Andrew Solomon (pictured), head of natural history and science for Austrian public broadcaster ORF, talks to realscreen about his programming needs, as part of an ongoing series of previews for our second annual Radarscreen Global Pitch Guide.
WHAT HE’S LOOKING FOR:
February of this year saw British native Andrew Solomon replacing long-serving commissioner Walter Koelher at Austrian public broadcaster ORF as head of the Universum slot, which airs wildlife, natural history and some science programming, following the departure of Koelher and his team last December.
“Universum has a family audience and a more mature demographic which appreciates and expects very high production values in blue chip, story-telling natural history, popular science and archaeology docs,” Solomon explains. “Budgets range from €300,000 [US$430,000] per hour upwards. Universum works best with single hours or, rarely, limited series – up to five episodes.”
Solomon says projects pitched should feature “high production values, fabulous pictures, strong storytelling, a touch of humor and an element of surprise, with something for viewers to take away.” Docs should also be “challenging enough to make the audience feel [more] intelligent.”
He is not on the hunt for reportage or magazine items, he says, adding that pitchers “should ensure that pitches describe the film, rather than the theme.”
HOW TO PITCH:
Solomon says the first port of call should be to contact Birgit Weber, departmental assistant for Universum, via Birgit.firstname.lastname@example.org. Pitchers should send one-pagers or five- to six-page proposals, and Solomon says DVDs or downloadable trailers are welcome.
“The pitch does not have to come through [an] agent or lawyer, and [there is] no online pitching resource,” he adds. “Please include a finance plan and existing broadcaster participation.” One more tip from Solomon: “Check that [your] contact details are on the proposal!”
WHERE TO FIND HIM:
As for in-person at markets, Solomon says his key events are MIPTV, MIPCOM, Sunny Side of the Doc, Jackson Hole, Wildscreen and the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers (WCSFP).