BACK Schedule Home

This is the archived SXSW 2011 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.



Banking on Big Brands/Celebs for the Web

2010 was a pivotal year for Web TV, with more influential brands and celebrities recognizing the creative opportunities that the platform offers. Celebrities like Kevin Pollak and Will Arnett went online to create original professionally produced content to strengthen relationships with fans. Additionally, major brands including Wrigleys and Mountain Dew joined this medium to purdue the opportunity to exponentially increase its brand reach to a vast global audience. With entertainment and advertising luminaries testing the waters of the digital space, this panel examines the most effective ways in which content creators can capture the attention of brands and create content that will not only resonate with its target audience, but be organically integrated so audiences do not feel as though they are watching ads. It will include how digital studios, like AOL, provide a unique platform for brands/celebs looking to team up and engage in quality content and matching creators and celebrities with these forward-thinking brands. AOL is a leader in the integrated web and mobile video content platform, available on-demand to a global audience. AOL develops, produces, packages, programs, markets and distributes original content. AOL collaborates with celebrity talent and creators to provide professionally-produced, brand-friendly content and is strategically programmed and curated by Amber J. Lawson.



Amber J Lawson Head of Original Programming AOL

Amber J. Lawson was recently tapped as AOL's Head of Video Programming where she creates and oversees the programming strategy and execution of all of AOL's original video content. In this role, Amber J is re-imagining the entire online video experience from development to piloting to programming — with the end goal to serve a growing video audience across the AOL Network. Previously, Amber J led the international comedy business with break out hits including Kid Reenact & In 60 Seconds which were constantly featured on The Huffington Post, Mashable & Stumbleupon. In April 2010 Amber J partnered with Streamy Award-winning Kevin Pollak for his directorial debut of VAMPED OUT, where her work resulted in a 2010 PGA Top 25 in Digital. Amber J is chairman of the membership committee of The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences - Interactive Media Peer Group, Chairman of IAWTV Awards Committee and PGA. She is the Foursquare mayor of W Union Square.

David Tochterman Head of Digital Media Innovative Artists

David currently heads the Digital Media division for Innovative Artists, a prominent full service talent agency with offices in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. His focus is on packaging premium and branded content across all platforms, and seeking new models for monetizable businesses. He is also an agent in Innovative’s Television division, creating and representing crossover opportunities for all clients. David was among the first traditional executives to expand into digital media in 2005 when he was recruited to launch the groundbreaking video website CHANNELBLAST, which featured live interactive branded content and was featured in Forbes and the NY Times. His company Versatility Media provided content strategy, business development and production for clients including DECA, Mindshare, Mania TV , Daily Motion, For Your Imagination and IPG Emerging Media Lab. He was an Executive Producer for FAT GUY STUCK IN INTERNET on Adult Swim which was the first scripted comedy to move from the internet to television. In his seven years as Senior Vice President of the television powerhouse Carsey Werner Company, David played an integral role in the development and production of successful hit shows including THAT 70S SHOW, 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN, ROSEANNE and was an Executive Producer of GRACE UNDER FIRE. He also was Executive Vice President for the launch of Will Smith's production company Overbrook Entertainment and led its television division. David has been a speaker at media conferences including NATPE, Social Media Week, Digital Hollywood, CES, AdTech and OMMA. He is an adjunct professor for Syracuse University’s Los Angeles campus.

Kevin Pollak Creator/Host Kevin Pollak's Chat Show

Kevin Pollak has captured the attention of audiences worldwide with his range of both dramatic and comedic roles. He has appeared in over sixty films, as well as countless television projects, and has established himself as one of the few stand-up comedians to have a successful dramatic film career. In addition to his acting talents, he has also proven himself as both a writer, producer and recently a director and a talk show host. Pollak first started performing stand-up comedy at the age of ten. He became a touring professional stand-up at age twenty. In 1988, shortly after Kevin shot his first HBO stand-up special, he landed a role in "Willow," directed by Ron Howard and produced by George Lucas. In 1989, he got his first dramatic acting role in Barry Levinson’s "Avalon", but it was Pollak’s role in Rob Reiner’s "A Few Good Men,” opposite Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore, that proved his ability to stand out while sharing the big screen with dramatic heavyweights. Not too soon after, Kevin was co-starring with icons Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in "Grumpy Old Men" and its’ sequel, "Grumpier Old Men". In 1994, Kevin was offered a plum role opposite Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacy and Bennicio Del Toro in a little indy film called "The Usual Suspects” for director Bryan Singer and writer Christopher McQuarrie. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and won two Academy Awards, as well as the Best Ensemble Cast award from The National Board of Review. That same year, the call came from Martin Scorsese for Kevin to join Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesce and Sharon Stone in his Vegas epic, "Casino." The film has become known as one Scorsese's classics. As the 20th century came to a close, Variety named it's top 10 hardest working film actors, the criteria of which was that said actors had to have done at least 3 films per year, each year of the 1990's. Kevin was on the list. As the millennium began, Kevin returned to his first love, stand-up comedy. He began touring the country in '01 and continues to tour sporadically here and abroad. Of course, his film career continued as he has co-starred in 29 films since 2000. In March of 2009, Kevin began hosting his own internet talk show, called Kevin Pollak's Chat Show. It streams live every Sunday, 3pm, PDT at Archived episodes are available there, as well as on iTunes. The show has garnered as much as over a million downloads in a single month and received the 2010 Streamy Award for Best Live Production of a Web Series. Also in ’09, Pollak co-starred in Kevin Smith's "Cop Out," with Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Sean William Scott for Warner Bros. In 2010 Kevin co-starred with Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi and James Caan in George Gallo's "Middle Men”. In post production is "Columbus Circle," which Kevin wrote with the film's director, George Gallo. This film stars Jason Lee, Selma Blair, Amy Smart, Giovanni Ribisi and Kevin. He just finished co-starring with Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson in the "The Big Year" for director David Frankel (“The Devil Wears Prada”), which is due out in October, 2011. He’s also recently completed work on “Red State,” written and directed by Kevin Smith. As a producer, current projects are: the film version of the New York Times Bestseller “Three Nights In August,” written by Pulitzer Prize winner Buzz Bissinger ("Friday Night Lights") and St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa and he has the life rights to boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard. Kevin, Tony, Buzz and new partner Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thorton have spent the last year developing the screenplay. As a director, a new comedy web series “Vamped Out” recently debuted online. Kevin co-created and co-wrote the series with Jason Antoon, which earned rave reviews such as “Curb Enthusiam for the undead” and “Arrested Development” for the web.” Season 2 has been green lit and shooting is scheduled to begin in the spring. Pollak has also starred in two of his own HBO stand-up comedy specials, the latest being "Kevin Pollak, Stop With The Kicking", directed by David Steinberg. Kevin was named by Comedy Central as one of the Top 100 Comedians of all Time. His two Live Stand-Up CDs, “A Little Off the Top” and “What Are the Chances” are available at or on iTunes. Kevin’s latest One Hour Stand-up Comedy Special, “The Littlest Suspect,” debuted in the summer of 2010 on Showtime.

Paul Kontonis VP/Group Dir Brand Content Digitas

As Vice President, Group Director, Brand Content for The Third Act:, a unit of Digitas, Paul leads the development of original and partnered digital brand content entertainment offerings across Digitas client teams. Working in partnership with creative, media and client relationship leaders, The Third Act: team is responsible for leading digital content strategy development, sourcing digital content creator partnerships and crafting digital brand content offerings that are borne out of insight and drive business results. The Third Act: is also the creator behind Digital Content NewFront, an annual event that brings together content creators, distributors, talent, and brands to harness creative media opportunities in original online video and online brand content. Paul has executive produced over 25 web series including successful online branded entertainment for Warner Bros, Armor All, Experian, Holiday Inn Express, Phillips Van Heusen and IZOD IndyCar and pioneering web series including The Patrice Oneal Show, Break a Leg, Kyle Piccolo, and DadLabs. Paul is the co-founder of New York City's premiere web video showcase, BigScreen LittleScreen, which celebrates the content and the creators of web video. From original web series to branded entertainment, creators get a chance to screen their work and to discuss the how's, why's, and what's of their production. Since 2007, over 100 web series had been screened and promoted in an effort to support and educate our new industry. For more information visit Prior to the Third Act: Paul was the Senior Vice President of Branded Entertainment of MATTER, an Edelman Entertainment and Sports Marketing Company. In early 2007, Paul co-founded For Your Imagination, a pioneering web video studio that developed, produced and promoted original web series. Through his strategic leadership, the studio was selected by TVWeek in 2008 as one of five web video studios most likely to succeed. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Marketing Officer of btldesign, a full service marketing communications agency, developing interactive solutions for Global 100 brands. Paul's interactive experience began as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at SenseNet, a Web application development agency, and as the Director of Business Development for Silver Shock, a boutique interactive agency. Paul appears in a number of publications and digital media books including the Documentary Filmmakers Handbook, and is a speaker at several industry conferences and seminars annually. Paul is also a founding member of The International Academy of Web Television.

Rick Fox N/A


Saturday March 12



Austin Convention Center

Ballroom F

500 E Cesar Chavez St




SXSW HomeSXSW Sponsors