Inside the Rockies with Jarrett Sherman

JarrettSherman

Leading up to The Rockies, which will be presented during the Banff World Media Festival June 10 to 13, Playback caught up with some of the nominees to talk about their projects.

Here, Jarrett Sherman, Smokebomb Entertainment partner and executive producer of Totally Amp’d, nominated in the fictional webseries category, talks to Playback about multi-platform content strategies and going to app route for Amp’d.

PB:How does it feel to be nominated?

JS: It’s a huge honour. We’re in great company in the category and to be recognized is a great thing, especially when it’s an experimental project and we’re trying something new with it. It means we did something right somewhere along the line.

PB: How did you get here?

JS: Part of it is because of what’s different about the project, and the other part is the quality of the work that we put into it. The episodes are strong and the writing and production values are all good.

Even as a digital project, I think it holds up against other projects that are treading ground that’s a little more familiar.

PB: Did you intend for your production to have international appeal?

JS: It was released globally in one shot. Totally Amp’d was always meant to be a global initiative, and to be enjoyed by anyone who has a device that can make use of it.

I think the themes of the show are universally appealing and not really complex or North American-centric. The underdog story is a pretty common story, and the pop and music angle is pretty accessible no matter where you are.

PB: What, in your opinion, makes a good kid’s/youth property?

JS: Relevancy is the number one thing. At that age group you have to be pretty specific with the way you’re creating content so that it speaks to them, because otherwise they’ll just tune out.

On the interactive side, it’s a similar approach. What are they interested in? What are they going to gravitate towards? Karaoke isn’t part of the series, but singing is, and we know the audience is into that right now. So choosing to do a karaoke and a remix activity inside the app was a no-brainer.

PB: Why go the app route for Totally Amp’d?

JS: A lot of our business has been creating convergent extensions for broadcast TV, but typically TV is happening on one platform and the extension is on another.

We thought it would be interesting to wrap the whole thing up in one spot, so the content and episodes all live right where the convergent extensions live. It was sort of like rethinking the TV show.

PB: How important is a multi-platform approach in today’s industry?

JS: It’s critical, which is not to say that it has to be a big game or a big immersive experience. But because people are on every device, you want your property to be where they are.

The point is less what it is and more that it’s available to the audience wherever they are – especially in children’s, youth and even teen programming. That audience is everywhere and they want to see what they want to see, when they want to see it on whatever device they happen to be on at the moment.

PB: What do you have in the works?

JS: Totally Amp’d garnered a lot of international attention from broadcasters and portals. So we’re now talking to different potential partners in territories around the world to take Totally Amp’d.

We’ve got a similar project called State of Syn in post-production right now. It’s a digital series with related interactive, and it’ll go out multi-platform.

The convergent business is continuing to move along. We’re now working with CBC for the online for season six [of Murdoch Mysteries]. We just completed season five for Citytv, and that will launch when the show launches.

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