By peter katz, May 25th, 2010

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:

One off: http://www.atom.com/funny_videos/milk_men_trailer/

Web series: mlarky.atom.com

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peter katz is an award winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Peter has produced genre films that have screened all over the world from the AFI Fest to the Rome Film Festival. His first picture Home Sick starred Bill Moseley from The Devil's Rejects and Tom Towles from Henry Portrait Of A Serial Killer. Next Peter worked with Tobe Hooper (director of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist) on Mortuary, which premiered on the Sci Fi Channel. Most recently he was a producer on Pop Skull, a psychological ghost film, that has received great reviews in Variety and numerous film web sites. Currently, Peter is developing projects across various mediums including film, comics, and the web.

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