Note: John Kuyk, Founder, President and Executive Producer of CMJ Productions II Inc. offers his company over fifteen years of experience and expertise in both the Canadian and international media industries. He is responsible for hit programs like Risk Takers, Accident Investigators, Stunt Stars and many more. John recently answered CableU's 10 producer perspective questions. The results are below. A more detailed bio is included after the interview as well.
1. Where do you find inspiration for a new show idea?
Great ideas are around us everywhere, so I get inspired by looking at things with a fresh perspective. Rather than addressing the world in black and white terms, I search out areas of grey. I’m curious to find the answers to questions that aren’t easily answered, and in the process often uncover surprising new show ideas.
2. What research do you do before going into a pitching session?
I believe it’s important to do extensive research of your ideas before pitching them. You need to confirm your idea will in play out well on TV; there are a lot of great ideas out there that just doesn’t translate well onto the visual medium of television. Your research should also enable you to answer any and all questions a broadcaster may ask you in your pitching session.
3. What advise do you have for upstart producers trying to get their foot in the door?
In today's economic climate, I understand why broadcasters are hesitant to get involved with new producers. They need to know who they’re getting involved with. So for a upstart producers, not matter how great their ideas or how enthusiastic they may be, I recommend they invest in producing a pilot for their work, some sort of tangible proof of their ability to produce solid programming.
4. What show do you wish you had produced and why?
Intervention. The format style is distinctive, and the show’s attention to each character’s personal life keeps the topic of substance abuse fresh.
5. What types of shows do you think are most in demand now?
I feel docu-dramas are increasingly popular because they enable audiences to connect with the key characters in a very short time, creating an almost instantaneous curiosity for the extraordinary worlds they live in.
6. What types of programs do you wish were in demand now? (or think should be)
Sailing programs..I’m a huge enthusiast!
7. What types of projects interest you most and why?
Documentaries. For us, telling true-life stories in a solid, credible way, allows us to both entertain and enlighten audiences. We feel we’re making a positive difference in people’s lives by encouraging them to think about themselves in relation to the worlds we expose in our programming.
8. How important do you think it is for your show idea to have an online component?
Very important. I think this direction is inevitable. It is important that the online component is not just a website alone. It needs to generate buzz, and drive additional audiences.
9. Where does most of your budget funding come from, if not from the network?
We, in almost all cases, get our complete budget funding from one, or multiple, networks.
10. How often do you attend industry conferences and festivals, and which are most important for your business?
I would say I attend 5-6 industry conferences a year, with Realscreen being the most relevant to our area of production, and internationally MIPTV and MIPCOM.
Full Bio: John Kuyk, Founder, President and Executive Producer of CMJ Productions II Inc. offers his company over fifteen years of experience and expertise in both the Canadian and international media industries.
In 1989, John founded his first media enterprise, the successful outdoor magazine Expédition Plein Air, which he ran for over five years. During this time, and due to his great love and knowledge of the outdoors, John was invited to speak regularly as an outdoor activities specialist on various Quebec radio stations such as: CKVL, CKAC and Radio-Canada, where John soon became a weekly guest for over four years. In 1992, John entered into the world of television and began making appearances on popular programs such as Entre Vous Et Moi, acting as a recognized spokesman on outdoor activities for this show and numerous others. Throughout his work in front of the camera, John’s interest for television production grew immensely. Soon after John founded the television station, Réseau de Télévision Médicale (RTM) which worked in alliance with Canada’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) requirements, to offer Canadian doctors the opportunity to gain the compulsory CME credits they needed by watching the station’s various programs. RTM was recognized and approved by both the Fédération Des Médecins Omnipraticiens de Québec (FMOQ) and Université de Montréal, leading John to take his revolutionary television concept overseas to Paris, France. In 1995, John began acting as a lead consultant to numerous Quebec television stations, and soon became part of the team that founded both Canal Vie and Z Télé. Both stations thrived under John’s guidance, and were later purchased by Astral Media and incorporated into their portfolio four and half years later.
In 2001, John’s entrepreneurial drive and initiative lead him to create his own independent production company, CMJ Productions I and II Inc. Specializing in high-definition (HD) "character-based" documentaries and magazine format programming, CMJ’s programming has been shot and viewed around the world. For over eight years, John has Executive Produced numerous successful series such as: Aerospace, Forensic Evidence, Beyond Belief, 10 Most Romantic Hideaways, Taste of the Country, Accident Investigator, Fear Fighters, Risk Takers, Stunt Stars, thirteen episodes of MonsterQuest as a co-production with Whitewolf Entertainment and most recently Regatta, Nerves of Steel and The Will: Families Divided which are all currently in production. CMJ’s programs have been sold and broadcast in over 15 countries across the world and have aired on leading international broadcasters including Discovery HD Theatre, Discovery Health US, History, Discovery Canada, Canal D, Global, E! Canada, Channel 4, Planete, France 3, ZDF, RTP, WLE, DR, Premier Mediem, RTBF, China TV, and Wowow.
CMJ continues to produce thought provoking and engaging series that explore subjects and matters impacting all of our lives.