A trip behind the scenes at the studios of the TV comedy hit, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, has been one of the lighter moments in an intensive tour of the USA last week by three Scottish independent TV production companies, who have been given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to commissioning editors from some of the biggest TV channels in the states.
The trio were among seven companies in the UK who won the chance to take part in a 12-month programme comprising bespoke seminars, meetings and foreign trips – with the aim of helping them develop a clearer understanding of the international TV market.
Now in its second year, the International Development Programme is organised by Glasgow-based TRC – formerly known as The Research Centre.
Says TRC: “In four days of intensive meetings, the participants will have had sessions with more than a dozen of the key executives from the major US broadcasters – including Discovery, National Geographic, HBO, MTV, A &E, Comedy Central and BBC America.”
Adds Agnes Wilkie, who leads the IDP: “To get this kind of access to the movers and shakers of the hugely competitive and lucrative US market is incredible. We are very excited at the real potential for doing some serious business.”
The three Scottish representatives were John Archer (of Hopscotch Films), Gavin Smith (of The Comedy Unit) and May Miller (of MMMedia).
Hopscotch’s credits include Detox or Die for BBC’s One Life strand and a recently completed feature film, The Sick House.
MMMedia is brand new company, May Miller’s credits when she was at BBC Scotland, until recently, including The Secret Map of Hollywood, Hollywood Greats and the arts series, The Culture Show.
The Comedy Unit’s credits include Still Game, Rab C. Nesbitt and Chewin’ the Fat. In August last year, it was bought by the RDF Media Group, but retains its independent identity.
The other companies on the programme were Belfast-based Stirling Film & TV, Manchester-based Turn on Television, Bristol-based Testimony Films, and Bath-based Touch Productions Ltd.
TRC is an independent charity working in partnership with international and UK broadcasters, producers and public agencies to provide high-end training, original research and business support to the ‘creative content’ industry.
The International Development Programme is sponsored by Channel 4, Scottish Enterprise, NIFTC, North West Vision and South West Screen.