Developing, Pitching, and Making Television
Television has a tremendous amount of variables given the multiple episode and multi-season format. When developing a television project, how long should your script be? What additional material do you need in order to pitch your project? What should go into your TV pitch bible? What should you have prepared if you’re on a Zoom pitch? And, once your show gets greenlit, what is the process like working with the buyer? We’ll bring in a variety of experts to talk about the entire process and what it’s like from the creative and buyer perspective.
Nathan Varni, Executive Director of Current Programming ABC/Disney
Kate Gill, SVP of Development for Paramount Television Studios
Leila Cohan, Emmy Award-nominated writer & producer (Bridgerton)
Richard Botto, CEO, Stage 32, writer & producer
Vijal Patel, Emmy Award-nominated writer & producer (Black-ish)
presented in partnership with Stage 32
Richard BottoFounder & CEO, Stage 32
Richard “RB” Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32, a working screenwriter, best-selling author, actor and producer. As the CEO of Stage 32, RB oversees the world’s largest online tech platform connecting and educating the global entertainment industry with over 1 million members in the community. Stage 32 is the education partner of Netflix, the American Film Market, Canon and the Cannes Film Festival Marche du Film. As a screenwriter, RB has sold feature screenplays and recently set up a television series he created at Amblin. As a producer, his films have played at dozens of festivals including Cannes, Sundance, SXSW and Raindance. As an actor, his latest film On the Corner of Ego and Desire recently premiered at the Raindance Film Festival. RB’s book Crowdsourcing For Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd, was published by Focal Press/Routledge under the American Film Market Presents banner and has hit #1 in 6 different film and business-related categories. The book can be found on Amazon and Audible, where it has garnered over 100 5-star reviews.
RB has been a keynote speaker and panelist all over the world at such festivals and conferences as the Cannes Film Festival (France), American Film Market (US), Tribeca Film Festival (US), Austin Film Festival (US), SXSW (US), Cinequest (US), Winston Baker (US), Hollyshorts Film Festival (US), Raindance Film Festival (UK), FOCUS (UK), Hamburg Film Fest (Germany), Trinidad & Tobago Film Commission (Trinidad), Fest Festival (Portugal), Black Nights Film Festival (Estonia), USC (US), Columbia University (US) and Harvard (US) on the business of the entertainment industry.
Leila CohanEmmy-nominated writer and producer (BRIDGERTON)
LEILA COHAN is an Emmy-nominated television and feature writer. Most recently, she served as Co-Executive Producer on forthcoming Netflix thriller THE PERFECT COUPLE. Previously, she’s written for SPECIAL (WB/Netflix) BRIDGERTON (Shondaland/Netflix), THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (Paramount/BET Plus), SANTA CLARITA DIET (Netflix), TELENOVELA (NBC), and AWKWARD (MTV). She’s developed pilots for Paramount, Hello Sunshine, The CW, YouTube Red, and the last days of ABC Family, as well features for Paramount, Picture Start and Lionsgate.
Vijal PatelEmmy Award-nominated writer & producer (Black-ish)
VIJAL PATEL is an Emmy-nominated and Peabody-winning Writer/Executive Producer known for telling critically acclaimed stories about identity, race, and family. He has worked on long-running hit series like Black-ish and The Middle, and has developed features for Dreamworks and Netflix including an animated Bollywood musical. He is currently showrunning his own comedy series, The Pradeeps of Pittsburgh, for Amazon/Freevee that explores the modern struggles of Indian immigrants.
Nathan VarniExecutive Director, Current Programming, ABC Entertainment Group/Disney
Nathan Varni is Executive Director, Current Programming, ABC Entertainment Group/Disney.
Mr. Varni oversees all creative and day-to-day management on ABC’s primetime series including Will Trent, Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, The Conners and General Hospital. In past seasons, Mr. Varni served as the covering executive on Alaska Daily, The Company You Keep, Rebel, The Baker and the Beauty, How to Get Away with Murder, Grand Hotel, Once Upon A Time, Scandal, Cristela, The Middle, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, the revival of Roseanne and also serves as the network/studio executive on ABC’s long-running daytime drama series, General Hospital, currently celebrating 60 years on-air, where he has oversaw 3000+ episodes of the series, including multiple Daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding daytime drama series. Mr. Varni joined ABC in comedy current programming working in development and current programming and worked on a vast number of both comedy and drama series including According to Jim, Samantha Who?, Better off Ted, Cougar Town, Castle, V, 666 Park Avenue and three seasons co-covering Happy Endings.
Prior to joining ABC, Mr. Varni worked in series development at Regency Television (Malcolm in the Middle, The Bernie Mac Show). While at Regency Mr. Varni assisted with the creative coverage of NBC’s Windfall and FOX’s New Amsterdam. Prior to his time at Regency TV, Mr. Varni worked in reality series as a story assistant for series such as America’s Next Top Model, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, High School Reunion, For Love or Money and The Next Great Champ. Game show experience includes working on 65 episodes of GSN’s Whammy! The All New Press Your Luck. Mr. Varni served as a production assistant and then Exec Producers assistant on the CBS sitcoms Listen Up and How I Met Your Mother.
Kate GillSVP of Development for Paramount Television Studios
Kate Gill is SVP of Development for Paramount Television Studios, where she oversaw the Paramount+ musical series Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies and shepherded the critically acclaimed limited series Station Eleven and half hour comedy Made For Love, both for HBOMax. Previously, she worked at YouTube Originals as the Development and Current executive for multiple series and pilots including the series Weird City and On Becoming A God In Central Florida. Before she worked for the streaming service, Gill worked with the late executive producer Jamie Tarses at her Sony-based POD FanFare and for the comedy company JASH heading up TV development. Gill graduated from Loyola Marymount University where she studied film production. She is a native of Carlsbad, California and lives in Los Angeles.