From Reel to Real: Transforming Documentaries into Successful TV Shows (WTN)

From Reel to Real: Transforming Documentaries into Successful TV Shows (WTN)

Posted Thursday 26 Oct 2023

We're delighted to present you with this special intensive workshop from Emmy Award-winning television producer and WIFT NZ member, Jon Kroll.

From Reel to Real: Transforming Documentaries into Successful TV Shows

The Pitch:
Have you spent the past four years of your life scraping together cash from grants, government incentives and the local dentist in an effort to complete your long-suffering feature doc… only to wonder, “what’s next?”
Or has the competition for public funds and the foundering economy conspired to keep cameras from rolling at all on your passion project?
Is there another way to, you know, actually make a living by telling the stories you want to tell?
That’s what this one-day seminar is all about. We’ll spend the day discussing how to transform your cash-bleeding documentary feature into a profitable television venture.
Join Jon as we take a deep dive into the television marketplace and give you valuable tools that can help transform your money pit into a cash cow… or at least from a credit card drain into a respectable contributor to the household.

Presenter Jon Kroll
Jon Kroll has produced TV shows for more than 30 years, including The Amazing Race, for which he was honoured with a Primetime Emmy Award. He is currently Executive Producer of NatGeo’s enduring hit, Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, which he has run since its inception.

He also is Executive Producer of NatGeo’s Never Say Never with Jeff Jenkins and Extraordinary Birder with Christian Cooper for NatGeoWild. Kroll’s other projects include the award-winning feature documentary, From Hell to Hollywood, which won the Audience Award at Kansas City Film Fest International; Pink Collar Crimes for CBS; two seasons of American Grit for Fox starring WWE superstar John Cena; three seasons of Big Brother for CBS; and the controversial UPN series, Amish in the City, which critics hailed as “One of the best new reality series of the year.”

He has also directed three movies, written multiple graphic novels and built a Hello Kitty theme park. Originally from Northern California, Kroll was raised on a Mendocino County commune without television or electricity. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Date: Sunday 26 November 2023

Time: 10am-3pm

Venue: Taia Studios, 4 Bay Rd, Kilbirnie, Wellington

Cost: Members $20, non-members $40.

Tea/ coffee and nibbles provided.


Bookings essential to

Once you register you will be sent an invoice for payment before the event.

Date: Sunday 26 Nov 2023
Location: Taia Studios, 4 Bay Rd, Kilbirnie, Wellington
Time: 10:00am - 3:00pm


Upcoming events...

Saturday 25 May 2024

Producing Travel, Adventure and Food Shows with Jon Kroll

We are thrilled to announce this special intensive workshop with Emmy Award-winning TV producer Jon Kroll including two guest speakers, for our Wellington members!

In this one-day seminar, producer Jon Kroll will take you on a deep dive into the world of international factual production. Jon has worked in more than 70 countries on shows like the Emmy-winning “Amazing Race,” “Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted,” “Never Say Never with Jeff Jenkins,” “Extraordinary Birder with Christian Cooper” and “Appetite for Adventure with Moe Cason.”

While making these shows can be both fun and rewarding, the execution of them involves unique challenges, including language barriers, currency fluctuations, permitting, equipment carnets, unpredictable weather, insurance, diseases, safety, casting, scouting and travel delays. He’ll take you on a journey from the first network country pitch to the final sound mix, and by the end you’ll be ready to take on the world.

He will also be inviting guest speakers Tara Williams’, the Vice President of Production at Original Productions, and Alexander Ayling, a full-time award-winning filmmaker, content creator, Youtuber, and television host, to share their wealth of knowledge inside this seminar.

Make the most of this opportunity!

Date: Saturday, 25 May 

Time:  10am – 4pm

Venue: Massey University, Wellington

Cost: Members $20.  Non-members $40. Massey Students $10.

 Coffee, tea and biscuits provided.  Bring your own lunch.

Book Your Ticket Here.

Wednesday 29 May 2024

How to Make Heads Explode: Imaging for VFX

Whether you’re a seasoned filmmaker, an aspiring creator, or simply curious about cutting-edge technology and VFX join Tristan Simpson, Post Operations at The Rebel Fleet, in conversation with Aliesha Staples, founder and director of StaplesVR, and Tim Capper, Senior VFX Supervisor to explore the power of photogrammetry and cyber scanning processes.

  • What is cyber scanning and how is it impacting the screen industry?
  • How can photogrammetry be used in the creative process and how has this changed over time? What IS photogrammetry?
  • How does this technology help with the production process?
  • What are some of the different usages of the scans?
  • Why use it?
  • How does the rig work?
  • What type of projects have you worked on and how do we help the local sector access and use the technology?


Aliesha Staples – Aliesha is the founder and CEO of StaplesVR, The company specialises in augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology, and has also produced immersive experiences for the likes of Warner Brothers, Paramount and Disney. Aliesha is also the co-founder of CLICK Studios and the recipient of the 2022 WIFT Awards Imagezone Entrepreneurship Award.

Tim Capper is Senior VFX supervisor at Cause and FX, Auckland’s largest VFX studio. With a focus on TV and Film projects, Cause and FX has a client base both locally and for studio’s based around the globe. The scanning rig was a build project that Tim has led over the last 8 years and is now a joint venture with Staples VR.

Time:  6:00 PM –  8:30 pm *Doors open at 6pm, event starts at 6:30 pm*

Venue: WIFT Auckland Office, 525 Rosebank Road, Avondale, Auckland

Members: FREE.  Non-members: $20. Students: $10.

Book Tickets 


Wednesday 29 May 2024

Unlocking the Reel Deal: Mastering Festival Tactics and Marketing Must-Haves

Join this in-depth conversation on the essentials of festival strategies and marketing materials with Jasmin McSweeney, of Umbrella Entertainment, Nadia Maxwell, of Overactive Imagination, and Mark Prebble of Show Me Shorts, moderated by Vanessa Wells.

-              Talking about festival strategy, submitting to festivals and the pros/cons
-              Discussing their experience with being at festivals - both industry markets and showing films.
-              Critical criteria for your marketing materials – what’s essential
-              How does the programming of films at A-list festivals reflect global film trends?
-              What’s news from Clermont-Ferrand?

Jasmin McSweeney joined Melbourne distribution company Umbrella Entertainment as the Head of Sales and Acquisitions for New Zealand in February this year. She also produces for Sanctuary Pictures, the production arm of Umbrella. Prior to this role, Jasmin was the Head of Marketing at the New Zealand Film Commission for the past decade, responsible for the promotion and marketing of New Zealand films in New Zealand and internationally.

Nadia Maxwell is an Ōtautahi film and television producer and founder of Overactive Imagination. Over the last 20 years she has produced A-list festival feature films, award-winning shorts, and documentary projects. Previous credits include the feature films HUMAN TRACES which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 and REUNION starring Julia Ormond released in NZ and the US in 2020. Most recently she produced the docuseries SHEPHERDESS for Sky Originals.

Mark Prebble is the Festival Manager of Show Me Shorts, New Zealand's leading short film festival, and has been part of the SMS team for the last ten years. He comes from a filmmaking and theatre background and has been involved in the New Zealand film industry for more than two decades. In February this year he represented Show Me Shorts and their short film catalogue at Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival and Market in France.

Date: 29 May 2024

Time: 6:00PM – 9:00PM

Location: Toi Auaha Rolleston House, 5 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch Central City

WIFT NZ members FREE, non-members $20, students $10, includes wine and nibbles.



Programme is brought to you with generous support from the NZ Film Commission and Foundation North.