Imagine Impact: Discover Ron Howard’s global boot camp for content creators
Today marks a big day for director Ron Howard, as he introduces the anticipated Solo: A Star Wars Story at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. However, we’re here to turn our spotlight away from the Star Wars buzz and towards an intriguing new force Howard is launching along with Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer. Named Imagine Impact, the new program is designed to transform strong content ideas into successes in narrative and documentary film, TV, VR, and other platforms and the great part about it is the pair plan on carrying out the initiative in locations across the world.
According to Deadline, Imagine Impact is a fully funded global content accelerator program that is set to start off in Los Angeles this fall before moving further afield to locations in Latin America, the UK, the Middle East, and China. “Its core is an eight-week creative boot camp that will discover new voices and empower content creators and narrative storytellers from around the world.”
As the latest in a long line of new initiatives built to help the world’s most promising and talented content producers get their foot in the door of an otherwise impossibly difficult industry, Imagine Impact has a unique edge with its intensive training program that sheds light on the deal-making process. Howard told Deadline, “The demand for content is at unprecedented levels, but the barriers to entry are still great . . . As much as content and platforms have evolved, the way that we develop content has largely remained the same. As the demand for premium content is exploding around the world, we believe that now is the perfect time to innovate the way we develop.”
What makes this a unique program is that Howard, Grazer, and their executive Tyler Mitchell have based the boot camp on Y Combinator, a highly successful model for funding early stage Silicon Valley startups. Budding entrepreneurs nurture their ideas in a boot camp before facing up to 1,ooo venture capitalists who invest in the products or ideas they think show the most promise. “Imagine Impact will apply that 8-week boot camp formula to the creative medium,” reported Deadline, with Y Combinator’s Paul Graham and Sam Altman helping to shape Impact as it gets off the ground.
The preliminary program titled Impact 1 will launch in LA this September, where 20 chosen creators will work with five Shapers – a group of industry professionals who’ll meet regularly with their creators to help fine-tune their ideas into first draft scripts. The creators will be selected from a vetting process that starts with an online application (keep an eye out for more details to come), and will be given a weekly salary to keep them going so they can concentrate on working for their potentially career-making work. Once the eight-week boot camp is done, the creators can then present their projects to Imagine and if none of the industry figures are interested in purchasing, they’re free to take their work and pitch it to other companies. Howard, Grazer, and Mitchell hope to eventually roll out the program to run multiple times per year in the aforementioned regions.
Grazer spoke to Deadline about how the creation of a TV show, film, or documentary is similar to building a startup. “You start from a white sheet of paper and you have to create value and build something out of nothing. After meeting Sam Altman, who runs Y Combinator, the world’s preeminent startup accelerator, we felt that we could apply their operating principles to content creation. By codifying our institutional knowledge, connections, and expertise over the past 30 years, we believe Imagine Impact will position artists and their stories for success in an increasingly crowded marketplace that’s difficult to penetrate.”