It’s a seller’s market and Kiliaen Van Rensselaer is banking that the hunger for high television-quality content produced at a lower cost will give his new talent-friendly production studio, Insurrection Media, “a running start,” he said.
To accomplish that, he’s recruiting big name Hollywood and digital video-savvy showrunner and executive producer types to build the starts of what he calls a “factory cranking out experiments in scripted video”. The studio would then encourage that talent to engage a “writer’s room” approach in addition to acquiring rights to projects from within the talents’ established networks.
Van Rensselaer also indicated that early creative talent likely to be on board include many who have worked with Van Rensselaer and his former employer, Fox Broadcasting Group, both on traditional and digital projects.
While Van Rensselaer was tight-lipped on the talent who is already on board, Keith Quinn and Jonathan Stern (Abominable Pictures), Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia (WIGS, Insidious Media), and Akiva Shaffer (SNL), each had multi-platform projects picked up by Van Rensselaer and his team at Fox Broadcasting Group.
“Kiliaen always tried to protect what we were doing creatively and prevent the business side from slowing down a project’s momentum,” said Akiva Shaffer in a release, announcing Insurrection Media.
“It’s been a very fulfilling year of making shows through Kiliaen’s lab at Fox,” added Stern and Quinn. “His empowering philosophy and agile approach to developing, shooting, and selling projects has huge advantages creatively and commercially.”
Agility and rapid-piloting of content is exactly what Van Rensselaer hopes to achieve with Insurrection Media. In many ways, he’s replicating an Old Hollywood studio model much in the way Vessel has adapted Old Hollywood windowing principles, which begs the question, should Old Hollywood models die hard or can they be relevant for the future of over the top?
With buyers like Verizon, Fullscreen, Facebook, YouTube, Samsung, and Dish Sling, among others, driving competition for licensing and minimum guarantees, Insurrection Media’s collective of seasoned executive producers will look to option, produce and shop single pilot episodes shot on spec to these buyers for digital-first windows both domestically and internationally.
“Once we shoot episode one, we’re going to be able to take it anywhere we want and negotiate any kind of deal we want, whether SVOD, AVOD, EST, traditional broadcast or premium and basic cable,” Van Rensselaer made sure to note. “And, there are a lot of avid buyers that we can please because there’s not a lot of inventory; there’s a lot of demand but not a lot of inventory in affordable high end scripted content.”
As far as formats, sky is the limit for Insurrection Media, but the talent being recruited is said to be vertically focused in the scripted genres over the top buyers are most wanting. “Buyers are shopping heavily for scripted formats as well as cable quality, talent driven and internationally appealing formats” says Canvas Media’s David Tochterman. Based on the trends we saw at Newfronts, lifestyle and docu-reality formats could also be at the forefront for Insurrection Media though the company intends for comedy and drama to be the first genres of focus.
“We have a bright future ahead of pleasing customers, who, in this case, are these emerging buyers,” said Van Rensselaer.