Getting the Green Light: Pitching for Pilots

Getting the Green Light: Pitching for Pilots

February 22, 2022 A DGA Asian American Committee Virtual Event

On February 22, the Asian American Committee’s (AAC) meeting featured the panel discussion, Getting the Green Light: Pitching for Pilots, featuring Directors Nicole Kassell (Watchmen) and Larry Teng (NCIS: Hawaii) and Executive Penelope Essoyan from Netflix.

In a conversation moderated by Director Dan Liu (Star Trek: Picard, For All Mankind), Kassell and Teng shared their process of pitching pilots and Essoyan provided insightful information from her experiences on the other side of the table.

During the discussion that also covered topics including making pitch decks, cutting a pitch trailer and discussion tone, Kassell revealed how emphasizing her personal connection to scripts has led to successful meetings. Teng added that it’s important during pitch meetings to not just retell the story of the pilot, but to show how a Director’s vision would be unique. Essoyan suggested that a pitch answer the question, “Why make this project now?”

Following the moderated portion of the discussion, the panelists took questions from the online audience.

Nicole KassellDirector Nicole Kassell
Kassell’s directorial credits include the feature films The Woodsman and A Little Bit of Heaven; the pilots for The Baby, Claws; and episodes of series such as Westworld, The Leftovers, The Americans and Castle Rock. One of the most sought-after directors in television, her pilot for HBO’s Emmy-Award Winning Limited Series Watchmen earned Kassell the 2019 DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series. A DGA member since 2006, Kassell also serves as member of the DGA National Board, on the Focus on Women Committee, and as a mentor for the Women’s Steering Committee’s WSC Squad Mentorship Program.
Larry TengDirector Larry Teng
A veteran television Director with over 100 episodes of experience in network, cable and streaming, Teng’s credits include episodes of Medium, Hawaii Five-O, Criminal Minds, The Walking Dead, Supergirl, Graceland, Elementary, SEAL Team, S.W.A.T., Animal Kingdom, The Good Doctor and Doom Patrol; as well as the pilots for NCIS: Hawaii, Nancy Drew and The Bay. Teng has been a DGA member since 2007.
Penelope EssoyanExecutive Penelope Essoyan
Essoyan rose on the Netflix original series team from an assistant to a manager. She has been a meaningful part of hit series including Narcos and Orange Is the New Black, well as the upcoming series Away and White Lines.
Dan LiuDirector Dan Liu (moderator)
Liu’s directorial credits include episodes of The Walking Dead and its spin-offs, Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond; as well as episodes of For All Mankind, Shadow and Bone, Kung Fu, NCIS: Los Angeles, Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Liu has been a DGA member since 2017.

About the Asian American Committee:

The Asian American Committee (AAC) was created as a networking group to provide a forum for interests and issues that concern Asian-American Guild members. Through outreach efforts in the entertainment industry that emphasize career development and skills enhancement, the committee provides a variety of networking opportunities as well as screenings, seminars and discussions with industry professionals. The current AAC Co-Chairs are Directors Kabir Akhtar, Kai Kim and Lily Mariye.

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