#AWFCHAT with Mike Thomas, Executive-in-Charge of Production at Turner Studios

#AWFCHAT with Mike Thomas, Executive-in-Charge of Production at Turner Studios

Written by: Catherine Satcher

Last week we had Mike Thomas  join us for our weekly tweet chat. If you don’t know Mike, he is the Executive-in-Charge of Production at Turner Studios. Over the years Mike has created and produced a number of award winning projects from digital to broadcast. He’s produced projects for TNT, TBS, CNN, and Adult Swim.  Mike shared his insights on pitching, getting your work out there, and the future of the digital world. Mike started off his chat by telling us  that there are no secrets to a successful show! Cool. But the dirty secret? Marketing is (almost) as important as content and being consistent.

Needless to say, he had us hooked.


Mike also told us something very interesting about getting your content out there…

“Things have changed thanks to the Interweb – studios come looking rather than producers go begging”


So what are these studios looking for?

“What are studios looking for? Huge number of followers. young demographic. the ability to deliver constantly”

“ YouTube, et.al. have hurt and helped indie producers. How do you break thru? work – work – work.”

“Fact is, the studios are scurrying too. Sometimes I think it’s throwing magnets at the fridge hoping something sticks”


How to pitch your web series? 

What advice would you give to a web series or producer when it comes to pitching their project to a studio?

“Pitch advice? Be succinct. Be passionate. Prove you can execute consistently. learn the business need.”


Rose of Dolls asked ….

Studios have to adapt, but don’t want to. I get this feeling when I watch their WS, do you?

 “The hardest thing to pitch is a new idea. Risk scares the heck out of the studios. That said – Be true to you”


Would you recommend bringing in research to support your series when pitching? Specifically for new new ideas?

“Great question. Yes. The best research is a large number of views in the right demo.”


What is the business need and why is it important to studios?

“The studios are in it for the money and the right demo. A&E cancelled ‘Longmire’ because of age of the viewer too old”

“It’s lightning in a bottle 98% of pitches never have a chance.”


What are your thoughts about the future of digital entertainment, and how do web series creators need to prepare?

“The future of digital is mobile, TV everywhere, wearables – I want to be entertained anywhere, anytime”


 Mobile & wearables. Got it! This may be a stretch, but how do techies get a piece of the pie? Can they pitch too? 

“Anyone can pitch. Think of it as a job interview – prepare prepare prepare”

3 Things to remember from Mike Thomas:

1. Everybody was a nobody first

2. Create something you care about. Don’t try to create what ‘they’ want ’cause they don’t know.

3. The best advice is keep honing your work. partner with each other. attend webfests. Enter competitions

Want more leadership inspiration? Want to know more about Mike Thomas and what he has to say? Check out THE DAILY BOSS blog.


Thank you to all who participated in this tweet chat. We look forward to having you join us for our next chat on Tuesday, September 23 with Nickelodeon’s  Jeff Luppino-Esposito as he discusses creating cross platform content.