New York Festivals Television & Film Awards recruits their award-winning panel of judges comprised of creative media professions from around the world to select the World’s Best TV & Films. This week’s Grand Jury Confidential finds us talking with Bill McCullough, Executive Producer, for GoPro.
As Executive Producer for the Entertainment division at GoPro, Bill is responsible for programming and producing the Sports and Motor Sports verticals. He oversees all content, production and staffing as well as creative and content development. As former Vice President of Creative Development & Operations for HBO Sports, Bill was responsible for creating the look and feel of HBO Sports and its franchises – HBO Boxing, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, 24/7 & The Fight Game with Jim Lampley.
In this interview, Mr. McCullough shares his views on what’s happening in the world of branded content and storytelling, his transition from HBO Sports to GoPro, and what he’s most excited about seeing when judging the 2016 TV & Film Awards.
New York Festivals: You’re working for GoPro , known for being one of the biggest branded content success stories, why did they recruit you and what do you hope to accomplish for the brand?
Bill McCullough: We both like to tell great stories. GoPro is an amazing brand that has really moved the needle not only in the world of capturing breathtaking video, but also in the world of telling compelling stories. Their first person perspective provides a fresh look at sports and life that we have never been able to experience up until now. To harness that energy and creativity and take it to the next level is a challenge that I am totally up for. My goal is to continue to cultivate the magic that naturally exists at GoPro, sprinkle in even better storytelling and produce content that inspires and motivates people of all ages.
New York Festivals: Previously you worked as vice president of creative development and operations for HBO Sports, what was the transition like going from HBO Sports to producing GoPro’s extreme team sports videos and motor sports videos? Any challenges?
Bill McCullough: The entire entertainment industry is going through a huge shift right now. People are consuming content in much different ways than they have in even the past five years. HBO is an amazing brand but it certainly falls into the more traditional television category, whereas GoPro is a company that is on the cutting edge of this movement. With GoPro’s massive user community the amount of content that is available to work with is daunting, which is not a bad thing at all.
New York Festivals: In a recent interview you mentioned that “GoPro’s technology makes it possible to tell some of those other stories that are harder to capture with the way traditional TV production works.” What type of stories do you hope to tell, can you give us a preview?
Bill McCullough: Because of the convenient size of the GoPRo cameras, filmmakers are able to work with their subjects in a more intimate fashion. For some reason, most people tend to act differently when a camera crew is present. Whether it’s the camera in their face or the audio boom overhead, trying to maintain authenticity becomes difficult. But with GoPro, the cameras are virtually invisible. This results in more natural behavior from the subject being filmed and it comes across as pure and genuine. This is what resonates with viewers and makes for an authentic viewing experience.
New York Festivals: As a NYF Grand Jury member, you will view programs, films and promos from entrants from networks and production companies around the globe. What are you most excited to see/judge in terms of recent trends?
Bill McCullough: There is so much talent in the world these days and I’m excited to see how people tell stories in different ways. Unlike my generation, this younger generation grew up with cameras in hand, editing software on their laptops, and a fundamental knowledge of media and how it works. This certainly makes for better film making which results in better storytelling and an overall better viewer experience.