Jason Blum and three of his top executives at Blumhouse Productions will discuss team building at the Producers Guild of America’s upcoming Produced By Conference. Blum, whose company has produced such hits as Whiplash and the Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Insidious and Sinister horror franchises, will be joined on the panel by Blumhouse execs Jeanette Brill, head of production; Jessica Rhoades, head of television; and Phillip Dawe, head of postproduction.
Susanne Daniels, President of Programming at MTV, and Francie Calfo, whose Imagine Television produces Fox’s hit series Empire, also have been added as speakers at the seventh annual conference, to be held May 30-31 at Paramount Studios.
The conference also will offer panels on the finer points of pitching story ideas. “We realized that honest, no-holds-barred feedback is important to anyone working on an important pitch,” said PGA National Executive Director Vance Van Petten. “There is an art to pitching, and communicating effectively is a crucial first step.”
“The Art and Craft of Pitching for Film” panel includes producers Stephanie Allain (Dear White People), Marshall Herskovitz (The Last Samurai) and Laurence Mark (Dreamgirls). The panel for TV pitching includes producers Kenya Barris (Black-ish), Howard Gordon (Homeland) and Sarah Timberman (Masters Of Sex). Both sessions will be moderated by PGA President Emeritus Mark Gordon (Steve Jobs, Ray Donovan).
Other producers added to the speakers lineup include Jay Roewe, HBO’s SVP West Coast Productions; Kay Cannon (30 Rock); David Friendly (Little Miss Sunshine); Jennifer Fox (Nightcrawler); Hal Sadoff (Hotel Rwanda); Joe Sungkur (Dancing With The Stars); Norberto Barba (Grimm); John Ramsey and Jim Rota, executive producers and partners at Therapy Content (Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways); John Heinsen, CEO of Bunnygraph Entertainment; Jonathan Deckter, president of Voltage Pictures; and Sanjay Sharma, president of All Def Digital.
As previously reported, the conference will feature a roundtable discussion with the executive producers of Fox’s hit freshman drama Empire. Executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brian Grazer, and Ilene Chaiken will discuss the challenges of producing the hit show. Other speakers lined up for the two-day conference include Tyler Perry, Reese Witherspoon and her producing partner Bruna Papandrea, Eva Longoria and producer Hawk Koch.