Monday, November 23, 2009

Dean’s Roundtable with Adina Pitt

Thanks to the Dean’s Roundtable I had the chance to hear Adina Pitt, a Steinhardt alumna, speak about her career in television and her position as a VP at Cartoon Network and Boomerang (and, as an extra bonus, they had some great cookies there, too). Ms. Pitt is the VP of Content Acquisitions & Co-Productions and Cartoon Network & Boomerang. She spoke with a diverse group of undergrad and post-grad students who wanted to hear all about the television industry and what steps she took in her career path to get to where she was. I walked away from the roundtable with a lot more knowledge about children’s cable television and how concepts and ideas are now traded globally. Here are the top-five things I took away:

  1. The most valuable lesson I learned from Ms. Pitt was how she moved her career forward by essentially creating her own job. When she was an assistant and contracts would pass through her desk she made sure to read and study each one. When her superiors would get ready to go on business trips in markets around the world she would prepare spec sheets of projects to check out.
  2. Ms. Pitt was describing to us how the simplest of pitches are the ones that Cartoon Network decides to invest in. The funniest one she mentioned was “a babysitter who happens to be a vampire.” Right after she heard those words, she was sold. The comeback of the vampire continues!
  3. She reminded us that “kids are really simple,” they “feel like adults,” but don’t think like them. They want “mindless fun,” which is what you need to think about when you are developing programming for children.
  4. “Kids love commercials” – This was a cool and really interesting point she made. She told us that when she offers to fast-forward commercials with her own children they usually tell her not to because they love the commercials. I wonder if this will change as kids start using computers at younger ages.
  5. If you are trying to create a concept for a children’s show make sure you’re thinking about your story in 52, 11 minute parts. Cartoon Network mostly needs 26, 22-minute episodes with two 11-minute stories in each (I think we can all vaguely remember that format from our Rugrats days).

Written by Natan Edelsburg

Edited by Sara Saldi

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