NEW YORK — A poignant drama featuring a New York City family on the verge of divorce that relocates to a small dairy farm in New England and a sharp-edged sitcom about an aging, curmudgeonly father who is suddenly reunited with his grown son beat the competition in the second Search for America’s Newest Scriptwriter Contest, the nation’s only free competition for aspiring television storytellers.
The contest was the result of a unique partnership between the Association of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE), the consortium of leading national advertisers who have brought to air such TV hits as Friday Night Lights, Chuck, and Ugly Betty, and production powerhouse Overbrook Entertainment, whose long list of hits includes I, Robot, Hitch, I Am Legend, and The Karate Kid, among many others.
The initiative is a revolutionary new model between brands and content creators to increase the number of quality family programming options in what Overbrook partner Will Smith called “the next generation for the creation of family entertainment.”
The one-hour drama Grand Prize winner, “New Ground,” written by Jamie Mayer, centers on a high-energy, somewhat dysfunctional family from New York City—a mom and dad on the verge of divorce, and their two adolescent kids—that uproot to a small dairy farm in the Berkshires and have to learn how to merge their urban lifestyles with the relaxed pace of a country town.
“All American Mini Mall,” the Grand Prize winner in the half-hour comedy category and written by Lorenzo Matawaran, revolves around a strip mall that houses the most diverse collection of minority-owned stores in the City of Los Angeles and its owner, a conniving, comedic Filipino-Scottish curmudgeon. When his estranged son returns after ten years, he suddenly finds himself juggling unexpected family emotions along with a changing work style.
The month-long contest launched in February of this year. The contest drew almost 62,000 visitors to its website, and more than 1,800 scripts were submitted. Those results soared past the numbers for the inaugural contest, which drew 10,000 visitors to the website and generated 235 qualified original scripts. (The first contest was for solely half-hour original comedies.) This year’s contest was promoted via public relations, social media/blogger outreach, and a highly targeted advertising campaign, which included launch-day home page takeovers at Deadline Hollywood, Variety, and the Hollywood Reporter.
“As both family brand marketers and parents, we are proud to be part of this effort to discover, develop and, hopefully, launch great new programming about the most universal subject of all: family,” said Gail Tifford, Unilever senior director of media, North America and ANA Alliance co-chair. “The results of this contest underscore what we have been saying since the AFE began: smart, sophisticated family stories are out there. Consumers want them, and marketers want to support them.”
Producer and Overbrook co-founder James Lassiter added, “Finding and developing new family stories is not just good business for advertisers but for content creators as well. The success of the contest illustrates that brands and producers can and should work together. This was not just a great scriptwriter contest; it was also proof of concept for a new business model.”
Ben Simon, Alliance co-chair and senior director of brand marketing for Walmart, noted that “We need to expand the pipeline for family content on all platforms to make our advertising work harder and more efficiently.”
About the ANA and the ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment
Founded in 1910, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) leads the marketing community by providing its members with insights, collaboration, and advocacy. The ANA includes more than 500 companies with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing communications and advertising. The ANA strives to communicate marketing best practices, lead industry initiatives, influence industry practices, manage industry affairs, and advance, promote, and protect all advertisers and marketers. For more information, visit http://www.ana.net, follow us on Twitter, join us on Facebook, or visit our YouTube channel.
The Alliance for Family Entertainment is a group of nearly 40 national advertisers supported by the ANA that represents 37 percent of all U.S. television advertising dollars. Its mission is to find, nurture, develop, and support high-quality content the entire family can enjoy on multiple distribution platforms.
About Overbrook Entertainment
Overbrook Entertainment’s partners James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith & Will Smith are committed to offering extraordinary entertainment art to a global audience in film and television, producing a diverse slate of both critically acclaimed and blockbuster feature films, which have generated more than $2.5 billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts.
Some of Overbrook’s most successful projects include ALI, HITCH, PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, I AM LEGEND, HANCOCK, the Tony-nominated FELA!, and, most recently, THE KARATE KID. Overbrook is also producing Queen Latifah’s syndicated daytime talk show with Sony Pictures Television, slated to debut this fall on CBS and its affiliate networks.
ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment
CooperKatz & Company for the ANA
SOURCE Alliance for Family Entertainment