There’s no query that the tv business is aggressive, and it may be onerous for a small prodco to interrupt by the noise and discover its area of interest. In ‘Small Firms, Huge Concepts’ Realscreen chats with indies which might be innovating and thriving, exhibiting the unscripted world that typically one of the best issues are available small packages.
The newest version of Realscreen‘s Small Firms, Huge Concepts sequence spotlights the Redondo Seaside, California’s Jeff Jenkins Productions, which is led by veteran tv producer Jeff Jenkins (pictured) as CEO and 3BMG CEO Ross Weintraub.
Based in 2018, the full-service content material firm serves as a three way partnership between Jenkins and three Ball Leisure, which is listed as coproducer on all JJP initiatives. The studio focuses on noisy unscripted docuseries, codecs and specials with high-profile expertise from music and sports activities, in addition to initiatives centered round beforehand unknown faces and households, meant for linear and digital platforms.
With a “bespoke, handcrafted method” to its storytelling, Jeff Jenkins Productions earlier this summer season debuted Fb Watch’s new Paris Jackson docuseries, Unfiltered: Paris Jackson & Gabriel Glenn. It’s presently at work on initiatives for Netflix and Lifetime, amongst others.
With greater than 20 years of media business expertise, Jenkins most not too long ago served as co-president of Bunim/Murray Productions and has been a part of the workforce behind such hit actuality sequence as Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which recently announced it can finish after 20 seasons; I Am Cait; Complete Divas; Mariah’s World; and The Easy Life.
Jenkins had additionally developed, offered and government produced all of the Kardashian spin-offs.
Right here, Jenkins discusses the advantages and downsides of working his personal boutique manufacturing home.
This interview has been edited for readability and size.
Jeff Jenkins Productions has been in enterprise for about two years now. Are you able to inform us in regards to the origins of the corporate?
I began working carefully with Michael Kagan at ICM (who leads the company’s unscripted division), and when the concept to begin my very own shingle arose, the 2 of us started laying out the roadmap of what the corporate may very well be, what it may grow to be, what my objectives have been and the kind of content material we’d be trying to deliver to patrons.
From there, Jeff Jenkins Productions actually was constructed round three essential pillars: recent expertise, the best high quality of storytelling, and – maybe, most significantly – glorious customer support. We’re all the time aiming to serve patrons’ wants and make their lives as straightforward as doable.
You run the corporate alongside 3BMG’s CEO Ross Weintraub and 3BMG function co-producers stemming from the three way partnership. What introduced in regards to the choice to launch JJP in partnership with 3BMG?
As soon as the general technique was outlined, I went by this thrilling interval during which I met with a variety of potential companions and business leaders to debate JJP and what I hoped to perform. After assembly with Ross and Reinout at 3BMG, my instincts stated, ‘That is it.’ They have been instantly supportive and understood what I hoped to attain, they usually had constructed this unbelievable setting at 3BMG the place they’ve set producers as much as flourish. I’m in a position to give attention to artistic – producing new concepts, growing ideas and codecs, working with expertise – figuring out that I’ve the total assist of the 3BMG infrastructure, together with modifying bays, authorized, HR, a top-class manufacturing workforce and different full-time employees.
Constructing a brand new firm from scratch could be a daunting endeavor, so this partnership has actually helped JJP blow previous numerous the would-be challenges and obstacles to set us up for fulfillment. It’s been probably the most supportive and great experiences I’ve encountered on this enterprise.
With that in thoughts, what are the obstacles you’ve confronted alongside the best way when it comes to being a smaller firm making an attempt to make your mark in a aggressive business?
In the meanwhile, we’re lucky sufficient to be ready the place we’re rising – our slate’s increasing, and we have now extra initiatives within the works with extra patrons – so there are the pure rising pains that include that. The 2 essential departments we’re trying to construct proper now are our growth and present groups, and naturally, you’re all the time trying to stability that inside progress with gross sales.
Jeff Jenkins Productions is targeted on docuseries and codecs, in addition to celebrity-driven unscripted applications. Do you may have a guidelines in thoughts if you’re approaching a mission to make it match the JJP mould?
Our enterprise is 50-75% centered on massive title expertise who’ve by no means earlier than shared their lives within the documentary tv house.
Total, something we take out ought to fall throughout the realm of popular culture, whether or not that’s music, athletics, crime, movie or TV. I wish to suppose we do the “enjoyable” stuff – content material that may mix glamour, pleasure, comedy and romance – every little thing we contact exists on this very bubbly and recent popular culture universe. And that takes many shapes; we plan to share these tales by many various lenses, genres and codecs.
We’re additionally pondering globally. Proper now, we’re in enterprise with expertise within the U.S., India, Hong Kong and Dubai, amongst different nations.
What’s your technique in the case of breaking by the muddle and succeeding in a aggressive market?
It was a unique panorama 14 years in the past once we developed Conserving Up with the Kardashians, however our pleasure in creating that sequence was figuring out the present had that particular recipe wanted to chop by the muddle.
For JJP, it’s about two issues – bringing patrons alternatives to work with a few of the largest names in popular culture who’re additionally new to unscripted; and spotlighting vibrant new worlds that haven’t beforehand been explored by actuality TV. We have now a number of upcoming initiatives that do exactly that, together with a Netflix sequence that includes an ensemble that provides an especially recent perspective to the unscripted house.
What else is within the pipeline now at Jeff Jenkins Productions?
We have now our docuseries Unfiltered: Paris Jackson and Gabriel Glenn obtainable now on Fb Watch, and within the pipeline we have now: two ensemble docuseries at Netflix, one other ensemble docuseries piloting at Lifetime, in addition to new codecs within the works with Lifetime and TLC – amongst different initiatives in varied levels of manufacturing and growth.
You have got greater than 20 years of unscripted business expertise and have previously served as co-president at Bunim/Murray. How has your previous employment, and your work on the Kardashians franchise and The Easy Life, knowledgeable your work now as a enterprise proprietor?
I look again at my time at Bunim/Murray, and when it comes to the liberty, encouragement and assist I used to be supplied by Jon and the workforce, it’s similar to my present setup at JJP.
I used to be in a position to domesticate the superstar/popular culture model inside their shingle, and, basically, hone my specialty within the actuality TV panorama. I used to be very fortunate to have their mentorship at such an early stage in my profession, and I discovered rather a lot throughout my time at Bunim/Murray, together with find out how to handle a artistic workforce.
There are such a lot of experiences and takeaways from my time there that carry over into the best way I function immediately. For instance, when cracking the artistic for a brand new present, my first cease is all the time, ‘Are we doing one thing completely different and the way will this serve patrons’ wants?’ And I’m all the time maintaining potential spin-offs and franchise expansions prime of thoughts, figuring out that it needs to be natural. A spin-off must be compelling sufficient by itself, with out taking something away from the mothership sequence.
When you take a look at the Kardashians franchise, every spin-off shifted focus and tone, and introduced viewers one thing new. You’ll be able to’t merely repeat your flagship in a brand new location.
What protocols are you following in returning to work within the manufacturing sector amid the present pandemic?
Completely different initiatives require completely different concerns, however for all, we’re following the suggestions of medical professionals and governance when it comes to PPE, social distancing and common testing (and re-testing).
Additionally, a significant subject of debate now could be capturing location, as we’re after all all the time searching for the most secure and most controllable environments.
How do you suppose these disruptions will influence small and unbiased manufacturing homes within the long-term?
I’m an individual that sometimes likes to be within the room for a gathering or pitch. I get pleasure from that human interplay, and it’s definitely been missed over these previous months. Nevertheless, I don’t suppose I’m going to interrupt any information to anybody by saying that video conferencing is right here to remain – and that’s after all not particular to indie producers. It’s simply extra environment friendly in so some ways, not the least of which is the time it saves everybody – nobody is driving throughout city, sitting in visitors, and so forth.
Total, the trail ahead at JJP would definitely appear extra overwhelming if we weren’t partnered with 3BMG. We’re in a position to lean on their workforce for assist in implementing new protocols and strategizing every new mission, whereas I do know I’d be going through extra intense pressures if I have been fully out alone.
That’s why I’d extremely suggest that method for different indies. Discover a associate that believes in what you’re doing, will permit you the liberty to execute and might assist your efforts at each flip.