John Meindl | Executive Producer, Sports Branded Media
The Television Writers Vault continues its series of interviews with key executives in the entertainment industry, bringing our Writers an exclusive glimpse of the inner workings of Hollywood. We’re pleased to welcome John Meindl, President, Sports Branded Media, and member of The TV Writers Vault.
TVWV: Thank you for sharing your time with us, John. Can you please describe for our readers the function and focus of Sports Branded Media?
MEINDL: We are the first company to specialize in sports product placement – working on the production side offering sports-specific solutions for advertisers. The scope of our company has grown to include sports coordination and production financing through sponsorship dollars.
TVWV: As prexy of your company, how involved are you in the development process when taking on a new project for packaging?
MEINDL: I am completely involved – working as part of all productions from the start, and helping to coordinate all of the sports elements and sports related sponsorship / product placement.
TVWV: What got you into the industry, and what keeps you going?
MEINDL: Where I am today is really a culmination of many of the things I have done previously; owner of a sporting goods company, retired athlete, former college head coach, professor of sports marketing- sports and entertainment entrepreneur. I am a cross between a visionary and a task master- and I truly would not know what to do unless I had 10 things going on at once.
TVWV: It’s a fascinating approach to packaging projects for sale that you have. How much does having advertisers involved in a project before approaching a network make a difference in a network considering its viability.
MEINDL: Having the commitment of major advertisers / sponsors is always a great help.
TVWV: How has the development and programming landscape changed over the past 5 years?
MEINDL: Reality TV has completely changed everything…..
TVWV: How do you see the role of reality-based shows in programming 5 years from now?
MEINDL: I think we are close to capacity – and that we will see a more scripted work in the years to come.
TVWV: How much of Hollywood is “idea driven”, and how much is pre-packaged formula?
MEINDL: It is a mixture of both finding the right idea to fit into proven formulas – coupled with innovative new programming formats.
TVWV: When taking a meeting with a Writer or Producer to discuss potential projects, what are some things you’re hoping to find in that person or project?
MEINDL: Modesty, Creativity, Realism, Intestinal Fortitude and the ability to not take themselves too seriously.
TVWV: How many projects do you have your hands in at any given time?
TVWV: Without giving away any confidential information, can you give us any insight into new projects you have in the works?
MEINDL: Every original production that contains sporting elements. We have a ton of good projects coming down the pike.
TVWV: Looking at a season of programming and development, is there any period you slow down in shopping for new properties?
MEINDL: No –
TVWV: What percentage of your day is spent managing your current projects, versus generating new ones?
MEINDL: 60 percent managing current projects, 40 percent scouting and developing new ones.
TVWV: Is it easier for a writer to break into the industry with a reality-based concept, or a scripted show?
MEINDL: If what you have is really good, it will work regardless of format.
TVWV: What makes a great reality-based concept for today’s market?
MEINDL: The ability to find and display pure unfounded talent.
TVWV: What advice can you give to a writer who is relatively new to the industry?
MEINDL: Do your homework, ask questions, network, do more homework and be tenacious as hell – all the while continuing to improve your craft.
TVWV: Looking at how the TV Writers Vault functions, how important of a service do you feel it is for Writers?
MEINDL: I believe it is extremely valuable!
TVWV: What are you a fan of on television today?
MEINDL: The 11o’clock news, MASH reruns, Grey’s Anatomy, Real Sports
TVWV: Thanks for your insight, John, and thanks for supporting The Television Writers Vault.