Charisma of the Crazy Concept

16 Jun 2017

Charisma of the Crazy Concept

Finding formidable formats
By Lunita S V Mendoza

In the bigger scheme of things, one would wonder how an idea successfully journeys towards a finish product. Does it bring in future partnerships? What about multi-platform dimensions? The complete picture involves myriad of things to consider and understand, and all before anything even begins.

So what’s the right answer? As with everything successful in life; be it work, love or winning that treasured title, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time.

“In order to build a format from an original idea, we usually cast people in the right universe,” says Laetitia Lamic, the Deputy Director General of the French production company, Coyote, where she is responsible for Programming Content and the creation, development and acquisition of Formats. “We need to find the right partner with the credibility to handle the format. It could be a medical expert, famous hair dresser, humourist or a scientist to give us their expertise on the area.”

Laetitia Lamic
Deputy Director General
Shortlist Judge
ATF Formats Pitch 2017

Speaking of expertise, Laetitia herself was invited to be a Shortlist Judge for 2017’s ATF Formats Pitch, the premier Asian pitching competition for creators and producers of innovative concepts for new and original, non-scripted entertainment formats.

Certainly, Laetitia was a catch, having dealt with some Asian formats taken to the French audience that have had great success. In fact, Coyote adapted three different formats from Japan, for the French market in the past 10 years: Silent Library (NTV), with a team of young and talented comedians for a DTT channel W9 (M6's group); Hole in the Wall (Fuji TV), for the French DTT channel TMC (TF1's group); and the prime time Mascaraed, for TF1. 

“All of them were very original and successful. They appeared as something new and French that surprised the French audience, said Laetitia. “In our adaptations, the success came from the originality and the craziness of the concept, mixed up with famous talented people, well known to the French viewers.”

Keeping in mind the proficiency of such feats crossing borders, iNSiGHTS magazine picked Laetitia’s brain on all things format, from the Asian-Europe success dynamics, to the biggest cost factor and the lure of the unscripted spring.

iNSiGHTS Magazine: What separates European from Asian formats these days? 

Laetitia Lamic: Almost all Asiatic formats involve celebrities, which is not the case in Europe, where most formats are focused on ordinary people. While Europe does indeed have star hosts, all contestants in shows are unknown. As well, most Asiatic formats on or off set are game shows with challenges, using graphics and sets inspired by Manga’s culture and video games; while successful European formats are closer to real life, telling extraordinary and intimate stories from regular Joes. In Europe, we love going into people's homes and peek into their daily lives.

iNSiGHTS Magazine: Considering increasing co-development/production collaborations, what is the biggest cost factor in projects today?

Laetitia Lamic: In the co-development phase, the biggest cost is the long time running period to write, search for the right talent to be attached to the project and to produce promotional materials (trailer, mood tape, pilot). The biggest cost factors in production today are the set and the production team, especially in France where the charges on salary are very expensive.

iNSiGHTS Magazine: What does it take to get the attention of prominent producers?

Laetitia Lamic: Easily repeated formats with a universal theme, that connects with viewers' expectations. For primetime in the French market, a show should have high stakes and be able to last for two hours, and be repeatable for several weeks. A strong package and imagery of the set is also very important to get the attention of producers and seduce the broadcasters. The show should also possess a strong identity on or off set.

iNSiGHTS Magazine: What is usually the biggest cost factor in a project, looking at the list of originals today?

Laetitia Lamic: The creative team, the casting team to find the right talent, and the sales material, such as the creation of a trailer/mood tape.

iNSiGHTS Magazine: What are major producers looking for today in terms of unscripted formats?

Laetitia Lamic: Producers are looking for social experiments, inspired by real life (as with “Married at First Sight”), but also a new kind of story-telling, like “One Born Every Minute”. The goal is more to find a new way of telling stories than new topics. Unscripted formats are using some of the elements of scripted shows, like “Emergency Call”. Producers are also searching for experts to turn them into celebrities/hosts, and the line-up can include interior designers, real estate agents, doctors, explorers, tattoo artists, or beauty experts, such as Mike Horn in “Tattoo Fixers & Body Fixers”.

iNSiGHTS Magazine : What is your philosophy behind decisions made in partners and areas of investment?

Laetitia Lamic: Talent and creativity, as well as sharing similar values and complementary expertise.

In its 2nd year at ATF, the pitch will take place on November 30, 2017. This is a platform to showcase the best of Asia and expose ideas for export and development within and even outside of the region. As of today, enquiries and entries have already been pouring in. Visit today!

We use cookies to operate this website and to improve its usability. Full details of what cookies are, why we use them and how you can manage them can be found by reading our Privacy & Cookies page. Please note that by using this site you are consenting to the use of cookies.