NEXT!, the creative brainchild of Kansas City-based casting director Heather Laird took top honors in the Comedic Webisode category at the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) LATV Fest in Los Angeles.
NEXT! was one of only three finalists selected. The web-based comedy was announced as the winning entry during the LATV Fest July 14.
Laird created the comedy web series in an effort to showcase her work as an emerging director, choosing the internet as her medium.
“Getting a foot in the Hollywood door is an enormous challenge,” she said. “The internet has become a way for some to slip in through the back.”
Laird partnered with T2 + Back Alley Films owner Teri Rogers as Executive Producer to create six, six-minute web episodes.
“It’s a faux reality series,” said Laird. “It’s a fictional realty show that tracks the trials and tribulations of real-life casting director John Jackson.”
Jackson, who is the primary casting director for the award winning director Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election, About Schmidt), also has a long acting resume under the stage name of “John Durbin”.
Other Kansas City companies who lent production support to the project include Liquid 9 and Wheeler Audio.
A Hollywood mainstay, NATPE is dedicated to the “creation, development and distribution of televised programming”. The annual NATPE Market & Conference is considered to be the largest trade show event worldwide for buying and selling television and new media content.