A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:
What: Screaming Flea Productions, in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood
Who: Matt Chan, 55, president and general manager
Mission: Create and produce nonfiction “reality” programming for specialty-cable networks.
Tailor made: “We look at this like a business,” Chan said. “We come up with a great show idea that will be appropriate to the particular network. There are certain requirements, like having a dangerous job, interesting characters and a time limit for getting the job done.”
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Shooting schedule: The company produces about 100 hours of programming each year. The shows portray a slightly exaggerated aspect of real life, from “Test Drive” (taking out a fancy car under real-world conditions) to “Three Sheets” (basically a drinking show).
Improvisation: “We are always looking for a new twist,” Chan said. “We want to find people with unique lives and interesting situations. But nothing is planned. If someone in the middle of the story goes on a bender and disappears for five days, we just have to shoot around them and hope it works out.”
Financials: The private company is “profitable,” Chan said, with gross annual revenues of $8 million to $9 million.
Help wanted: The company is seeking a subject for the next season of “Startup Junkies,” which traces a nascent company through the funding and product-development processes. As the story unfolds, the focus may turn to the “back story” of a particular character. It may portray a spouse or peripheral player who adds to the mix in some way.
Corporate vs. creative: “It might be more lucrative shooting videos for Microsoft or Starbucks,” Chan said. “But any of those guys would rather be on the scoreboard and work on a successful TV show.”
— Charles Bermant