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HRTS Member Profile: Zig Gauthier

Zig GauthierZig Gauthier is President of Red Varden Studios. I recently had a chance to interview Zig to discuss Fox, new media and Peter Guber.

Q: Can you tell us about your background and what made you want to work in entertainment?
-I grew up in a small town of 100 people in the mountains of true northern California, approximately 4-5 hours north of the Bay Area.  At home, our television received two networks (ABC & CBS), and only when one of us went on the roof to spin the antennae in the proper direction to secure a quality signal. My passions were always sports and politics; entertainment was not on the radar, nor was it ever considered as a viable career option. Later, I majored in political science as an undergrad at UCLA. As I neared graduation, on a whim, I took an entertainment class taught by Peter Guber. During this course, Peter asked if any students wanted to intern at Mandalay Entertainment. After one term at Mandalay, I realized that I would probably have a better opportunity to impact society and improve the world through entertainment than politics… and the fire began.

Q: How did you first get involved with the HRTS?
-while at Fox Television Studios, we developed dramas, comedies and alternative programming for broadcast networks, cable networks and syndication. It was particularly challenging to be proactive and network with executives who worked in each of these genres and HRTS has always been the premiere vehicle for this opportunity. Plus, the food is great.

Q: How do your interns and assistants benefit by becoming JHRTS members?
-with the continued expansion of content across multiple and changing platforms, more individuals than ever before have been exposed to the dream of pursuing a career in entertainment. The downside to this career opportunity is an ultra-competitive, swollen labor market, in which there are far more individuals who want to work in entertainment than there are positions available. Due to this increased competitiveness, it is even more important that each individual pursuing a career in entertainment does so strategically. JHRTS is the premiere organization for assistants and former interns who are making the commitment to learn the industry, learn the development and production process, and build the professional network necessary to ultimately become a decision-maker in Hollywood.

Q: What do you look for when developing new shows?
-our primary focus at Red Varden Studios is to research and identify new, unique, undiscovered talent that is strong enough to develop a project for, preferably talent that has not been exposed to, nor pitched to, broadcast or cable networks. This development goal is driven by a team of 20-25 individuals who work tremendously hard every week to identify that special star or ensemble for a project. As we expand beyond non scripted programming to scripted television and feature films, we are constantly trying to uncover a unique book, article, online property or some other form of proprietary material that would be a solid basis for a television or film project.

Q: What are you doing in new media?
-over the past year, we have launched Red Varden Digital Media to expand into this arena. This expansion includes several business components: mobile applications, online content production and distribution, a work-for-hire social media marketing business and other similar opportunities. For example, our mobile apps capabilities allow us to develop, build, distribute and market mobile applications at much more cost effective rates than most of our competitors. We are actively developing and marketing properties for several third party clients and simultaneously nearing the distribution of our first internally generated and owned mobile application.

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