Chris Sloan knew, right from the beginning, that he was not destined for fame and glory. Other little kids who dream of growing up to be in television might cup their hands into pretend microphones and stand in front of a mirror, delivering their imaginary speeches for the Emmys they just won for acting or directing. Not Chris.
I built TV stations out of Lego blocks and made my own imaginary programming lineups, he recalls. I was always into the wonkish side of the business.
If television gave Emmys for wonkery, Chris and his wife, Carla Kaufman Sloan, would surely have a wall full of them. In an industry where venturing off the standard trade routes in Los Angeles and New York is regarded as sailing off the edge of the world, theyve turned their upstart North Miami company 2C Media into a national production powerhouse.
Concentrating on a market niche of little glamour but huge industry importance promos, the ubiquitous little ads that TV networks use to plug their own shows the Sloans have built 2C into what may be the most prolific production facility in English-language television outside of Los Angeles.
2C cranks out a staggering 10,000 promos a year for shows ranging from 30 Rock to Greys Anatomy. It has also developed into a steady supplier of cheap reality shows, including a new one about daily life inside Miami International Airport thats scheduled to launch on the Travel Channel this fall.
Privately held, 2C doesnt disclose figures on revenue or profits. But Ill tell you this, our financial impact on Miami-Dade County is in the multi-millions of dollars, Chris says. When all its reality shows are in production, 2Cs warren of editing bays in a Biscayne Boulevard high-rise swarm with more than 70 employees and contract freelancers.
When we started out seven years ago, there were just three of us, and our dog was allowed to come in and pee on the rug, Carla recalls ruefully. The office was a bunch of card tables and a single editing suite.
Carla, by the way, does have an Emmy, won for her writing on the Comedy Central game show Win Ben Steins Money. It only reinforced her conviction that glamour is overrated. My home got burgled a few years ago, and they took everything, she says. The only thing left behind was my Emmy.
The Sloans were both working in Hollywood Carla on a succession of game and reality shows, Chris creating promos for first NBC and then CBS when they decided to strike out on their own in South Florida. Chris had already worked here, once in the 1980s at a video-production company, and again a decade later during media magnate Barry Dillers attempt to turn home-shopping TV station WAMI into a hyper-local channel featuring oddball reality shows and announcements read by ordinary people literally pulled in off the street. (Chris most memorable contribution: a station promo showing a herd of sheep, each one labeled with the call letters of another Miami station, as an announcer urged: Dont watch the same old sheep.)
I kept telling Carla, Beaches and sunshine and piña coladas, Chris says, and she kept saying, Yeah, but what about jobs? There just were no jobs here, so we decided wed have to make our own hay.