- Written by: Super User
As all of you know, we’ve just recently announced the selections for the 2016 ITVFest. This year, we received more than 460 submissions – the most ever! After watching all of the submissions several times, I wanted to share with you some of the things that stood out.
Year after year, I continue to be amazed by the quality of the shows being submitted. For those that think you have to spend millions to create excellent episodic television - it’s just not true. Easily five percent of the shows submitted this year could be broadcast worldwide immediately by any existing network. Another 15% really stood out because of the quality of the production. The advent of high-quality, low-cost technology has leveled the playing field. Today, we are seeing TV pilots produced on $15,000 that are more entertaining and engaging than multi-million dollar shows on everyday TV.
After watching hundreds of indie pilots each year, certain trends begin to emerge among the content produced and submitted from all across the world. These trends often follow successful shows on network TV. For example, a year after the Walking Dead aired on AMC, there was an uptick in zombie shows submitted to the festival.
I would caution filmmakers to remember networks don’t want what they already have, they are looking for the next great thing. Selfishly, the most exciting part to me is being one of the first to discover a new show, something that no one else has seen before.
This year, the trend was "dry comedies" set in apartments. This led to a surge in submissions in the TV Short Comedy category this year. This category always receives the greatest number of submissions, probably because it is the simplest and cheapest to write and produce. This year, we received even more submissions. With only a certain number of screening slots available in that category, the competition for a slot was tough. We received fewer submissions in the TV Drama category but the quality of the shows was superb.
My biggest takeaway from this year’s submission process is how much independent TV is growing. There are many similarities to the way the indie film movement exploded in the 1960s and 1970s. We are seeing great growth in both the quality and quantity of shows coming in. Yet, similar to the indie film movement, TV creators are finding difficulty in breaking through the existing studio system. It’s leading to increased focus on self-distribution methods such as
YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat, and others. And the audience is following. As of today, more than 50,000,000 viewers having watched a small fraction of the shows that have come through ITVFest. That's a lot of eyeballs choosing to watch indie TV.