×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ventana Sur: The Gersh Agency’s Roy Ashton Talks Pitching 101

BUENOS AIRES — Roy Ashton, responsible for packaging and selling projects to markets and operators such as Amazon for Hollywood’s The Gersh Agency, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about the process of pitching successfully to the U.S. market ahead of a script workshop he attended Tuesday afternoon.

Ashton emphasized the draw of storytelling on an international level. “It’s so important now to have a global perception when you are a writer or producer,” he remarked.

He added: “The TV community is becoming very small now because people from all over the world are getting shows, and you can make a show locally that can go around the world. It’s a very good time to be in this business,” he remarked.

The masterclass, How To Sell A TV Series, was part of the Ventana Sur Fiction Factory strand, held at the UCA campus in Buenos Aires on Tuesday morning. The event acted as a liaison between Ashton and established Latin American talent as well as those who had won contests through INCAA, Argentina’s film-TV board.

Ashton shared his insights into how writers can successfully market their ideas for television and deliver on expectations set by U.S. executives. Having a unique angle, a personal connection to the material, and the ability to be open to different directions the executives might suggest topped the list.

“The standard is higher now,” he said. “Writers need to have a personal connection to what they’re writing. It makes the buyer more comfortable that you can write this for seasons to come.”

Listing “Friends” and “Modern Family” as examples of exemplary television, Ashton also focused on the importance of strong character arcs and casting. “With ‘Friends,’ that show got just massive ratings, it was the last great show on American television from an overnight ratings standpoint, and it was those characters, you loved those characters,” he said.

Ashton went on to relay recent trends in the United States, to include strong family-driven shows like “This Is Us,” and female-focused scripts in the wake of the #MeToo movement, like “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

“They want to see something new, something different, that’s where you want to go,” he added.

When asked how a new writer might begin from scratch, Ashton advised, “one of the things that this organization does, you guys have government support which is fantastic because you can actually build something and that’s your calling card.”  He went on: “We have writers programs, the Nicholl Fellowship, enter all of those, reach out to producers, come to conferences like this. I’ve been in conferences where I pick up clients, keep knocking on the doors.”

More Film

  • 'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit On His

    'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit on his Socially-Minded Smash

    PARIS —  Far from a dumping ground, the months of January and February have become synonymous in France with the kinds of highly polished crowd-pleasing comedies that dominate the annual box-office. This year is no exception, only nestled among the likely blockbusters “Serial Bad Weddings 2” and “City Hunter” is Louis-Julien Petit’s socially minded dramedy [...]

  • "The Continent," directed by Chinese racer

    Alibaba Pictures Buys Into Chinese Director Han Han's Film Studio

    Alibaba Pictures has invested an undisclosed amount in Chinese celebrity blogger-turned film director Han Han’s Shanghai Tingdong Film, it confirmed to Variety Thursday. Han’s upcoming “Pegasus” is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Alibaba Pictures, part of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is now the second-largest stakeholder in Tingdong. It has a 13.1% stake, according [...]

  • Nicolas Philibert Talks Nursing Documentary 'Each

    Nicolas Philibert: 'A Director Driven To Make A Statement Cannot Make Cinema'

    PARIS  — For over two decades, French documentarian Nicolas Philibert has examined his country’s various public institutions with a watchmaker’s calm and anthropologist’s curiosity. In films like “To Be and To Have,” “La Maison de la Radio” and “Louvre City,” he’s taken his camera into schoolhouses, broadcast hubs and the world’s most famous museum. His [...]

  • 'Don't Come Back from the Moon'

    Film Review: 'Don't Come Back from the Moon'

    Cinematographer-turned-director Bruce Thierry Cheung offers an artful and affecting mix of harshly defined specifics and impressionistic storytelling in “Don’t Come Back from the Moon,” a cumulatively poignant drama about absent fathers and abandoned families in an economically devastated desert community. Structured more like a tone poem than a conventional narrative, it’s an elliptical memory play [...]

  • Carlos Almaraz Playing With Fire review

    Palm Springs Review: 'Carlos Almaraz: Playing With Fire'

    Though he passed away three decades ago, Carlos Almaraz’s reputation as a major American painter — which was just getting started when he died of AIDS in 1989 — promises to continue to gain traction with the years. Documentary tribute “Playing With Fire” by his fellow-artist widow Elsa Flores and Richard Montoya mostly transcends standard [...]

  • Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano's 'The Specials'

    Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano's 'The Specials' Already a Gaumont Sales Hit (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following the widely successful “C’est La Vie,” Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s (“The Intouchables”) passion project “The Specials” (“Hors normes”) starring Vincent Cassel and Reda Kateb, has already lured major buyers in key territories. Gaumont, which delivered the largest number of French B.O. hits overseas in 2018, has pre-sold “The Specials” to Germany, Austria (Prokino), [...]

  • The Realm review

    Palm Springs Review: 'The Realm'

    The notion that government is one big con directing money into already well-lined pockets is confirmed and then some in “The Realm.” Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s “Michael Clayton”-like thriller has struck a chord in Spain, where the persistence of corruption in the post-Franco era is a popular topic bordering on obsession. But are examples of corruption just [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content