The Inaugural Kaitz Talks
Carole Kirschner leads the audience in ways to use PR to engage your audience.
Alberto Marzan, CEO of AfroLife TV discusses the rise of streaming services and how it is fostering new creative voices.
Who Runs the World
The Hollywood Creative Forum 9.0 kicked off with a dynamic panel of women leaders entitled “Who Runs the World? Women Leading the Charge.” Moderated by Variety’s Maureen Ryan, the panel took a deep dive into how women are impacting the entertainment sector with the female leadership team from TV One. Panelists included Michelle Rice, General Manager D’Angela Proctor, SVP of Programming & Production; Tosha Whitten-Griggs, SVP of Public Relations; Robyn Greene Arrington, VP of Original Programming & Production; Karen Peterkin, Director Scripted Original Programming & Production; and Donyell McCullough, Senior Director, Casting & Talent Relations. This group of women leaders provided a front row seat when it comes to gender equality in film, television, and the board room.
Over the past five years, the network has ramped up its original programming, developing 33 original movies, 50 episodes of comedic programming and 120 hours of unscripted programming, including producing the NAACP Image Awards. Most important to the network is “looking for the stories no one else is telling,” says Peterkin. “We are not monolithic, and everyone is not necessarily telling our stories through our lens and most importantly any production we do has to pass the Kathy Hughes ‘smell test’,” she shared. Most recently the network aired “Behind the Movement,” a look at the 72 hours leading up to the Montgomery Bus Boycotts.
Rice offered that hiring more African-Americans and more people of color generally, as directors and writers, remove the bottlenecks and create programming which is representative of the broad embrace of America.
When you start to hire more directors of colors and your set looks more diverse, you effectively remove bottlenecks. “Before networks like ours, everyone else was telling our stories, not necessarily through our lens,” Rice offered.
TV One is also creating opportunities for those new voices. The TV ONE Screenplay Competition encourages the production of creative, contemporary, engaging and relatable screenplays that can be turned into original movies for television. Three finalists will receive roundtrips to the 22nd Annual American Black Film Festival in Miami, Florida, taking place June 13 – 17, 2018, from which one screenwriter is selected by TV One to receive $5,000 and the opportunity to have their screenplay produced for TV One. The winner will be announced at the ABFF Awards Presentation. The channel also accepts unsolicited works on their website.
The savvy women leaders also shared what was required personally to be successful in both business and life. Rice offered, “try everything, take detours, fail fast, regroup and have mentors and sponsors.” Peterkin offered, “run your own race, have your own tribe and pull that tribe together. Never take no for an answer.”
Variety’s Maureen Ryan moderated the panel with TV One execs: Michelle Rice, D’Angela Proctor, Tosha
Whitten-Griggs, Robyn Greene Arrington, Karen Peterkin and Donyell McCullough.
The Time is Now for Multi-Cultural Talent
As the keynote speaker at the Hollywood Creative Forum, Christy Haubegger of Creative Artist Agency (CAA) had three pieces of advice for those attending the Forum:
1. Do not doubt for a moment that what you do is unimportant;
2. There has never been a better time to be who you are than right this minute;
3. Be prepared for the day when your grandkids ask, “What was it like back when you were a minority and what did you do.”
The uber agent, who represents stars including Eva Longoria, Rosario Dawson, Andy Garcia, Shakira, and Jennifer Lopez has dedicated her career to keeping diversity front and center in the entertainment industry. Under Haubegger’s leadership some of CAA’s efforts include the Writers’ Boot Camp, a workshop to help foster young television writers, and CAA Amplify, a conference designed to bring together leaders from film, television, sports and technology to discuss diversity and inclusion. The first Amplify event was held 2017 with attendees including Ava DuVernay, J.J. Abrams, Kerry Washington and Stevie Wonder all gathered to discuss social issues of the day along with the impact and reach of diversity in and around the industry.
The Stanford grad says she has had one career focus throughout her life, “to tell our stories, and I want to do that in every medium.” Haubegger shared with the attendees that she was adopted by a white family and despite their constant reminders that she was beautiful and could do anything, she never saw that truth reflected back to her as she surveyed the media landscape. She offered “Chico and the Man,” “Charo” and “Westside Story” as the few examples of Latinos, like her, on the screen.
Haubegger, who holds a Law degree, first planned to be an immigration lawyer or public defender upon graduation, but instead founded Latina Magazine, then the only publication of its kind for bilingual, bicultural Hispanic women. “I’d flip through magazines and didn’t see myself and feel unattractive and left out,” see offered.
The Hollywood veteran shared ways that content creators in the room could stand out. She suggested that they attend diversity writing programs, produce digital shorts of their work and develop multiple pieces of writing to share. “Don’t turn up your nose at a young agent,” Haubegger shared. “They will work the hardest for you because they have something to prove as well.”