Hollywood comes to Akron: Pitch your own reality tv show

By: Lindsay Mulhollen

A hands-on reality show workshop is being hosted by The University of Akron School of Communication, Inda Blatch-Geib Productions and Joke Productions.

The two-day workshop will teach the skills needed to sell a reality TV or documentary series to Hollywood. Participants will learn how to identify a compelling story, how to craft their presentations for the right network and how to pitch a marketable reality show or docu-series. At the end of the class, participants will have the chance to pitch a TV show or documentary.

“Whether you’re a novice or have a formed idea, it’s a great opportunity,” said event producer Inda Blatch-Geib, who adds, “You don’t have to come with a formed idea.”

The event is run by award-winning filmmakers and TV producers Joke Fincioen and Biagio Messina. Their documentary “Dying to do Letterman” is in the running for this year’s Oscar nominations. Their reality television credits include MTV’s “Caged,” “Scream Queens,” “Commercial Kings” and “Beauty and the Geek.”

“It’s still a new enough industry, we don’t train people to pitch ideas; It’s a great way to learn something you’re not taught,” Blatch-Geib said.

Senior Alex Funk is excited for the workshop and hopes they find his idea successful.

“There’s so much random nonsense my roommate and I do; we would be so much better than ‘Rock of Love,’” Funk said.

“The world would love us, everyone loves us anyways, so obviously national television would love us,” Funk’s roommate Alex Briski added.

Joke Productions is actively looking for new reality television and docu-series projects from the Northeast Ohio area.

“They’re really phenomenal people to work with,” Blatch-Geib said. “They very much want to produce things from this area and want to make this area successful for reality TV.”

By the end of the four classes, participants will have a reality TV or documentary series pitch idea ready to go, along with an accompanying video. Finciorn and Messina will critique pitches and offer further advice; if they find a pitch successful enough, they will team up with the creator and attempt to sell the show to a major network.

“Even for someone who’s thinking for down the road, it’s a great opportunity,” Blatch-Geib said.

The event takes place over two weekends this semester, Oct. 1 and 2 and Nov. 5 and 6. Each day, the workshop will last from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event will be held at the Student Union.

Any student who wants to attend is being given a free spot. Non-students can purchase tickets for $159.24. There is also a discount price of $264.74 for groups of three working on the same project. Tickets can be purchased online at realitytv101.eventbright.com.

For more information, contact Blatch-Geib at [email protected] or 330-687-2629. Pre-registration and payment is required.