What is a Development Exec

The Development Executives at Think Hollywood created this guide to clarify what a typical, industry standard, development executive is and does.

In our assessment, the best way to define a development executive is:

A seasoned industry professional who tracks projects from initial concept, to as far as distribution, and who also manages their organization’s development slate.

Development Executives can work for a number of sources, such as for a single producer, or for a production company, studio, network, and sometimes even talent agencies (although, chances are, there are people working within the agencies that don’t even know about internal development executives).

And since each company’s needs and goals are different, development executives at different companies have different roles and responsibilities.

An interesting tidbit: development executives do not necessarily receive screen credit for the work they do, even if they find the project, handle story development, and more. Without a standard credit, it is really difficult to assess what development execs actually do.

As you would imagine, in virtually all development situations, the development exec has their boss’ and company’s interest in mind, not the interest of the writer (we will come back to this point later).

A typical development executive spends a great deal of their time doing the following:

  • Finding or creating new concepts to develop

  • Hiring, and quite often, firing writers, for specific projects

  • Developing relationships with the up-and-coming writing talent in Hollywood

  • Tracking which projects are getting developed around town (so as to avoid developing a project that is in direct competition with other projects)

  • Knowing representatives (agents, entertainment attorneys, and personal managers) who have access to top talent

  • Receiving and sharing information via “tracking boards” (password required websites)

  • Leading story development on specific projects

Now as you can probably tell, development executives spend a lot of time managing information — who is the best writer to work with, and which representatives do we need to know to connect with the best young talent. That means that the typical development executive actually isn’t concentrating on story.

At Think Hollywood, the Development Executive relationship with the writer and expertise  is completely reversed.

At Think Hollywood, because the writer is the one funding development, the Development Execs work for the writer and therefore, have the writer’s best interests in mind.

Focusing on the writer’s interests means that the development executive is focused on making THE WRITER’S story as powerful as possible, not just listening to mandates from the studios and producers.

Also, the Development Executives at Think Hollywood spend the vast majority of their time focusing on story development — not doing admin work.

Think Hollywood only hires Development Executives who are excited about and really good at developing stories. The Development Execs are experts at helping translate coverage by Story Analysts and employing very powerful development strategies.  You will have a development professional by your side to help you stay out of development hell (it’s a real thing, and it is horrible) and on the path toward success.

Of course, Development Executives can also help writers set and achieve writing goals and deadlines.  Sounds like a good addition to your team–we think so too.

To learn more about how you can qualify to work with one of Think Hollywood’s exceptional Story Development Executives, you can click (here).

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