Creative Development training for MNET and independent producers

mnet CU GROUP LISTENING for website


The Format People are bringing their unique FORMATS A-Z training course to South Africa, courtesy of cable network MNET.  In the first recently completed Module, Creative Development, five TFP consultants shared their expertise with commissioning editors and producers.

“The word I’ve been getting back from our people here is ‘life-changing’”

Leading gameshow STUART MCUcreator Stuart Shawcross revealed ways he finds inspiration and methods he uses to create.  He deconstructed one of his own format ‘devices’, before taking delegates through different devices used on TV recently.

Stuart unpacked his development process, including the need for testing, and recording and analysing data at every stage. He went on to share his gameshow pitch methods, from run-throughs, playing a game ‘in the room’, to the verbal pitch, and explained how he casts development teams.”

TFP CCO and ‘Format Doctor’ Justin Scroggie shared his unique ‘Grid’ system for turning original programme ideas into a strong narrative  IMG_6961structure that define the essential elements of a format.

He went on to share his template for an ideal Treatment, with examples of his own and other’s work, and explained the difference between a treatment, a deck and a Bible.  In his final session, Justin demonstrated 10 key ways for creators to build the ‘DNA’ of international appeal into local formats at development stage.

“The speakers have each given us a different piece of the puzzle, and the results are mind-blowing”


TFP CEO Michel Rodrigue, a former distributor and a founder of the formats industry, used Justin’s 10 DNA points above to open a round-table discussion with local producers, asking what makes one format appeal to the market and another fail to, and what specific challenges South Africa faces. In a second discussion, Michel was joined by commissioning editors and local producers to ask how to protect the IP in the development of your format.  During a lively debate panellists and delegates questioned how to retain ownership, or share in it a way that is equitable, and how to maximise the income IP has the potential to deliver.

Back in 2009, Justin created the culinary format “Chef In Your Ear”.  Six years later, “Chef In your Ear” came to air on Food Network Canada, and has since been adapted in 8 more territories to date. In this session, Justin and his partner Michel use the journey of “Chef” from first idea to the latest adaptation in Mexico to illustrate 20 valuable lessons learnt along the way, that creators, producers and broadcasters can use in their own work.

SEAN GROUPEx-Director of Content for FremantleMedia Asia, Sean Kneale has mentored many big series including “Asia’s Got Talent”, “Indian Idol” and “X Factor Indonesia”.  Using anecdotes and case studies Sean shared his top 10 takeaways for developing, creating and big returning formats.  Sean went to discuss the benefits of testing formats before recording starts, showing how investing time and money in testing improves quality and saves studio time and money.

“I’m sitting here like a sponge, absorbing everything, it’s been so valuable”

In his final session, Sean demonstrated how formats with falling ratings can benefit from comedy, using genuinely funny people to write scripts, and training in-house talent “to be funny”.



“Thanks so much, it’s been incredible, a brain stimulator and a confidence booster!”

As non-Executive Director of international trends consultancy K7 Media, Gary Carter explored trends influencing the development of entertainment formats internationally, from dominant global societal themes, and trends in technology, to overarching directions in formats.   Across 2 sessions, Gary used his career with Fremantle and Endemol Shine developing and selling formats in the international market (he sold “Big Brother” to MNET) to explore the skills of pitching TV ideas, while developing your own unique style.







This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.