JOHN ORLANDO, vice president of development at Crackle, where he reports to general manager Eric Berger, spoke with Next TV contributor Tobi Elkin about developing original content for the Sony Pictures Television-owned streaming service. An edited transcript follows.
Next TV: How would you describe your role? What is the most critical part of your role?
John Orlando: I’m the head of development at Crackle, Sony Pictures Television’s streaming television network, which means I’m the person that is tasked with finding and nurturing our original programming. I try to find the best ideas for our original series and films and, along with the production team and talent, develop them into the best shows they can be. As we build a new network with its own unique voice, the most critical part of my job is finding great ideas and worlds that other people aren’t tapped into.
NTV: What does a potential hit look like to you?
JO: Hits are shows that people love, not like. We hope our new shows premiering this fall, The Art of More and SuperMansion, look like hits because we love these shows and are betting on them. The Art of More, starring Dennis Quaid and Kate Bosworth, exposes the audience to the underbelly of the high-stakes auction world — a unique universe that has never been explored. We populate the world with fantastic, compelling characters that will make you want to stay in this exclusive realm. SuperMansion, executive-produced and voiced by Bryan Cranston, takes a very different approach. It’s a stop-motion animated series, from the best people in that business (Stoopid Buddy Stoodios), that lovingly lampoons the superhero genre in an outrageous fashion. You’ll love these characters as well. You can’t love a show without loving the characters and wanting to spend time with them.
NTV: When so many people are pitching ideas, can you boil down three things that must be there in order for you to even consider a project?
JO: No. 1: There needs to be a unique world, concept, characters, and voice. No. 2: Culturally relevant and current themes, stories, and subtexts. No. 3: Killer story and characters that will move an audience emotionally.
NTV: What makes the difference between something that’s in the consideration pile and something that’s actually greenlighted?
JO: Inspiration and elevation. The difference is between technically proficient ideas, writing, packaging and truly inspired and elevated ideas. We might “like” something that’s competently written and packaged and takes place in a relatively interesting world, but we will never “love” it. Something we love has more inspired, nuanced characters; elevated, thoughtful ideas; and makes you want to be immersed in the project.
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