Last summer, I had the privilege to attend SeriesFest in Denver, Colorado.
This summer, you'll have the opportunity to attend SeriesFest, too, as it goes virtual!
Confirmed talent thus far includes Ryan Eggold (New Amsterdam), James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti (One Tree Hill), Betsy Sodaro, with more to be announced soon.
SeriesFest is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting underserved voices in episodic storytelling. Despite the current climate, they're ensuring that the worldwide community of creators stays connected and continues to be inspired and engaged even during this unprecedented crisis.
The annual six-day festival will take place as scheduled from June 18-24, but in light of our collective new normal, SeriesFest: Season 6 will transition to a schedule of must-stream, virtual events with all panels, competitions and premieres available online.
Also starting this month, SeriesFest will host industry creatives through virtual writers rooms, creator hangouts, network watch parties and online Pitch-A-Thons.
“We are facing unprecedented times as the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it. Those impacted by the virus have been on our minds and in our hearts as we determined how to navigate this challenging time.” said Randi Kleiner and Kaily Smith Westbrook, Co-Founders of SeriesFest.
“As an organization, we are collectively embracing the mandate to stay at home to ensure the health and well-being of our families, employees, industry and audiences.
"While many things have changed in these last few weeks,the one thing that remains the same is the need for our passionate community to stay connected through empathy and storytelling.
"By pivoting to a virtual experience, we are confident we will remain a trusted destination for meaningful conversations and provide a much needed forum for creatives to share, engage and celebrate their experiences and innovative stories.”
They added: “Our staff, Board of Directors and partners are fully dedicated to providing a platform for creating impactful conversations and developing valuable connections as we adapt to an increasingly digital ecosystem.”
SeriesFest: Season 7, will return to Denver in June 2021 with an even more ambitious, creative and exciting program. Check out these virtual events you'll be able to experience in April and May.
Think of this as your planning for the 2021 SeriesFest. If you enjoy the online expereience, maybe you'll experience the magic of the event in person next year!
MUST WATCH “WATCH” PARTIES
Launching April 15, virtual online screenings followed by extended Q&As with talent and creators of TV favorites and premiere content on YouTube. These events bring exclusive access to fans while also celebrating the rich history of episodic storytelling. ● April 15- One Tree Hill, Q&A with James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti
● April 29 - New Amsterdam, Q&A with Ryan Eggold
● April Date TBA - Disjointed, Q&A with Betsy Sodaro
CREATOR HANG OUTS
Launching April 16, a series of virtual roundtable conversations surrounding all things indie episodic will be hosted by SeriesFest alumni.
Available to stream on YouTube, two to five creators will host hour long conversations around indie topics including Female Filmmakers, Sparking Creativity, The Art of the Pitch, Creating The Season One Arc, International Independent Content, Benefits and Challenges of Online Release.
On April 16th, “The Art of the Pitch” Hosted by Emil Pinnock and Ian Robertson, the team behind SeriesFest: Season 3’s award-winning pilot, Up North, returns for an indepth look into the next steps creators should prepare for when looking to launch their television series.
Pinnock and Robertson will lead the interactive workshop on what they've found are the three most important areas to prepare for - the people, the package and the pitch.
VIRTUAL WRITERS ROOMS
Launching in May, the Writers Room series is a professional development opportunity for emerging writers in independent episodic television.
SeriesFest and UnReal Media will invite select writers to participate in a three-day workshop and month-long follow-up with the goal of producing pitch-ready scripted episodic content. This is a virtual spin on our established initiative that will be conducted on Zoom.
SXSW FILM FEST EPISODIC PITCH-A-THON PRESENTED BY SERIESFEST
The planned SXSW Episodic Pitch-a-thon with five of their 2020 Episodic Pilots heads online, as part of the previously announced expansion. Launching April 28th, six creators/creative teams have five minutes to pitch in front of an audience...virtually via YouTube.
The industry panel of experts including Susan Lewis (Starz), Travis Tammero (CAA), Jenny Halper (Maven Pictures), Christiane Davila (Stage 13), Caleb Ward (Entertainment Studios), will have seven minutes to give their feedback for each project with ultimately one winner selected.
Pitch selections include: Under The Influence, Beached, Wild Combination, The Bisley Boy, Pussy Talk, and Southfield Supernovas 4228
All events are free. For information on how to participate, please visit www.seriesfest.com
SERIESFEST: SEASON 6 VIRTUAL FESTIVAL (June 18-24) PILOT COMPETITIONS
The festival’s signature competitions, Independent Pilot, Digital Short Series, Late Night Competition, Alumni Spotlight and Collegiate Creator Spotlight, this year will be online and on-demand. The pilots will be juried by established industry executives, and selections will have an online debut.
SeriesFest will present unique conversations with top industry executives. The in-depth conversations will address the quickly changing landscape. Previous executives to participate have included Ted Sarandos, Elvis Mitchell, Jane Turton.
A curated selection of our signature panel conversations based on the evolving industry trends and hot topics. These panels celebrate innovation and highlight the major issues facing the industry today.
Plus, SeriesFest will make previous panels from the first five seasons available to screen exclusively.
NETWORK WATCH PARTIES AND Q&As
An essential lineup of Network Premieres and sneak previews, offering audiences an exclusive look at the latest in must see television. These virtual screenings include Q&A’s with leading filmmakers, creators, industry influencers and talent.
Ticket & Pass information along with programming announcements for the Virtual Festival will be available soon.
What do you think? Are you in??
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.