VP, Nonfiction, Topic Studios

The Position:

The VP, Nonfiction, Topic Studios will oversee the development, production, investment, packaging, and go to market strategy for Topic Studios on Nonfiction series and feature documentaries, with a focus on Series. The VP will create and execute the creative/editorial vision and strategy for Nonfiction Programming, and oversee a slate of premium unscripted series and several docs. This role will be a thought leader for the Studio’s Unscripted strategy and partner with the EVP, Topic Studios in shaping and driving the business within overall Studio strategy. Along with Studio verticals in TV, Film and Podcasts, Nonfiction will align with Topic Studios’ creative vision and revenue goals. With deep filmmaker, buyer, and agent relationships within the doc community, and an understanding of the nonfiction buyers and audience viewing habits, the VP will commission ongoing and limited shows, oversee development and current production, source feature opportunities for Topic to invest in and produce feature docs and shows that will break through the noise in the current marketplace, and scale the business as we grow it. Strategy and slate will be more heavily skewed toward Series than single features, and the ideal candidate’s skills will mirror this focus, with experience running ongoing episodic Series. 

The role will report to the EVP, Topic Studios who is located in New York City. The VP of Nonfiction, Topic Studios will further build the company’s presence in the Documentary community, and establish and lead an intimate department.

The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of running successful, high-end nonfiction series and finding and overseeing acclaimed documentary features either at a production company or premium outlet; sophisticated taste and superior development skills; be a self-starter with a book of existing filmmaker relationships, and producer and buyer contacts that enable them to hit the ground running; possess the desire and drive to build a brand and a slate; excellent communication skills; and will thrive in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment. 

The VP, Nonfiction, Topic Studios position can be based in either NY or LA.

Responsibilities:

  • Create an editorial vision for a Nonfiction slate of the highest quality that creates a distinctive voice, character and brand for Topic Studios. 
  • Curate and oversee a slate of ambitious, premium nonfiction storytelling, including episodic, limited/anthology and film formats.
  • Cultivate talent and creators that help shape Topic voice/brand, build lasting relationships with directors, producers, talent, production partners and buyers, and further establish Topic Studios as a destination for creators of premium nonfiction content.
  • Ideate and initiate projects around subject matter of interest and relevance to curious and diverse audiences; solicit and evaluate pitches and submissions
  • Develop projects with creative goals first, and with an eye toward market strategy from inception; guide programming to buyers/distributors for sale.
  • Manage entire process on projects from pitch to delivery, including communicating notes on footage and cuts, hiring producers and attending shoots as needed, and ensuring that projects are delivered on time and on budget
  • Identify and cultivate new and existing talent from diverse communities, platforms and outlets, including emerging creators
  • Partner with other First Look Media verticals to source and create Nonfiction projects derived from proprietary IP.
  • Oversee budget for the Nonfiction department
  • work with internal production teams on creation of decks, sizzles, and promo materials
  • Coordinate marketing & PR with distributors, talent, prodcos, and internal marketing/PR teams  

 Background & Qualifications:

  • Self-starter with proven ability to build and run a sector of a business.
  • Minimum 8 years of experience in the documentary series and/or feature space, with more weight given to Series. 
  • Minimum 5 years in a producer, creative executive, or seller capacity in the space, and preferably experience in each of the three roles.
  • Proven track record working with creative talent through the creative process, end to end
  • Specific production and development experience in nonfiction series and features
  • In depth experience with managing production, budgets, etc.
  • Excellent knowledge of streamers, networks and doc distributors and strong relationships with buyers
  • General knowledge of film and television media landscape, including social media platforms and overarching trends in video consumption.
  • Willingness to travel to New York City, Los Angeles and other locations as needed.
  • Comfortable with a high degree of autonomy 
  • Command of directors, producers, production companies, and talent in the space as potential attachments and partners, good eye for talent
  • A strong creative presence that possesses a strategic mind-set and has the ability to promote a collaborative environment.
  • Experience in generating and taking pitches 
  • Creative storytelling expertise and extensive hands-on experience giving notes to creators on doc materials and cuts. 
  • Comfort with a wide range of genres of material 

About Topic Studios 

Topic is the ambitious new storytelling brand and entertainment studio from First Look Media, dedicated to supporting creators at the forefront of culture. From Academy Award®-winning films (Spotlight) to television, audio and documentaries, we explore a wide range of subject matter, both fiction and nonfiction with an emphasis on stories of consequence that explore the issues of our time. Our approach – challenging, compelling and unconventional – reflects our commitment to discovering and amplifying independent new voices and supporting established ones.

About First Look Media

First Look Media is a new-model media company devoted to supporting independent voices, from fearless investigative journalism and documentary filmmaking to smart, provocative entertainment. Launched in 2013 by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, First Look Media was created with the belief that independent perspectives are vital to both a vibrant culture and a thriving democracy. 

First Look Media is currently in the market with its flagship properties, The Intercept, Field of Vision, and the recently launched Topic SVOD service, and plans to continue expanding its mission of supporting independent voices via a variety of new brands, formats and platforms as well as through foundational technology helping creators and audiences develop, distribute, discover and connect with meaningful stories.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer--people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBT candidates are strongly encouraged to apply; we are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities. Informing a large, diverse audience is a core principle of our work, so we’re committed to building a team that reflects that diversity.  


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