Since Lambros Atteshlis launched UK indie Glasshead in 1994 it has focused on educational and science programs. After the success of what he calls its ‘shock-doc,’ My Monkey Baby – a doc about Americans who adopt monkeys as their surrogate children which was the focus of one of David Letterman’s top 10 lists – he is looking to make more projects around jaw-dropping subjects.
Over the past four years Glasshead has been looking to branch out of its educational programming mold. In December 2009 the company opened a Manchester office, at the encouragement of BBC and C4, and it already has two interactive projects underway – one for a polling site and the other to deliver math education using football. Atteshlis hopes his company’s strength in the interactive arena will give it a leg up. ‘Most indies in the UK are either interactive or TV production companies, so I’m hoping that since we’ve got strengths in both we’ll be taken seriously when it comes to 360,’ he says. ‘Every project we do, if it’s a TV project we think, ‘Is there something that can be done online for this apart from just a video?’ That’s where we’re going.’
Atteshlis came into this business in 1985 from his previous experience as a teacher in London. He saw an ad in the paper that the BBC was looking for a science producer and he said to himself, ‘I know quite a lot about science, why don’t I apply?’ He did and he got the job, with no previous production experience.
Since he launched Glasshead, the prodco has received two BAFTAs, an RTS and two British Interactive Media Association awards, and numerous nominations. The prodco still specializes in the education and science genres, creating content for Teachers TV, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Physics, as well as educational programs and websites for both the BBC and C4. But it is looking to broaden its horizons, moving further into the realm of the one-off docs it has created such as Stuttering School, a program airing on C4 in February about stutterers whose speech impediments are controlling their lives, and series such as Psychic Academy which it created for the Biography Channel.
Recently, Atteshlis took part in the UK’s National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts’ mentorship program, where he was paired with Wall to Wall’s CEO Alex Graham. Graham suggested the company branch out, also advising Atteshlis to attend television conferences such as the Realscreen Summit to meet new broadcasters and build new relationships, says Atteshlis.
This is Glasshead’s first year attending the Realscreen Summit, which will also be the first American television conference Atteshlis has attended. He says his goal is to get to know National Geographic, Discovery and anyone in the science arena, while also following up with TLC (who aired My Monkey Baby) to see if they would like to see more where that came from.
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