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ABOVE & BEYOND - One Guild—Many Helping Hands: Council Chairs Have Big Plans For The Future

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Although the PGA is considered One Guild—as all its members share the same benefits—it comprises three councils: the Producers Council (executive producers, producers, co-producers), AP Council (associate producers, production managers, production supervisors, segment/field/story producers, production coordinators, visual effects producers, post-production) and New Media Council (producers working in digital and storytelling platforms outside of traditional models). Councils have 24 delegates, each serving a three-year term. 

Every year, council delegates elect a Chair to set goals and represent their councils on the National Board. Produced By caught up with the 2019–2020 AP and New Media Chairs to learn more about them, what their councils are up to this year and how members can get involved.


Melissa Friedman, AP Council Chair

The AP Council is an important resource, one that is committed to fostering a strong sense of community within the council. As its chair, Melissa believes that delegates need to be a voice for council members. “It’s really important for us to hear from our members—what is being done right, what they would like to see done better and how we can help them. To that end, we are working on a member survey and plan on having a town hall and smaller group get-togethers. We are also connecting with PGA Committee Chairs to synergize our efforts and help them with their goals.” The AP Council collaborates with the New Media Council delegates to host the Committee Open House, which introduces members to ways they can get involved. They also oversee the Producing Team Mixer event the Thursday before the PGA Awards. This signature event is like no other at awards time as it brings together all members of the producing teams for PGA-nominated projects. Melissa says, “Because our council represents many members of the producing team, we feel it is important to highlight all their contributions.” Her personal goal is “to uplift and empower our members!”  

Before becoming Chair of the AP Council, Melissa served as Vice Chair for two years, and Secretary, and was also on the Board of Directors. In addition she writes Above and Beyond articles for Produced By magazine, co-chaired the Safety Task Force and has produced several events including Committee Open House and the Producing Team Mixer. “A great first step for new members is getting involved on a committee by helping at events and eventually running their own event or seminar,” she explains.

When not working on behalf of the Guild, Melissa is a supervising field producer on nonfiction television shows and was nominated for her first Daytime Emmy for a digital drama series this past year. “Being in the Guild has not only brought me work and connections, but also lifelong friends. I have a passion for protecting others working in nonfiction and would love to share ideas. The affable producer adds, “Also I am super entertaining and should have my own show!”


Jenni Ogden, New Media Council Chair

This year the New Media Council announced the new PGA Innovation Award, recognizing innovation in storytelling across platforms, from interactive television to VR, special venue, and various digital, mobile, immersive and interactive formats. It’s all about innovation, and producers have an amazing array of options for telling the stories that inspire them. The New Media Council has formed a task force to look at emerging formats and will be hosting ongoing events, discussions and an educational series around these new, disruptive technologies and production techniques. It will also continue its deep-dive educational series. As the council broadens its outreach to its membership, it is revising their Code of Credits. Jenni says, “If NMC members would like to get more involved, please reach out with ideas for education and events, volunteer, and give us feedback on how we might better serve you.” 

Jenni has been on the New Media Council board for four years, serving three years as Secretary and one year as Vice Chair before being elected to chair the committee. She is President and Executive Producer of Eye Q Productions, a  company specializing in immersive design, animation, 3D projection mapping for special venues, location-based entertainment, and projection design for live performances. 

The New Media Council represents producers in digital, short-form, animation and VFX, special venue, games and transmedia storytelling. Members are working in all digital formats, whether it’s experienced online, in a VR headset or in a venue. “The New Media Council has formed a collaborative relationship with the GSMA, which represents the mobile technology industry,” says Jenni. “We programmed a panel for their media and entertainment stage and led strategy roundtables around producing for mobile, international distribution and the future of entertainment in new and emerging technologies. Through this relationship we were able to offer PGA members free passes to the Mobile World Conference in Los Angeles in October. Watch for more great events and conversations with the GSMA around 5G and the future of producing.”

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