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PGA on the Hill - May 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013   (0 Comments)
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PGA on the Hill is the Producers Guild contingent serving members in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware.  Below is the May2013 PGA on the Hill Newsletter

MAY 2013 - PGA On the Hill News
PGA On the Hill News

Spotlight: What? You Haven't Joined the PGA Yet?

What? You Haven't Joined the PGA Yet?Well now’s the time to do it (and get your colleagues, too).  In support of new and emerging chapters, the PGA Board of Directors voted last month to immediately reduce initiation dues for the National Capital and Atlanta chapters.  

The Producers Guild isn't just a gathering place for producers.  It’s a community!  With nearly 6000 members across the US, our network of interconnected committees, programs, and initiatives, are all designed to further the career prospects of members and promote the general welfare of the entertainment industry.

Our chapter draws its success from you.  

The more members we have, the more robust the chapter, and the more programming we can offer.  Take some time today to pass the word.

Let people know why the PGA is important to you and how they might benefit from becoming a member.

Here are our favorite reasons to join:
  • Access to the PGA Job Board and employment opportunities, including three annual Job Forums:  Episodic Television, Non-Fiction Television, and Motion Picture/Long-form Television.

  • Access to medical and dental coverage.

  • Access to the PGA’s members-only multi-tiered Mentoring Program.

  • Free DVD ”screeners” for awards consideration.

  • And so much more!

Ready to join?  Here’s how:


Producers Council


AP Council


New Media Council


App Fee*


App Fee*


App Fee*


(50% Off) Initiation Fee


(50% Off) Initiation Fee


(50% Off) Initiation Fee


Annual Dues


Annual Dues


Annual Dues


Total to Apply


Total to Apply


Total to Apply


* The application Fee is non-refundable.

Contact to get a special discount code!

Spotlight ELECTION: Meet Your Local Candidates

Election: Meet Your Local Candidates!It’s election season and two of our local members are on the ballot. Katy Jones Garrity has been nominated for the AP Council and Brian Savoie has been nominated for the New Media Council.

Make your vote count! The members you'll be voting for are responsible for setting the direction and policies of the PGA for the next two years.

- Electronic ballots will be issued online to all members in good standing on Tuesday, May 14

- Balloting closes on Friday, June 7

- The winners will be announced on Saturday, June 8 at the annual General Membership Meeting, which will lead into the first-night Networking Mixer at Produced By Conference 2013.

This year’s General Membership Meeting will be held on the New York Street at 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles.

The following are our local candidate statements and positions:

Katy Jones GarrityKaty Jones Garrity - AP Council:  Field, Story & Segment Producers

"As a member in the National Capital Chapter, I’m very excited to be a part of the movement bringing the Producers Guild to DC.

We represent a region rich in documentary output. As the DC chair of the Non-Fiction Committee, I create programs that connect the great non-fiction producers among our members.

Last year, I launched "INside:” a series of talks by non-fiction executives speaking directly to the PGA about what they are looking to commission.  

These talks help our members create more directed pitches, benefitting both the producer and the programmer.

This year, the breadth and depth of those "INsider” talks continues to expand while attendance grows.  It has become one of the primary and most talked about events of our community.  

I am excited to continue building the Producers Guild in DC, and to broaden our involvement within the larger PGA community.”

In my professional life, I have more than a decade working in non-fiction television. I have produced shoots for a range of content from documentary event series to reality shows.

I’ve field-directed shoots across the world: a helicopter over an erupting volcano, a collapsed mine site in the Atacama Desert, and the site of a murder in a small town.  

Now, working on the network side, I review story structure in the shows I help to manage, weighing in on pitches, show cuts, and reversions. I hope this variety of experience enables me to effectively represent Field, Story & Segment Producers.

Thank you for your consideration."

Brian SavoieBrian Savoie - New Media Council

" ‘The Medium is the Message’ – McLuhan’s prosaic phrase gets more convoluted when a new delivery platform is launched three or four times a year.

We do live in the best of times and the worst of times.  Audience fragmentation makes it harder for our distributors to build a mass audience for our stories, yet the number of people who want to distribute our stories is at an all time high.  

We can (and our kids do) start watching content on our big screen, shift to our smartphone while on public transport, and finish the content on our tablet during lunch.

In addition to being an award winning producer of educational media for broadcast, DVD, and web-based platforms, I spent the first part of my career working for National Association of Broadcasters advocating for issues critical to broadcasters.  I advocated on copyright issues and technical aspects of the transition to High Definition.

As one of the charter members of the National Capital chapter, I’ve had the pleasure to collaborate on building a start-up chapter.

I’m excited to bring this diverse background and skillset to the PGA New Media Council to advocate on behalf of our ever changing and emerging industry.”
Producers Guild of America-PGA On the Hill 

In This Issue

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PGA On the Hill
Capital Region
Producers Guild of America
Serving members in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware


Monday, May 20

7 pm

Regal Gallery Place
Washington, D.C.


Sat., June 8 - Sun., June 9
Produced By Conference

Los Angeles, Ca.

Wed., June 19 - Sun., June 23
PGA at AFI Docs

Stay tuned for more info on events during the week of AFI Docs

To reserve your free tickets(s) to the above screenings, please RSVP to the PGA National Capital Chapter at

As a courtesy to fellow members and guests, please cancel your reservation by email 24 hours in advance. Send it to

Member News

We Know Whodunnit!

Terry IrvingTerry Irving, 4 time Emmy winning Writer/Producer and an original PGA on the Hill member, is set to thrill in two new crime fiction novels.

Releasing this month, Courier (published by Exhibit A, a new imprint of Angry Robot) is the first of two novels Irving is signed on to pen.  Courier carries some true local flavor. 

The story is a breakneck-paced thriller centered on a motorcycle courier for one of Washington’s leading TV networks.

For more on Terry Irving go to:

Finkelpearl Aims High with ShootersTV

Mark FinkelpearlPGA member Mark Finkelpearl has joined Philadelphia-based ShootersTV as the Senior Vice President of Development and Production.

"I am thrilled to join this superb team at ShootersTV,” says Finkelpearl.  "Today’s media landscape is dynamic and ever-changing. With the company’s emphasis on platform-agnostic branded entertainment combined with their visual style and taste, ShootersTV is uniquely positioned to serve a host of clients.” 

Finkelpearl departs RLTV network, where he’s been VP of Development and Production. Prior, he developed and sold programming internationally for companies like Beyond Productions and Eyeworks Cuatro Cabezas, and spent seven-and-a-half years as a production executive at Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, and TLC, contributing to more than 800 hours of television.

At Discovery, Finkelpearl worked across genres and demographics and found a niche overseeing "big engine” character process series like AMERICAN CHOPPER. 

His biggest show has been TLC’s sleeper hit, DC CUPCAKES, which he co-created with Big Fish Entertainment.

Shooters has produced thousands of hours of TV with broadcast and cable networks since 1983, and found early success as the production company for MTV's first Live Aid in 1985.

With the launch of ShootersTV, Shooters expanded into the content development world in 2007 when they co-developed DINNER: IMPOSSIBLE one of the first reality shows on the Food Network, which evolved into RESTAURANT: IMPOSSIBLE which ShootersTV produces with Marc Summers.

INsider: How, Why and When You Should Get an Agent

Anyone who has been attending Realscreen or pitching in the Non-Fiction market recently has definitely noticed the change – there are fewer opportunities to pitch directly to the commissioners and fewer greenlights go to the independent producer. 

What does this mean for us as a producing community?  Do we need agents?  To answer this question, the PGA Non-Fiction Committee assembled a panel to hold a frank and open discussion about the direction of the industry and the place of agents within it.

Moderator Mark Finkelpearl, a PGA member and producer, began by relaying his experience bringing the show DC CUPCAKES to air.  He had his own representation as did the production company he choose to work with, Big Fish. 

As he says, "[The Owner] is my friend.  I want to have a beer with him, I don’t want to discuss business with him.”  

Using an agent to negotiate the deal helped him to preserve that relationship while assuring the best deal was made for all parties.  He also added, "Nobody thinks to themselves, ‘I am going to become a producer because I’m so good at math.’”

Using an agent helped keep the business affairs in the hands of someone who knew the ins and outs of striking a great deal.

One of the key advantages to using agents, is the ability to make a the best deal with an employer or production company, added panel member Beth Fraikorn, principal agent at boutique company Remarkable Content. 

Bring on the agent.  As she says "It’s okay for your employer to say to you, "Your agent is such a b@*!h! Better them say that about the agent than that they say that about you.” 

Lisa Zeff, agent for NS Beinstock said that going directly to the cable outlets might not be the best idea if you are an unknown or independent producer. 

One of the key things agents can help you with is finding a home for your project by creating "nesting deals.”  They package a producer with a production company that has the credits the broadcaster is looking for. 

This working relationship benefits the producer, by making sure they have an infrastructure that protects them, and the broadcaster who feels much more likely to give a greenlight to a company they’ve worked with before.

All on the panel encouraged producers to keep in mind that we are in a competitive business and the television executives have "quite a narrow window” of shows they are willing to greenlight.  Not every show does have a home. 

And your agent is responsible for being realistic with you about what you will and will not be able to sell.  As Ms. Fraikorn said, "We don’t want to waste your time.”  "We are here to put money in your pocket,” echoed Ms. Zeff.

One tidbit that sparked a lot of interest from the audience was learning that agents aren’t just for show ideas.  "We negotiate deals” for a living and that includes deals placing top-level Show Runners with projects that need their talents. 

Producers, executive producers, and show runners can all benefit from excellent representation when negotiating deals for their work.

Questions from the audience ranged from the basic, "What should we bring to you if we want an agent?” (answer: the same thing you’d want the broadcaster to see) to the specific, "How do we break into an the television market with an urban-themed idea?” (answer: keep in mind the budget, and market your charismatic talent effectively).

The evening wound to a late end as crowd stayed longer than originally billed due to the eagerness of question and answer period. 

It is likely that quite a few deals were struck by the end of the night!

Ask a Producer: Charlie Jordan Brookins

Charlie Jordan BrookinsAs Senior Vice President of Original Programming for both the BET and Centric networks, Charlie brings an impressive resume to the table. 

A 20-year veteran of both film and television production, she has worked with many of today’s top actors, actresses and directors. 

She brings a focused and passionate energy to her role, overseeing the creative direction of all original programming for the scripted, unscripted and movie components of both networks.  

Charlie received her B.S. in Radio-TV-Film from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA.

PGA: Tell me about the BET brand.

CJB: One of the things I love about working for BET is that we have a very clear brand and I think we are one of those rare networks whose audience has a greater connection to the actual brand than they do to the programming on the network.

Our audience has a unique history with the brand. Many grew up watching the network– it is a part of their DNA. Our current tag: "We Got You” is a perfect summary of that special connection.

We understand our audience and we have their backs. Several years ago we actually did some brand work, and the three words that ultimately define who BET is as a brand and also govern our programming decisions are: reflect, respect, elevate.

PGA: How has BET adapted to the shift from music video programming to more contemporary programming featuring original scripted and unscripted series?

CJB: The simple answer to that question is more programming dollars. But the reason why those programming dollars have been focused on a more diversified portfolio of programming is because that is what our audience wants from us.

BET invests a lot of time and resources into research. We understand our audience – not just the demographics, but the psychographics. We ask questions, we listen and respond.

They want programming that reflects their lives, respects who they are, and elevates the potential of who they can become.

Our audience is not monolithic. They have a discerning and varied palette that craves original programming - reality, scripted TV and movies. It is my job and the job of my staff to bring them the best in class television.

PGA: What do you look for in a program pitch?

CJB: Great stories (with organic conflict) from great storytellers; relatable and three-dimensional characters who our audience will want to welcome into their homes week after week; ideas that reflect, respect, elevate, and connect with our audience; ideas that are game-changing for us and couldn’t necessarily play on several networks; and -- in this day and age – ideas with multi-platform opportunities.

PGA: Describe your approach to production as an executive as opposed to when you were a producer.  

CJB: I think whether you are a producer or a network executive, your goal is always to produce the highest quality for the most economical price. To that end, I’m not sure if my approach has changed.

The difference is more in the area of scope. As an executive, I oversee a broad spectrum of projects – reality, scripted and movies.

And in that capacity, I don’t have the opportunity anymore to take a deep dive into every project we produce. I have a brilliant staff who partners with our fantastic production staff to get the job done, but I no longer can personally be a part of the day-to-day of every project.

PGA: Any advice for producers?

CJB: When you’re shopping projects, don’t open your traveling salesman suitcase of shows to a network.  Instead - pitch the 1-2 passion projects that must be done by that network or studio.

Passion sells. Don’t give up.

We’ve all heard the stories of projects that have taken ten years to get made – yours might just be that next great success story.

Produced on the Hill

  • There’s a new sequel to AFI’s premiere documentary film festival

AFI DocsAs it begins its second decade, AFI is rebranding the pivotal documentary festival SilverDocs.

Debuting June 19-23, AFI Docs presented by Audi will also expand into the nation’s capital with screenings at iconic venues in DC as a complement to the AFI Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland.

AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale characterized the move as a means to  "bring film artists to the forefront of a dialogue with our nation's leaders,” and praised new festival partner Audi’s commitment to the art of the moving image.

AFI Docs presented by Audi, recently announced it will launch it’s 11th year with the theatrical premiere of LETTERS TO JACKIE, written and directed by Oscar®-winning filmmaker Bill Couturié.  This year’s premiere will be held at the Newseum.

For more information visit


  • Baltimore-based HOUSE OF CARDS built like a Brick House

HOUSE OF CARDSDue in large part to their freshman scripted series HOUSE OF CARDS, Netflix has surpassed HBO as the leading subscriber network in the US, adding 3 million viewers this quarter. 

Netflix has a ways to go before catching up worldwide. HBO reports 114 million subscribers across the globe compared to 36 million Netflix viewers.  

When asked how much of an impact HOUSE OF CARDS had on their subscriber growth, Netflix replied, "We believe the value of our original series in driving acquisition and retention improvements will be borne out as we add more seasons of already popular shows like HOUSE OF CARDS and further series. Harry Potter was not a phenomenon in book one, compared to later books in the series."

In other words,  "We’re pretty happy with the show!”

And the online distributor is sure to see continued growth as May 26 marks the highly anticipated return of the hit series ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. 

It’s been seven years since the Bluths left the airwaves in 2006, when Fox declined to greenlight a fourth season. 

Netflix took up the challenge when they launched their original content division and stands to be a big winner with the new series as well.


  • VEEP Picked Up for Third Season

VEEPJust three weeks after the premiere of it’s second season, HBO has announced it’s renewing the laffer VEEP, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. 

Shot around D.C. and Baltimore, the series received a 10-episode order for it’s next season. 

The comedy has been doing well for HBO, scoring over a million viewers with each episode. 


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"PGA On the Hill News” is a publication from the PGA Capital Region.
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