Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Artists in Hollywood - Actors - Writers - Performers - Directors - Producers

Workshop: Sponsored by Women in Film

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM - The Directors Room

“How Do You Go from Idea to Pitch?”
1. Creation – You have a great idea; now what? How do you develop an idea into a project; what format to choose, what platform, where to find your audience? What is your long term plan for your project?

2. Building Traction – Before you go to the networks (or studios), how do you make your project stands out? Develop a marketing plan.  How can you get your content stand out?  Maximize social media exposure: develop followers/fan base on social media?

3. Pitching – How do you put all the chances on your side? How to make a successful pitch.  What are networks looking for?  What is going to make your content stands out from the others?

The Speakers

Mhairi Morrison, Creator of Feathers & Toast

Holly Payberg, Producer of Feathers & Toast

Leah Cevoli, Producer and Actor

Brittany Turner, Vice President of Digital Video at Adaptive Studios

Angela Wilson Gyetvan, Founder & President of Digital Whisper

Laura Fischer, Head of Production at Yahoo!

Melissa Schneider, SVP of Development & Production at New Form Digital, and

Ellen Pittleman, President, Hybrid Entertainment








Mhairi Morrison – Creator of Feathers & Toast: Mhairi attained her BA in Acting from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow and her Masters in Theater from Jacques Le Coq, Paris, before forming a clown theater company and performing street theater throughout France. Moving to London she worked in film, television and theater. Film credits include Young Adam (with Ewan Macgregor and Tilda Swinton), Green Street Hooligans (with Elijah Wood) O, Jerusalem (with Ian Holm) and Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself. Television credits include Missing (with Joanne Froggatt), Murphy’s Law (with Jimmy Nesbitt), Casualty (BBC) and Emo (C4). Theater credits include Blues for Mister Charlie (Tricycle theater, London), Faeries (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden) and Melody (Traverse, Edinburgh). Since moving to Los Angeles she has performed and produced stand up comedy and created 2 seasons of comedy web series Feathers and Toast.  She performs with Cabaret Versatile in a monthly residency at the Sofitel, Beverly Hills, as her character from Feathers and Toast, Tallulah Grace. She vlogs once a week for the Feathers and Toast  Youtube channel and is currently developing Feathers and Toast into a half hour show for TV with her producing partner Holly Payberg.


Holly Payberg - Writer/Producer of Feathers and Toast: Holly Payberg is a Writer/Producer and Second City Grad with over 20 years experience in all aspects of the business. Her career began at Nickelodeon studios as a PA and quickly progressed to working with and learning from some of the biggest names in the biz on shows like FRIENDS, Analyze This & Hanging Up. In 2000, Holly was named Director of Development for Signature Pictures, where she assisted Producer Moshe Diamant in bringing 3 independent films (Feardotcom, The Musketeer & The Extremists) from development to delivery at several major studios including Paramount and Warner Bros. Her career as a Producer began in 2004 when she and her husband, Diego Torroija, opened their commercial production company, Two Door Productions. At Two Door, she specialized in producing VFX heavy commercials for clients such as Rooms To Go, Puma & Honda, but her big break came in 2006 when she was offered the opportunity to write and produce her first feature, the family comedy The Guardians starring Ron Pallilo and the pop group TGK. Inspired by the digital revolution, Holly created Two Door’s sister company Turtle in a Party Dress, and has been writing and producing original content for the web ever since. Her latest projects include GG’s Java Joint (a fully Improvised web series she created around the talent of her fellow Second City Grads), The Sex Trade (an award winning scripted comedy web series she created and co-wrote with writing partner John Connon) and most recently Feathers and Toast (an award winning web series she is currently developing into a 1/2 hour series with co-creator Mhairi Morrison).


Leah Cevoli – Content Creator: Leah Cevoli is an actress, producer, writer, voice-over artist, and host. She is most notably known for recording over 30 characters on "Robot Chicken", and her work on HBO’s Deadwood. Leah has appeared in many indie projects; film, tv, and web shows, including a few creations of her own. Currently in post-production on The Sultana, a feature-length Documentary with Sean Astin executive producing, upcoming projects include the feature film Blood Kiss starring Neil Gaiman, the animated series, “Bringing Up Tommy”, the horror feature Sorority of The Damned, and the dark indie-drama Nowhere Land. In 2012, Leah founded All Shapes and Sizes Welcome, a panel of rotating women in the industry, speaking at various conventions including San Diego Comic Con, and Ventura’s Pop Stuff Expo, to address body image and women’s issues in the entertainment industry. The panel has been featured on FOX News, CNN, and various other news outlets.  A regular staff writer for “Ms. In The Biz” Leah often writes about her own journey to self love in her column, “Weighing In”.   She combines her love for social media, rock n' roll, and spontaneity in all that she does. Leah also owns and operates a consultation company that specializes in crowdfunding campaigns, and to date has been instrumental in raising over a million dollars in funding for Independent film and music projects.


Brittany Turner – Vice President of Digital Video at Adaptive Studios: Brittany Turner is the Vice President of Digital Video at Adaptive Studios, a cutting-edge media company with a focus on reimagining high-quality abandoned IP into exciting and fresh new formats. In 2014, Adaptive Studios partnered with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Miramax and HBO to revive Project Greenlight.  Brittany produced the Project Greenlight digital director contest in partnership with Facebook; the feature film from the winning director will premiere on HBO in November. She is currently working on digital initiatives for several projects, including an Adaptive-produced feature film (reimagined from a YA novel), various premium web series concepts, and other book-to-film/TV conversions. Prior to joining Adaptive, Brittany worked at Maker Studios in women’s lifestyle verticals The Moms View and The Platform, and lent her comedic voice as community manager to the Nacho Punch channel (over a million subscribers on YouTube). As social coordinator for The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2012, she oversaw social strategy for the show’s millions of fans on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.


Angela Wilson Gyetvan – Founder & President of Digital Whisper: Angela specializes in kickstarting new ideas into full‐blown industries. Her experience includes executive positions with Electronic Arts, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Idealab and Evite. After 14 years in Silicon Valley, she could see the coming convergence between digital and entertainment, and made the transition to Southern California, where she headed marketing and content for the first mass-scale online video platform that monetized content  (Revver); helped YouTube build out their advertising platform; developed production and licensing deals for the first integrated live‐action 3D  production system (3ality Digital); created digital properties for major entertainment companies (Jump Creative); and led customer acquisition for one of the most popular products on iTunes (UberMedia). She currently advises creatives and production companies on developing and distributing digital properties, and sits on the Digital Committee for Women in Film. She is also a member of the Television Academy where she sits on the Awards Working Group. She has lectured on digital and social media at both USC and UCLA, and has been a featured speaker at multiple industry conferences. She was part of the Tech for Obama (T4O) team in the 2012 election, and is a participant in the White House Business Council. She holds a BA from Duke University and a MBA from the College of William and Mary.


Laura Fischer - Head of Production, Yahoo Originals: In this position, Ms. Fischer is responsible for overseeing production and creative for scripted and un-scripted original series as well as assisting Y! Studios with initiatives produced by outside production companies. This year Yahoo!’s tentpole original productions includes Community: Season 6 (Sony), Other Space (Paul Feig), and SinCity Saints (Mike Tollin). Coming up in 2016 is reality competition series Ultimate DJ (Simon Cowell) and half hour comedy The Pursuit (Scott Stuber). Prior to joining Yahoo! In 2013, Ms. Fischer was Senior Manager of Production and Current Programming, for the Disney-ABC Television Group Digital Studio. She was responsible for development and strategy for the short form video created to support shows that air on ABC Primetime, ABC Daytime, and ABC Family. She oversaw creative, production, and programming strategy for each digital franchise that aired on abc.com, abcfamily.com, as well as ABC content distributed to YouTube and Hulu. Ms. Fischer led the team responsible for the Emmy award-winning Oscar Digital Experience. With 32 cameras streaming live from the Red Carpet, Backstage, and inside the exclusive Governor’s Ball, the Oscar Digital Experience delivered unprecedented interactivity and access worthy of the award: Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Media. Ms. Fischer joined Disney in 2007. In her time at the Digital Studio, she has worked on original web content, including: Lost: Mysteries of the Universe, Ugly Betty: Mode After Hours, Cougartown: Andy’s Dreams, Backstage at Dancing with the Stars and ModernFamily’s Dunphypedia. Prior to joining Disney, Ms. Fischer worked for Longfellow Productions, a boutique production company specializing in commercials. She transitioned to their digital ad agency, sunKING Interactive; producing original web series for clients like American Eagle and the Coca-Cola Company. Laura is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America and just concluded her 3rd year as an elected member on the Board of Delegates, New Media Council. Ms. Fischer currently serves on the Digital VIP committee, responsible for recognizing innovators in the field. Ms. Fischer received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA. She resides in Los Feliz, California.


Melissa Schneider - SVP Development and Production New Form Digital: Melissa Schneider oversees all production and creative for New Form Digital’s projects. With an extensive background in both digital and traditional media, Schneider seeks out and cultivates emerging digital talent and works with them to make their ideas a reality in the form of short films, series and specials for the social media generation. Her unique approach to development and production deliver engaging stories that are unique to New Form. Before joining New Form, she was part of the creative development team at the Collective Digital Studios, and previously oversaw production for the launch of YouTube Nation for DreamWorks Animation. Before that, she was the executive producer and showrunner of My Damn Channel Live, the first daily live comedy series on the internet, hosted by Grace Helbig. Additionally she's produced dozens of original series for TeenNick, MSN, Vuguru, XBOX, and numerous other top-tier brands. Schneider is an alum of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She currently resides in Los Angeles.


Ellen Pittleman – President Hybrid Entertainment: Studio veteran Ellen Pittleman launched Hybrid Entertainment in June 2008 after 12 years in several executive roles at Paramount Pictures. Hybrid is an entertainment consultancy with clients ranging from independent producers of narrative and documentary feature films to well established companies looking to diversify their entertainment related businesses.As Senior Vice President Paramount Pictures International, Pittleman established and led the International Co--‐Production and Worldwide Acquisition group, the DVD Premiere group, and built a worldwide acquisitions and production group for the home entertainment division while at the studio. Responsible for production of original local language theatrical films from around the world, titles included Philipe Muyl’s French language “Magique,” Bob Weide’s “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” and Bruno Barreto’s 2008 Brazilian Oscar nominee “Last Stop 174.” She also produced more than 10 original films for the Home Entertainment Division as a strategic initiative with the Viacom networks, two of those films being ultimately released by Paramount Classics to theaters. Pittleman was asked to author a 2009 Worldwide Box Office review on behalf of the NYT's international database "Screenline" and contributed to the NYT's domestic research site "Baseline" where she analyzed topical challenges facing the industry. She is a sought after public speaker with engagements  at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts in Singapore, the DGA, the Erich Pommer Institute’s Trans  Atlantic Partners, Cannes Film Festival Producers Roundtable and Whistler Film Festival among others, as  well as being an on-going instructor of the “Business of Entertainment” at UCLA Extension. Pittleman holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University.