give you tips on navigating the “Hollywood” of it all. He’ll explain when celebrity attachments can help, how to package your project without cutting yourself out, and will outline the elements you need to actually get a green light. Andrew will then delve into how docuseries are developed and cast, and how these steps work. He’ll walk you through what a show bible looks like for a docuseries and when you actually get to make the thing. He will finally discuss the process in the field and in post to put everything together. By revealing how the industry works behind popular docuseries and walking you through the entire timeline of what putting together content like this looks like, Andrew will give you clear tools and a practical roadmap you can use to make your own docuseries a reality.

 

 

Praise for Andrew's Stage 32 Webinar

 

"Really really great info. As someone who has had success in pitching docuseries before Andrews's information was spot on and I still got new info and ideas out of it!"

-Matt R.

 

"Great presentation. One of my top 2 favorite Stage 32 webinars I have attended.

-Heather L.

 

"Truly a great overview on pitching and selling docuseries."

-Michael G.

 

"Clear, well organized and a pleasant approachable personality."

-Amita S.

What You'll Learn

  • A General Overview of Unscripted Programming
    • What are the different types of unscripted programming?
    • Where do we see these shows/who are potential buyers for them?
    • How has this side of the industry grown and evolved recently?
  • What Are Different Types of Docuseries and What Are People Watching?
    • Anthology vs. arced stories
    • Format vs. a more documentary approach
    • How does this landscape continue to evolve through time?
  • The Circus Analogy
    • How do we find story vs. how do we create story?
    • Casting
    • Access
  • Creating Materials That Sell
    • How to develop a deck
    • How to create a sizzle reel
    • How to do all of this while not breaking the bank
    • How to avoid over-developing your idea, while being sure to not under-develop it either
  • How to Navigate the “Hollywood” of it All
    • When celebrity attachments help
    • How to package your project without cutting yourself out
    • What are the elements you need to actually get a green light
  • Now What?
    • How development and casting steps generally work
    • What is a show bible?
    • When do we actually get to make this thing?
    • Discussion of process in the field and post
  • Q&A with Andrew

About Your Instructor

Andrew Fried is the Founder and President of Boardwalk Pictures, producers of premium non-fiction content for multiple networks and distributors, including Netflix, Showtime, Quibi, YouTube and many others. A recipient of multiple Emmy wins and nominations (including six nominations and three wins for breakout Netflix hit CHEER just this year), Fried and Boardwalk strive to elevate and expand the idea of documentary television across an ever-growing unscripted landscape. Boardwalk has been responsible for some of the most prestigious unscripted series of the last few years. CHEF'S TABLE, now in its 7th season, received 8 Emmy nominations, won 3 James Beard Awards and the IDA Award for Best Documentary Series. CHEER, also on Netflix, has proven to be one of the platform's biggest successes. Other huge commercial hits include Gwyneth Paltrow's THE GOOP LAB, 7 DAYS OUT, STREET FOOD and LAST CHANCE U (now in its 4th season), the Showtime series ACTION and YouTube’s BEST SHOT.

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A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

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A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

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A Vice President of Development at an A-List production company recently said,"Every studio executive is asking me for Rom Coms!" If you look at recent trends, it is clear they are on a come back. With the tremendous box office success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, BOOK CLUB and THE BIG SICK and the streaming successes of SET IT UP, SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER, and TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE, romantic comedies are making a huge comeback for all types of audiences. Variety called Rom-Com's the "Hottest genre". If you have been sitting on a Rom-Com script or been thinking about writing one, now's the time to learn about the current marketplace for romantic comedies. So how do you as a writer approach writing a Romantic Comedy without falling into the trap of tired cliches? Or, how do you take the storytelling conventions and turn them on their head?  Jason Mirch is a 10+ industry veteran who's worked in development on films for Image Nation such as THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, FLIGHT, CONTAGION, as well as in management, financing and producing. Jason is Stage 32's Director of Script Services and has helped dozens of writers in the Stage 32 community springboard their careers. He's the host of the Stage 32 Writers' Room which is a weekly online writers' group that meets online with writing challenges and one-on-one access to top industry professionals who serve as mentors and provide advice on the group's projects.  During this 90-minute look inside the Writers' Room Breakdown Webcast, Jason will go over the history of romantic comedy as well as the anatomy of a romantic comedy. He'll teach you the 7 essential story beats in a romantic comedy and you will learn to develop your romcom with a theme or dramatic question. Plus, Jason will break down scripts including WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, THE APARTMENT, KNOCKED UP, WHAT WOMEN WANT and more.  Jason will discuss what makes these projects work and how we can apply those same principles to our writing! Plus! Jason will be taking ANY of your writing questions! Like what you heard from Jason during this webcast? Send him your screenplay and speak with him privately for an hour by clicking here!     Praise for This Writers' Room Webcast "Thanks for this summary! Loved the rundown ad the clips!" - Bethany B. "Such an insightful breakdown, thanks so much." - Crispin "Jason, you always overdeliver! THANKS so much!" - Petula "This was an amazing breakdown. Wow." - Ricki L. "Great breakdown as always, Jason, with superb choice of clips." - Stephen P.

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