JHRTS-LA: The Year in Review
As we wrap up our JHRTS Presidency, we feel nothing but pride as we consider the feats that the 2014-2015 Executive Board of JHRTS have accomplished in a quick twelve months. Not only was the Board able to produce an exciting year of programming, but through their teamwork they formed meaningful relationships that will extend far beyond our duties as JHRTS Board Members.
In the spring, JHRTS continued its vein of informational and interactive events. Two panels – Online TV Journalism, followed by Inside TV Writing Programs – proved especially enlightening as representatives in the former from Buzzfeed, HitFix, and Mashable discussed the future of both online and print media, while representatives from Disney-ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and Nickelodeon in the latter spoke to a packed UTA auditorium about what constitutes the best application for a TV Writing Program. Members enjoyed a Speed Networking event just a few weeks later at The Wellesbourne, where they were invited to informally mingle with other JHRTS Members to expand their connections.
The following months welcomed high-profile panels open exclusively to Members that featured the likes of Reality Television players Bruce Robertson, Scott Freeman, Jill Holmes, Tyler Kroos, and Courtny Catzel; as well as a panel featuring Blumhouse Productions team: Jason Blum, Couper Samuelson, Jessica Rhoades, Ryan Turek, Bea Sequeira, and Kenny Tsai, moderated by actor Ben Garant. Our now-annual Crafting A Career In Writing For Television panel, moderated by Marcus Wiley, featured writers of all levels who had worked on comedies, dramas, and even alternative shows, including Dan Harmon, Kenya Barris, Wendy Calhoun, Dan Gregor and Doug Mand, and Amy Aniobi. In late June, we hosted a Casting Directors panel in a post-pilot pick-up breakdown of what is involved in the casting process during pilot season and beyond, featuring Marcello Bellisario, Alexis Booth, John Levey, Grace Wu and moderated by talent agent Ben Dey.
Other opportunities provided to JHRTS Members included a Financial Workshop featuring Nicole Lapin, the youngest anchor ever at CNN and CNBC, and author of the New York Time’s best seller Rich Bitch: A 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together. Members had the opportunity to both learn about the present financial climate and plan for the future with direct advice from Ms Lapin, who is also the money saving correspondent for The Wendy Williams Show. Following the more serious topic of finances came the introduction of a monthly fixture: JHRTS Presents the Chimp City Stand-Up Showcase. JHRTS Members enjoyed free cover at a stand-up show designed to educate those in the entertainment industry about current staples in the stand-up circuit as well as up-and-comers.
Focusing on non-member interaction, our April mixer was held at The Library Bar at The Redbury and the annual Upfronts Mixer returned to The Parlor in May, where Members and non-members could discuss the upcoming fall schedule over drink specials and, later in the evening, karaoke. Our next mixer will be held mid-July.
Our Philanthropy calendar was the fullest it’s ever been these past few months. JHRTS’s relationship with Heal The Bay and Reading To Kids at Los Angeles Elementary School continued on weekend mornings, while other opportunities included volunteering our Members’ can-do spirit at the finish line of the AIDS Lifecycle to cheer for those completing a 500mile sponsored ride to fight against HIV/AIDS. Many JHRTS Members also teamed up the following day with Project Angel Food to volunteer a few hours on a Sunday morning to prepare nutritious meals that are delivered to Angelinos affected by life-threatening illnesses. The partnership between JHRTS and Make-a-Wish established last year led to a JHRTS team participating in the annual Walk For Wishes in mid-April at Exposition Park, raising money to fund wishes for children with terminal illnesses. Our annual Network It Forward mixer was once again held at UTA, where rising and graduating seniors from UCLA, Chapman, Syracuse, and a host of other institutions had the opportunity to have honest conversations with JHRTS Members about their career paths and experiences. The ongoing partnership between the Motion Picture Television Fund’s Channel 22 and JHRTS allowed JHRTS Members to continue volunteering in production, development, writing and directing sketches with MPTF residents on their Wasserman campus, and created volunteer opportunities for Members to assist MPTF employees in events such as Reel Stories, Real Lives.
Inter-Board Development was a large focus this past year, as we held bi-monthly events designed for Board Members to interact and get to know each other well. As of April, several Board Members joined the JHRTS Bowling team as either players or supporters and competed Thursday nights at Shatto Lanes against other industry teams such as UTA, ABC and Magical Elves. As the bowling league is seasonal, the JHRTS Board will continue to participate in this sport-centric networking league upon its return.
Early May was the deadline for JHRTS Members in both Los Angeles and New York to submit their scripts to the inaugural JHRTS Pilot Script Competition, with a chance to win the title of Official Artist at the New York Television Festival this fall. Winners and runners up in Comedy and Drama categories will be announced in August and will have the opportunity to participate in all NYTVF has to offer its Artists, including Development Day and one-on-one meetings with industry executives.
June began with the JHRTS Executive Board holding interviews to replace departing Board Members with JHRTS Members who have proven themselves to be active in their community and successful in their occupation. We accepted twenty-one new Board Members this year, who collectively have a strong background in digital and broadcast development. The 2015-2016 JHRTS Board will be in full force starting July 6th.
With regard to the new Board, it is with immense pleasure that we announce Dianna Lau and Daniel Ross Noble as our successors for the 2015-2016 JHRTS Presidency. Their contributions to the Executive Board and to the JHRTS Membership base have been nothing short of phenomenal, with special emphasis on their philanthropic pursuits and achievements. Although it is with heartfelt goodbyes that we leave the Board, we are excited to see what the 2015-2016 Board will accomplish and experience their events as JHRTS Members once again.
Meredith Willis & Katie La Bouff
JHRTS Co-Presidents 2014-2015