John Legend, America Ferrera, Stacey Abrams Set for A Day of Unreasonable Conversation
The new ideas summit, slated to take place March 25 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, will connect TV writers and content creators to current thought leaders.
A new ideas summit tailored specifically for Hollywood content creators is coming to Los Angeles next month.
A Day of Unreasonable Conversation, set to take place March 25 at the Getty Center, will offer a mix of topical panels, keynote speeches and breakout sessions designed to inform and educate TV writers on the most relevant issues of the day in order to help them craft accurate characters and storylines that reflect them.
"Whether it's Davos or Aspen or the Clinton Global Initiative, most industries and sectors have gatherings where you get to exchange big ideas in a cross-sector way, but there's not a place like that in the entertainment community for content creators who really are shaping much of what we think and how we perceive each other," says event creator Greg Propper, president of social impact agency Propper Daley. "The idea is not to pitch characters or stories, but to engage in a conversation infused with new ideas and perspectives, so that little switches are flipped in our brains and we all go back to our day jobs thinking a little differently about issues and people."
The curated lineup will include John Legend discussing modern segregation with former Georgia gubernatorial candidate (and SOTU Democratic responder) Stacey Abrams, former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu and New York Times investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones; America Ferrera talking about immigration and forced migration; and War Dogs and The Hangover producer Scott Budnick facilitating a conversation about criminal justice with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Florida Rights Restoration Coalition president Desmond Meade, who went from inmate to law school graduate and now works to re-enfranchise former felons. Other confirmed participants include retired U.S. Army general Stanley McChrystal, Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff, conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan, New York Times columnist David Brooks and The New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb.
Organizations such as Color of Change, Define American and Harness, which have been offering story consulting and script integration services to Hollywood for years, are participating in the event and will be available during interactive sessions for writers who want to workshop specific storylines or characters they're working on. Propper says that all participants will be provided with a resource guide with contact information for these groups, so that they can develop deeper relationships with them on an ongoing basis.
A Day of Unreasonable Conversation is invite-only, and because of the focus on topical timeliness and relevancy, the target audience of 325 or so writers, producers and executives will all be working on a show that is either on the air or in production this year. The host committee of nearly two dozen network heads and producers, including Disney Television Group Studios/ABC Entertainment chair Dana Walden, Warner Bros. TV president Peter Roth, Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, mega-producer Greg Berlanti and Vida creator Tanya Saracho, have been tasked with identifying 15 to 25 individuals to invite, and other interested attendees can join the wait list here.
The Ford Foundation is presenting the event, and other major funders include 21st Century Fox, Citrone 33 Foundation, Luminate, Annenberg Foundation, Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Pop Culture Collaborative. The Hollywood Reporter and Axios are serving as media partners.
"Our hope is that if we do our job right, this will become something that writers and content creators who have a show on the air look forward to attending each year," says Propper, "because it will help inform how they think about issues and people and characters, in a way that might be different than the narratives that they're used to seeing and reading about on the news."