The envelope please… The 2008 Realscreen Summit Pitch-It winner is JoAnne Liebeler of Minnesota-based Two by Four Productions. Liebeler is the recipient of a Realscreen Summit 2009 pass and a year-long CableU subscription thanks to a show she pitched that looks to resurrect the lost arts of style and grace, and is hosted by a certified manners expert.
Judges Dirk Hoogstra (The History Channel), Tabitha Jackson (Channel 4) and Bill Roberts (Voom HD Networks) had their hands full deliberating amongst the four pitches selected to go before the panel, but Liebeler’s pitch was a clear audience favorite, and won a polite nod from the judges. Good Manners, Good Taste hopes to resurrect the manners Liebeler says have ‘gone down the toilet.’ From the word go, she engaged the audience and judges, getting a show of hands for how many noticed cell phones being answered at a restaurant. That’s in bad taste, according to Liebeler.
Her video promo showed Good Manners host Kelly Ryan interacting with people on the street and displayed the relatable, informative style the program would have. ‘All the ideas have a lot of potential. JoAnne’s had the most commercial appeal,’ said Roberts. ‘[She had] audience participation, video – she got it right out of the box.’
For her part, Liebeler was thrilled to win Pitch-It. ‘Something like this gives creative validation to a passionate project,’ she says. She elaborated to say that ‘so many producers have what we think are brilliant ideas and when we take all of our energy and passion and execute them, sometimes they can fall flat. Sometimes it’s nice when it doesn’t fall flat or fail.’
Three other brave souls offered their ideas to the panel as well. Oneida, NY-based Change the Lens Productions’ Ramona Persaud pitched Making Change, a film she compares to Real World meets Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Her film follows five university students who are peaceful activists, from their idealistic beginnings to whatever successes they may have. Persaud has chosen a quick-paced style which includes a video diary element, and as of the Summit, she was 30% to 40% through filming, which will coincide with the end of the students’ first semester.
Another pitch was David Greener’s Life Force: The Counter Threat Group. The Toronto-based Conceptual Pictures project has special access to David Jones, CEO of the group comprised of former military officers and special agents who guard VIPs. C4′s Jackson was worried it would wind up being a show promoting the CTG, which Greener quickly argued was not the case. Hoogstra noted that since this wasn’t technically a crime show where at the end you get the bad guy, it would need to have fantastic characters with development.
Adriano Civita of São Paulo-based Prodigo Films pitched Sugar Men, about ethanol, one of Brazil’s biggest exports. Civita would tell the story of the people involved in the $7-billion industry of turning sugar cane into an alternative fuel. His presentation went point-by-point through the relevance, politics and cost of the topic. The judges were worried that there was too much information for the audiences to grasp.