This year was the inaugural ‘Student Pitch Challenge’ at MIPTV. For those who don’t know it, MIPTV and MIPCOM are the two biggest trade conferences in the television industry. It’s where networks come to debut their new shows. It’s where television distributors come to expand their territories. And – increasingly – it’s where creators come to pitch and sell early-stage projects at the conference’s IN DEVELOPMENT program.
This was my first time attending this huge television trade show and I was not disappointed. For a professional based mostly in Los Angeles (like myself) MIPTV was a chance to get out and see what kinds of television the rest of the world is making!
STUDENT PITCH CHALLENGE
I wasn’t the only newcomer to Cannes. There were also four teams of college students, selected from campuses worldwide, that got a chance to go on stage before a jury and and audience of industry professionals to pitch their original series concepts.
I’ve got to tell you, the students did not disappoint. All of them pitched with enormous passion — most with a level of clarity and focus that put professionals to shame.
Pictured above are the team from Regent’s University, London, who came in first place with their “Seven Keys” project. It’s a hybrid scripted/unscripted elimination format based on the phenom of Escape Rooms that are exploding in popularity worldwide. Left to right are: Olga Kobzar, Catherine Marcy, Kateryna Kononenko, and Delisa Hernandez. With me, of course, although I had nothing to do with the success of their pitch. It was all their own doing.
Three other teams competed, from Serbia, Poland, and France. What’s outstanding about this new student program is not just their time on stage, but their time among industry professionals, and an opportunity to take their own measure among future colleagues who no longer seem mysterious or unapproachable. It’s the great de-mystification of television for these students and THAT – this new sense of belonging – is really the best part of the whole experience.