This program brings together aspiring content creators to learn about “The Art of the Pitch,” features a panel discussion on diversity in media and a live pitch session with critiques from industry representatives.
Online program with partner host Professor Jacqueline Guzda at Western Connecticut State University:
April 28th, 5:00pm - 6:30pm
PitchCT Program Agenda
5:00 Welcome - Professor Jacqueline Guzda, Ph.D., Western Connecticut State University
5:05 Opening Remarks - Felix Sanchez, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts & Deidre Tavera, Connecticut Public
5:15 Panel: Diversity in Media: Building a Career, Amplifying Voices
In today’s crowded media landscape, a career in journalism, media, film and entertainment can take many forms. This panel of industry professionals from a variety of backgrounds will share how they navigated the path to where they are today and what tips helped get them there. As we seek to strengthen diverse voices, perspectives and experiences in media andentertainment, our panelists will share what excites them about the future of media and storytelling and the opportunity to elevate diversity in the field.
Panelists: Esai Morales, actor known for his roles in La Bamba, NYPD Blue, Caprica, and Ozark; George Norfleet, Director of the state of Connecticut’s Office of Film, Television and Digital Media; Yolande Spears, Senior Vice President of Education and Community Initiatives at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts; Felix Sanchez, Chairman and Co-founder, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts; Moderator: Deidre Tavera, Senior Vice President for Development, Connecticut Public
5:45-5:55 Q and A with Panel
5:55-6:05 The Art of the Pitch with Carol Sisco, Vice President and Executive Director of Programming & Acquisitions at Connecticut Public
The Art of the Pitch will provide tips on the process of constructing successful content pitches.From original concept development to the creation of a compelling treatment, the development of pithy loglines to well-articulated episode arcs, learn from a successful TV programmer as to what producers, directors, and investors look for in a pitch. Carol Sisco, Vice President and Executive Director of Programming & Acquisitions at Connecticut Public Broadcasting, has years of experience both turning down and green lighting projects.
6:05-6:10 Q and A
6:10 Student-Creator Pitch and Panel Feedback
6:20 Student-Creator Pitch and Panel Feedback
6:30 Wrap Up and Thank You!
Award-winning actor Esai Morales is recognized as one of the most talented and relevant actors in Hollywood. Since his feature film debut in Bad Boys, Morales has continuously offered performances that strongly resonate in the hearts and minds of a diverse and international audience. His breakthrough role in La Bamba made him a star, contributing to making the film the most commercially successful Latino-themed Rock biopic of all time. To this day, his role as Bob Morales continues to uptrend in major social media sites.
In 1997 Esai Morales co-founded the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, created to advance the presence of Latinos in the media, telecommunications and entertainment industries. The NHFA has provided scholarships to hundreds of Hispanic students in excess of 1 million dollars.
Theater performances include Oscar Wilde's Salome with Al Pacino (Broadway) Joe Papp's production of The Tempest with Raul Julia (New York's Shakespeare in the Park Festival) Tamer of Horses (Los Angeles Theater Center) The Exonerated, directed by Bob Balaban and his musical theater debut on The Mambo Kings.
Film credits include Bad Boys, La Bamba, Rapa Nui, Mi Familia, Fast Food Nation, Paid in Full, The Line, Atlas Shrugged: Part II, Jarhead II: Field of Fire, The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca and Gun Hill Road a film he starred and executive produced. The film was a grand Jury Nominee at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011.
Television credits comprise the Emmy award-winning series NYPD BLUE (ABC) Resurrection Blvd (Showtime) American Family (PBS) Miami Vice (NBC) Fame (NBC) Law and Order: SVU (NBC) The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story (HBO) Vanished (FOX) Burn Notice (USA) Jericho (CBS) Caprica (Syfy) Fairly Legal (USA) Criminal Minds (CBS) Major Crimes (TNT) and Saving Westbrook High, The Brink (HBO), Chicago PD (NBC), How to Get Away with Murder (ABC) and Ozark (Netflix)
George Norfleet is the Director of the state of Connecticut’s Office of Film, Television and Digital Media. He began his professional career in advertising before moving into commercial and then feature film production. He has worked on films and television shows helmed by many of Hollywood's top directors and producers, consulted on tax, finance and production structures for film and television productions and spoken on tax incentives atCineposiums, seminars and film industry conferences across the United States. As the Director of Connecticut’s Office of Film, Television & Digital Media, George oversees all of the office's programs and operations and focuses the state's resources on marketing Connecticut as a prime destination for film, television, entertainment and digital media companies to conduct production operations or to establish a locus in the state from which to do business. George is also a member of Connecticut Public Media’s board of trustees.
For over 25 years, Felix has worked at the intersection of politics and entertainment, promoting Hispanic and other diverse voices in the media. He co-founded the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) in 1997 with actors Jimmy Smits, Sonia Braga, Esai Morales, andMerel Julia. The organization seeks to advance the presence of Latinos in the media, telecommunications and entertainment industries. Since its inception, NHFA has served the nation through diversity promotion, groundbreaking studies, graduate school scholarships, talent and content development, patronizing the arts, promoting civil rights in the digital age, training corporations, and monitoring the media. Felix has also served on national Presidential campaigns and worked on the Hill.
As station manager for Connecticut Public’s three television networks – CPTV, CPTV Spirit, and CPTV Create — Carol is responsible for the development and implementation of multimedia programming and promotion strategies to increase viewer engagement, advance educational and community outreach and create new content opportunities. She has held a variety of positions at corporations throughout Connecticut including Bristol Hospital, LIMRA International, and WVIT-NBC30 and has over 15 years of experience in advertising, marketing communications, producing, and multimedia. Carol is also an adjunct professor of communications at the University of Connecticut.
Yolande Spears is Senior Vice President of Education & Community Initiatives at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Connecticut’s premiere performance venue for Broadway theatre, music, dance, children's theatre, Hartford Symphony discovery concerts and special events. As SVP, of Education, she co-created The Bushnell’s award winning arts in education program, PARTNERS. The program, which provides arts opportunities that are integrated into language arts and social studies curriculum for students of all ages, is the recipient of numerous awards, among them a prestigious Dawson Award. The PARTNERS _program has also received recognition for its outstanding work from The National Endowment for the Arts, the US Department of Education, the Connecticut Quality Innovative Award, and the Connecticut Department of Education. Additionally, PARTNERS _was one of several organizations profiled in the Dana Foundation’s 2003 publication, Acts of Achievement, This report highlighted the top ten performing arts centers and others for their arts integration programming work in schools as well as the overall community. Yolande is also an award-winning author, for her book, “The Gift: How Music and Family Saved a Young Girl.” She was awarded the National Grand Prize for excellence in children’s literature. In 2017, Yolande received the Milestone Award from The National Guild for Community Arts Education and in 2018, she received the Outstanding Women in Business Award.
Deidre Tavera serves as Senior Vice President for Development at Connecticut Public, overseeing a multi-level development plan including membership, major giving, special fundraising events, grants and foundations and legacy giving. Previously, Deidre was the Chief Engagement and Partnership Officer for Hartford Public Schools overseeing strategic and program planning, community partnerships, fundraising, internal and external communications and district events. She has worked for 30 years with many nonprofit and community-based organizations including as a senior leader at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, Connecticut where she oversaw strategic planning, the design of an award-winning arts education program, the start-up of a human resources department, and the design of a community venture to reach the elder market. Deidre is a Board member of Hartford Performs, a collaborative initiative between Hartford Public Schools and the larger community supporting arts in education throughout Hartford, as well as, Hartford Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing college scholarships and support services for Hartford students that lead to college success.
The event is organized by the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts and Connecticut Public.
The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts is a nonprofit organization that advances the presence of Latinos as well as other diverse voices in the media, telecommunications and entertainment industries. The Foundation began by concentrating on increasing access for Hispanic artists and professionals and also fosters the emergence of new talent from diverse communities. It started the Quorum Call model and has expanded it beyond Latino audiences. The group was founded in 1997 by Jimmy Smits, Sonia Bragia, Esai Morales and Felix Sanchez.
Connecticut Public is home to Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) and Connecticut Public Radio (WNPR). Together, Connecticut Public serves nearly one million citizens each month through Connecticut Public Radio and Connecticut Public Television, as well as through our many digital and online platforms. Through our mission to inform, educate and inspire the people of Connecticut, we connect people of all ages to high quality journalism, storytelling, education and experiences, and amplify the voices of our diverse communities. Connecticut Public is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with a $20 million annual budget, funded primarily through community support from individuals, foundations and corporate sponsors.