2CMedia's Chris Sloan spoke to CABLEU.tv on a break from shooting the company's new show Swamp Wars premiering on Animal Planet on June 12th. Chris describes his production company as boutique but they have done work for many big networks including CMT, Animal Planet, Planet Green, We-TV, and Travel Channel. In addition to television content the company works heavily in television promo production, marketing and design.
What are you working on right now?
Well right now I am surrounded by lots of wild animals while shooting a show for Animal Plant. It follows the Venom One team - Part of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue team-- as they fight to capture dangerous animals that come out of the Everglades and into suburbia. It's a pretty fascinating show in that these guys are really the only unit in the country that is funded by a city county that specializes in this type of thing. So we're busy and we're unique because in addition to original television programs we do a lot of high end television promos and graphic design for a lot of the major networks and we put a ton of effort into promoting shows even if they compete against our own programs. But I think because we know a lot about promotion we use a lot of this expertise when it comes to the pitching and promotion of our own show ideas.
Talk to us about how you started and what your original mission was for the company and whether that has changed?
It's interesting, I started on the other side, overseeing production at TLC and reality at USA and from this experience I knew how frustrating it could be as a buyer when you hear the same idea 12 or 13 times ... but then again imitation is a serious form of television. And it's no secret that when something works there are 10 variants of that. But what I thought was that we would be a little different; we would be curators, instead of doing massive amounts of projects we would be more focused on ideas we really believe in. And the idea has always been that from this buyers will see we are bringing them unique and interesting ideas. So, when it comes to our development, we try to stay focused.
We feel that in order to get buyers really passionate and excited about a project we also need to be really excited and passionate about it so that's why we put a lot of energy into everything we do ... but we try to make sure their is a marketplace for it as well and we try to make sure it's not "Ohh we keep hearing the same idea over and over again." Basically, we try to create a complete brand and idea so buyers look forward to us coming in. We don't want to waste their time. We try to come in and really solve a problem for them.
Can you talk a little about the type of research you do for your programs and how you come up with new program ideas?
Many networks are clients and because of the promo work we do, we already have a really good sense for what a good number of the network's current brand is all about. And we use resources like CABLEU. CABLEU is invaluable on both sides of the business actually ... before I go to New York or LA I stripmine CABLEU and really try to understand what my clients are looking for; What's their ratings progress? What's working and what's not? I'm all about trying to figure out what the network is looking for.
We want to make sure we're going in the right direction and CABLEU is very useful for that in terms of timely info on what's trending upward, or to answer questions about whether they are making adjustments to their brand. When we step into a meeting we always want to make sure we're speaking their language.
I don't think there is a science to great idea development but I do think being in Miami works to our advantage. Because we're outside NY and LA we're not always surrounded by the business ... we're not just talking to TV people all the time. None of our outside friends or family are really "in the biz" so we are interacting with a lot of different people. We feel like we have an outsider point of view because of this. Plus, we're also all very curious. I think this is important. We try to find things that are different than what you normally hear. We read everything, but a lot of it is that over time you build a lot of relationships and the most interesting things that we've worked on have actually come from these relationships we've formed.
Chris comes from an extensive background in television, marketing, promotion, production, and programming. In Promo/Marketing, he has served as the Creative Director at NBC, The NBC Agency and as a SVP/Creative Director at USA Broadcasting. In Programming he has worked as the SVP of Reality Programming at USA Network and the VP of Production at TLC Network.
His hard work has not gone unnoticed. Chris has been recognized many times as he is a multi-Emmy and PromaxBDA Award Winner. To view his award winning work please go to: www.2cmedia.com.