By Ami Park
I was floored by CAPE‘s panel with the top execs at The CW. It was a very intimate space, with 60-70 attendees ranging from ages 20-50s. The CW president Mark Pedowitz opened the panel as he summarized his experience with CW and how the network has evolved over the past couple of years. The other three execs were: Lori Openden, EVP of Talent and Casting; Thom Sherman, EVP in charge of series development, and Michael Roberts, EVP of Current Programming. All of the execs were extremely kind, patient, and generous with their time and made sure we (Asian Americans) knew the practicality of the industry while also reinforcing the importance of diversity because it is a necessity.
Thom explained how he and his team begin looking at pitches every June. After narrowing it down to 30-40 projects, they will pick up 6 pilots by the end of January. By May, after shooting these pilots, the network decides which of them they want to choose.
Michael Roberts then spoke, explaining how his department serves as the middle man between the show producers and the network, and how they work with development and casting. He stated how the season arc pitch, where they discuss where they are now in the process of these shows and how they can make it better, is the most important meeting of the year. He also talked about ‘Story Areas’ where the conceptual notes are reviewed. 2-3 weeks after that, you receive a script. And then there is the upfront, where they decide which shows will go during the fall season.
Lori graciously ended the panel by describing the casting process, highlighting how actors must have an agent or manager to be seen by the network. She also stressed the importance of training and how acting universities were great for that route.
Altogether, the optimistic and caring nature of the panelists truly came out, especially during the post-panel talk where we were able to shake hands and talk to each of the execs. I cannot thank CAPE enough for hosting this event!