I had the pleasure of attending the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival last April. Their programming was a grab bag of high quality entertainment created by upcoming filmmakers, as well as some established industry vets. One highlight was the panel But I’m a CeWEBRITY: knowledgeable producers who specialize in turning successful web content into TV shows shared their insight. Before this event I thought webisodes were only pet projects or an extension of a larger story-not a TV show incubator. Below is an interview I did with panelist Tina Santomauro, Manager of Development/Executive Producer of Atom TV (Comedy Central) and The Atom Show (MTV2) for Atom.com.
What does your average day of work consist of?
For the most part, taking pitches, reading scripts, and strategic planning of the Atom TV show. Researching what videos are doing great online. Also, dealing with clearance paperwork and delivery of masters.
Since there are less barriers of entry for filmmakers getting their work seen, will talent trump film connections?
Absolutely. Especially when it comes to uploads. A part of Atom.com is dedicated to our user “tournament” where users can upload videos to win spots on television and cash prizes. And in the past, there have been comedy groups that uploaded to us we hadn’t heard of before, and then saw their work on there and wound up creating original deals with them.
What are the benefits/challenges of pitching and adapting a web series for TV?
The challenge is creating more depth within the plot and each character personality. Web video is fast paced, quick to the punch. When adapting it for TV, you need to build on that structure and deepen all aspects of it.
Among your content, which videos represent your taste in comedy?
There is a bunch, but 2 notable pieces for me are:
Web series: mlarky.atom.com
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