Real Screen 2015 by James Burstall

Real Screen in Washington DC was one of the most enjoyable and productive yet. It is the industry event of the year. Although the turnout was down a little in numbers (it seemed like most of New York stayed home to avoid the icy blizzards of the North East), those execs who did show were in feisty form. There was a palpable warmth in the air and the talk was focused on new ideas, testing concepts and cross-border relationships. We found it invigorating.

The first thing that struck me was just how integrated the global industry has now become. British, American, Canadian, European, Asian, Australian – we are all inextricably inter-connected. We have Pact opening up in the USA, TruTv and CBS launching channels in the UK, Netflix crossing all borders, and we as content creators partnering with talent all over the world. It is much less about nationality and regionalism and the emphasis is on partnering with the most gifted talent on the sharpest ideas. I love that.

Dave and Sara from Leopard US and I had excellent meetings with Scripps Networks who are great clients and allies of ours. We value them highly. And we pitched to a range of buyers with an original and varied slate that Dave and his team have been working on. There are several projects which are close, many in new areas for us. The development team in New York is in a mischievous and witty mood.

Nick from BriteSpark was firing on all cylinders and hurried between back-to-back meetings, some of which I attended. His slate is strong and deep, and he is forging a solid reputation in North America. The UK-US-Canada triangle is central to his and our business model. What I like is that we have found and are working with like-minded execs and producers in these three key territories who hold the same values as we do. Basically, we all want terrific new ideas, delivered with excellence, at a very keen price with zero hassle.

Washington also offered up some fun parties – the CAA bash was a particularly sparkly one. And I always make a point of attending some evening dos and dinners with Australian, European, and other colleagues. It’s a very pleasurable way to catch up with friends and gather a vast amount of international intel.

I also managed an icy run round the Washington Monument in bright sunlight. Washington is a spectacular world city, and I am glad to have had my early dose of it for 2015. Now onwards – taking Argonon into its fourth year. A biggie for us. Off to a good start.

James Burstall