Downtown Independent

Building A Scalable Business in New Media

SATURDAY, MAY 13, 2017 – 2:30-3:15PM



John Livesay, Author, The Successful Pitch

As The Pitch Whisperer, John Livesay helps people craft a compelling pitch that tugs at the heartstrings so people open their purse strings. He hosts “The Successful Pitch” podcast  and is the author of “The Successful Pitch : Conversations on Going From Invisible To Investable.” John had an award winning twenty year career in media sales with Conde Nast and is the mentor at John has appeared in Forbes, INC. as well on CBS FOX and ABC as an expert on “How To Ask For What You Want And Get A Yes.”


Jehan Agrama, Harmony Gold, President & CEO

Jehan is a founder of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). She was elected its first female Co-President (1989, 1990, 1991), and has been named its first Board Emerita. Until 1994, Ms. Agrama served as Co-Chair of the Media Outreach Committee, with responsibility for sensitivity training for media executives. For over ten years, from inception until 2000, Jehan Co-Chaired the Annual GLAAD Media Awards, the organization’s premiere fundraising event and the largest gay and lesbian event of its kind.

Ms. Agrama has worked in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, most recently as President and CEO of Harmony Gold, an international television production and distribution company. The firm has an extensive program library, which it continues to exploit worldwide. Perhaps its most famous property is the animated series ROBOTECH, which is currently in development at Sony as a live action motion picture.

She has been married to Dwora Fried for over 35 years.  They have four children.


Anton Zietsman, 3311 Ventures, Director

Anton serves as Director of 3311 Ventures, where he invests in early stage companies in the media, tech, and entertainment spaces. Anton manages the day-to-day operations of the fund and sits on the fund's investment committee. Anton also serves as Director of Business Development for 3311 Productions, a diversified entertainment company with feature film, scripted television, and unscripted television divisions.

Prior to working at Homejoy, where he was General Manager for the Company's West Coast operationsAnton worked at Goldman, Sachs, and Co. where he worked on teams that advised on over $7bn worth of transactions. He received his BA from Stanford University and lives in Los Angeles, CA.


Vivienne Errington-Barnes, HER Social App, Global Head of Partnerships & Community

Vivienne Errington-Barnes was headhunted from an Investment Bank where she was running the Commercial department by the CEO of HER Social App. HER has over 2 million users in over 55 countries and is the largest LGBTQ+ dating and social networking app for women in the world. She is now the Global Head of Partnerships & Community and runs a team of 35, focused on events, partnerships, and social media.


Alex Garner, Hornet App, Senior Health Innovation Strategist

Alex Garner is currently the Senior Health Innovation Strategist at Hornet, the premier gay social networking app with over 18 million users worldwide. Hornet is committed to helping men make meaningful connections and is dedicated to creating an experience where its community of users feel empowered and have the resources to make informed decisions about their health.

Alex has over 20 years experience working in HIV and community organizing. Prior to Hornet he managed the PrEP education program at NMAC. Alex was the founding editor at, a national HIV magazine for gay men. He co-wrote and performed in The Infection Monologues, a funny and thought-provoking play about the modern HIV experience.

Alex has been living with HIV for over 20 years.  He’s studied political science at USCD, where and got his start as a queer, Chicano, youth organizer and performer. He continues to write freelance on topics of significance for the LGBT community. 


Industry Panel: Traditional Meets Digital

SATURDAY, MAY 13, 2017 – 5-6PM



Damian Pelliccione, REVRY, Chief Executive Officer

Damian is the CEO of REVRY, the groundbreaking new LGBTQ digital content streaming service for Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and mobile devices. Damian was formerly the head of business development for North America for, a German company specializing in cutting-edge streaming technology.

Previously Damian has worked for top-name brands like Chevrolet and Cadillac to develop new media opportunities for product promotion and marketing, as well as serving as adjunct professor for Columbia College Chicago and instructor at YouTube. With over 15 years’ experience in the digital and new media world, Damian runs New Media Vault -Hollywood’s largest entertainment and tech mixer – and his own trending tech show ‘Boys in Tech’ recently signed a distribution deal with Huffington Post and AOL.
Damian is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America New Media Council, serves on the LGBT National Committee at the Screen Actors’ Guild and is a member of the International Academy of Web TV. A proud member of StartOUT, Damian is passionate about supporting the LGBTQ community in both authentic media representation and entrepreneurship



Austyn Biggers, Viacom, Executive Producer/Development

Since 2008 Austyn Biggers has been with VIACOM, where he has been involved in all facets of original series development and production. Currently, he is an Executive Producer and Development Consultant for MTV, VH1 and LOGO.  During his time as Sr. Director of Development at BET, the company had seen the implementation of scripted programs, new tent pole events, digital series and a double-digit increase in ratings. He and his team developed over 60 pilots and presentations for BET, Centric, News, and .Com while serving at BET NETWORKS.

Prior to October, 2008 Austyn was the VP of Development for SokoLobl Entertainment, and provided freelance development, casting, and production services for other production companies and networks including Go Go Luckey, Ripe Digital, Ryan Seacrest Productions, E! Networks, CMT, Oxygen, Style, and MTV. Over the last 17 years, Austyn has worked in virtually every aspect of television production, from development to field to post. He has developed and produced formats for TV, the internet, shorts, film, commercial campaigns, and mobile apps.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Austyn attended Florida State University and has called Atlanta, New York and London home before settling down in L.A. Austyn volunteers with several organizations including those related to HIV/AIDS, Women and Men’s Cancer, and Domestic Abuse. He is also a strong advocate for animal rights and encourages everyone he knows to adopt their next pet.


Dave Mace, Brian Graden Media, EVP of Development

Dave most recently produced the hit series, "Finding Prince Charming" for Logo and VH1. During his time at Logo, Mace developed and produced the Emmy-winning hit series, "RuPaul's Drag Race." Mace was VP of Development at A&E network prior to that and oversaw the hit series franchises, "Storage Wars" and "Flipping Vegas." Before his time at Logo, Mace served as Senior Vice President of Development for Academy Award-winning Broadway Producers (“Chicago,” “Hairspray”), Craig Zadan and Neil Meron for five years where he helped develop and produced numerous award-winning television mini-series and musicals including “Annie” (starring Kathy Bates and Alan Cumming); “Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” (starring Whitney Houston and Brandy) and “The Music Man” (starring Matthew Broderick and Kristen Chenoweth).


Angela Nikas, Entertainment One, Studio Development Executive

Angela’s first job in entertainment was working for Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman at Playtone Productions, where she had the opportunity to read scripts, handle office duties, and sit in Tom’s awesome suite at Dodger Stadium!  From there she got a job working as a drama development coordinator at NBC/Universal.  From NBC Angela went to go work at The Collective and then ran development for Scripted World where she helped sell and develop shows such as Hostages on CBS and Betrayal on ABC. 

Angela also served as Manager of Development and Production at Momentum TV where she produced the drama Full Circle: Miami for DirecTV’s Audience Network. Currently, Angela works as a studio development executive at Entertainment One where she is heading the digital division and trying to discover the storytellers of tomorrow.

Angela believes that the future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it, and turn it inside out. 


Austin Mayster, Studio71, Talent Manager

Austin spent the last 7 years working closely with talent across traditional and digital platforms. He represents some of the most influential LGBTQ+ influencers on YouTube including Tre Melvin, Alx James, Mark Miller, Matt and Blue, Stef Sanjati, among others. His focus is creative deal making and securing strategic partnerships for his clients with brands and platforms on and off YouTube.  Austin is currently packaging a LGBTQ Influencer Tour that will travel to major cities this summer, including LA and San Francisco, promoting LGBTQ rights and acceptance. He is also launching a Pride Box of merchandise beginning in May with proceeds going to the LA LGBT Center. 


Lotte Van Der Veer, Gunpowder & Sky, Director of Business Development

Gunpowder & Sky is a global studio dedicated to creating, marketing and distributing video content independent of form, genre or platform. Gunpowder & Sky collaborates with both emerging and established talent to generate premium video content ranging from 90-second to 90-minute stories on various platforms. With in-house development, production, marketing and distribution capabilities, the company operates as a full 360-studio and oversees a library of over 1500 titles. Gunpowder and Sky Distribution (formerly Filmbuff) is the New York-based, award-winning, independent content sales and distribution division of Gunpowder & Sky. Antigravity is the company’s recently announced creative agency and marketing arm. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Gunpowder & Sky was founded by Van Toffler, former CEO of Viacom’s Music Group, Floris Bauer, former Global Head of Corporate Development & Strategy Endemol, and Otter Media, a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group.


Matt Sims, Maker Studios, Fmr. Head of Current Programming

Matt worked at Maker Studios, the world’s largest multichannel network with over 40,000 influencers, where he was across all digital and linear series including scripted, unscripted and digital features, launched the company’s first premium content slate, in addition to identifying and securing partnerships with digital platforms such as Verizon Go90, YouTube Red, Sling and Facebook; linear networks including CBS, Freeform, Disney XD; along with multiple top tier production companies.

Before joining Maker, Matt served as SVP, Unscripted Development and International Acquisitions for Ryan Seacrest Productions.  There he sold multiple docuseries, large formats and awards shows, as well as developed and sold the groundbreaking transgender themed Becoming Us which premiered to high acclaim on Freeform (ABC Family) and was sold internationally into multiple markets.  Prior to Seacrest, Sims was the Director of Development at TLC where he acquired and developed numerous shows including the multi-season Cheer Perfection and the hit wedding format Something Borrowed Something New. Matt was also a freelance producer and Director of Development for Authentic Entertainment, producing and developing the hit show Toddlers & Tiaras along with the ratings juggernaut Here Comes Honey Boo Boo among others.


The New Frontier of TV: Digital Platforms

SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2017 – 3:15-4:00PM



Nadine Shelton, YouTube, Fmr. Product Specialist for YouTube & YouTube Live


Nadine Shelton has over 15 years experience in streaming media and ad operations,   She spent 6 years growing the YouTube live audience and training top content creators and advertisers.  She most recently worked on the YouTube TV launch.  These days you can find her at NCompass producing experiential events.




George Rausch, Pluto TV, Director of Content Logo.png

George Rausch is the Director of Content for Pluto TV, an Internet television platform that delivers 100+ channels of curated digital and traditional video content across the web, mobile, and connected TVs. He works as part of the team that leads the strategy for content on the platform. Before joining Pluto TV, George was the Director of Distribution at, a direct-to-consumer transactional video platform for independent artists and before that he worked at The Collective in independent horror film production, home video and digital distribution of indie films and comedy specials, as well as the production of original content for digital talent. Most notably, he worked on the “V/H/S” found footage horror film franchise.


Tina Cerin, Black&Sexy TV, Producer / Editor

Tina Cerin joined Black&Sexy TV in December 2012 as an assistant learning the nuts and bolts  of production from the ground up.  She quickly advanced to producing the cult favorite That Guy as well as the That Guy Movie.  A self trained editor she works on both lifestyle and narrative series across the network. Tina is currently staffed as a writer, editor, director and part of the marketing/social media team at Black&Sexy. Most recently she co-wrote and edited the Hello Cupid Farrah movie, and is currently writing and directing for fan favorite series SEXLESS and Chef Julian. 


Christopher J. Rodriguez, REVRY, Chief Business Officer

PRIMARY REVRY Logo (Black QE) [170411].png
Chris 3.jpg

A producer and entertainment attorney with a background in reality television and digital media, Christopher received his bachelor degree in Political Science from UCLA in 2007. The recipient of the 2008 Scholar’s Award to Loyola Law School, Christopher went on to graduate with his Juris Doctorate degree in 2011. Christopher possesses wide-ranging experience entertainment law and in reality television production and has acted as legal counsel on a myriad of award-winning shows including Shark Tank, Deadliest Catch, Jay Leno’s Garage, The People’s Choice Awards, and Storage Wars. Christopher joins REVRY having represented web television content creators and produced festival-featured digital media productions.


Lauren Tracy, Blue Fever, CEO/Co-Founder

In 2008, Lauren co-founded an organization that brought financial awards to female filmmakers - collaborators included NYU and Avid. After speaking at her graduation from Rochester Institute of Technology alongside Zerox CEO Ursula Burns, Lauren moved to Los Angeles and spent the next two years making short films, music videos and editing feature films. Lauren’s screenplay SWEET DESERT PALM was a Big Vision Empty Wallet 2015 Lab finalist and she was a finalist director in Lionsgate's 2015 ‘New Voices of the Twilight Saga’ competition. Realizing that she wanted to build a business around women in entertainment she applied to and was accepted into Boston’s leading incubator, the Venture Development Center at Mass Boston. In 2015 with her dad and film producer Greta McAnany, Lauren co-founded X-Factor Films - an entertainment production and distribution company representing the work of 25 top digital female filmmakers. In 2017 the trio of founders announced and launched, Blue Fever - a new premium streaming platform described as the futuristic ‘Neftlix’ for millennial women.


Greta McAnany, Blue Fever, Co-Founder

Greta McAnany is an award-winning filmmaker and entrepreneur. A proud graduate of the University of Southern California, she began her career in film by starting her own production company and producing the feature film Bite Size. It was released on TV, digital platforms like Netflix/Amazon, screened internationally and was featured in The Washington Post and on the Katie Couric show on ABC. After experiencing the extreme gender bias in Hollywood, Greta co-founded the streaming platform Blue Fever, a futuristic ‘Netflix’ for millennial women. She is a recipient of film grants from Morgan Freeman and his Rock River Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures and the prestigious Thornton Foundation. Beyond her work in film, she has produced award-winning live newscasts and reported as a theatre critic for LA Stage Times, where she interviewed Oscar and Tony-winning writers, directors and actors. Greta also serves on the Inspired Stars Council for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s non-profit After School All-Stars. Greta is dedicated to empowering young women through media and is addicted to musical theatre and nachos.


Courting the Press:

The Latest Trends in LGBTQ Editorial

SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2017 – 5:45-6:45PM



Brian Rodda, Brian Rodda Consulting, Founder

Brian Rodda has vast experience in viral marketing and has worked passionately in digital media and online video since 2007. He is a founding member of an aggregator for WGA written web series, and took that experience to found Brian Rodda Consulting in 2011. Brian has worked on promoting numerous notable digital series Husbands (31,143 Subscribers, 2,145,151 views on Youtube) the web’s first marriage-equality comedy, Squaresville (31,401 Subscribers, 1,772,230 views on Youtube) and Whole Day Down ( Starring Willie Garson, Successful 40K+ Kickstarter campaign) Additionally, Brian has consulted with over 50 content creators via his private consultations to promote and create thriving communities for their properties, including the teen drama, Anyone But Me (24,363 subscribers, 13,713,025 views on Youtube). In 2014, Brian Rodda worked with as the host and producer of: Digital Natives: Content Creation’s Front Line and Tailor Made with Brian Rodda. When not working with clients, hosting or producing, Brian can be found hiking Runyon Canyon, and exploring new cooking recipes with the exotic south American grain, Quinoa. Follow him socially here: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook



JR Pratts, Instinct Magazine, Owner & Publisher

JR Pratts received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Accounting before moving to Hong Kong and working in the financial field.  After 5 years however, JR decided to move to the United States to be openly gay.  After arriving in Los Angeles, he worked with Genre Magazine – the first mainstream gay publication in America.  There he discovered his passion for LGBT media and equality.  In 1997, JR started Instinct Magazine with a few good friends where he remained publisher for 18 years.  JR is currently running, one of the largest site serving the LGBT community.


Maer Roshan, FourTwoNine Magazine, Editor

Maer Roshan is a writer and editor who has founded and edited a series of award-winning magazines and websites, including FourTwoNine, The Fix, QW, Radar Magazine and Radar Online. He has served as Deputy Editor of New York Magazine, Editorial Director of Talk, Senior Editor of Interview and Editor at Large of The New York Times. He has written for The New York Times, the Miami Herald, New York Magazine, The New Republic, The Advocate, Details and Harper's Bazaar, among other publications. FourTwoNine Magazine is an irreverent, newsy  national men’s magazine and website about pop culture, current events, style and politics.


Robyn Vie-Carpenter, The Lesbian Socialite, Founder/Author

Robyn began her publishing career at Essence Magazine over 20 years ago. After spending time in the halls of Condé Nast Publishing, Robyn said good bye to NYC and fashion to move back to her hometown of Denver. She started her eponymous site,, after writing a successful column in Denver for over four years.  Bringing her own brand of sassy fun Online was a dream come true. Six years later and Robyn can be seen covering red carpets all over the queer country, encouraging volunteering and non-profit giving or " partying with the purpose".  Her marriage has been featured in articles in the New York Times and her writing has been featured in,  Desert Outlook Magazine and as a contributor to the Huffington Post blog. Robyn  has also recently been named Senior Contributing Editor for Arise 2.0 Magazine,  where her new column "What's Rocking My World" will be featured. 

Her new book "Let's Get Stoned-using stones and crystals to create a life that rocks!" will be coming out this summer.

Robyn has been happily married for over four years and living with her wusband, Veronica, in the Bay Area. 


Tim Winfred, Q. Digital, Director of Marketing and Brand Campaigns

Q.Digital, Inc. is a premier LGBTQ media company whose portfolio includes some of the most iconic titles in queer media: Queerty, GayCities and LGBTQ Nation. In 2013, Tim founded the largest international drag queen entertainment blog, Dragaholic, which was acquired by Q.Digital in late 2015. He is also a regular contributor and red carpet correspondent for Queerty and LGBTQ Nation. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking hearty meals, studying Korean, playing Magic: The Gathering and writing bios about himself in the third person for Out Web Fest. Contact Tim at


Peter Sloterdyk, Grindr, Vice President of Marketing

Peter leads a fully integrated functional and creative team responsible for user acquisition, digital and traditional marketing, brand health management, social media, CRM, analytics, and content production and distribution. Since joining Grindr in 2016, he lead the digital and creative development and launch of digital publication Into to begin serving Grindr's audience relevant and timely content. Prior to joining Grindr, Peter served as the Head of Entertainment for Meredith Xcelerated Marketing in Los Angeles and New York, and spent several years leading Social and Digital Media for clients like NBCUniversal, AMC Networks, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures Entertainment, MillerCoors, Whirlpool, and Kohl's at various advertising agencies including DigitasLBi. 


Vivienne Errington-Barnes, HER Social App, Global Head of Partnerships & Community

Vivienne Errington-Barnes was headhunted from an Investment Bank where she was running the Commercial department by the CEO of HER Social App. HER has over 2 million users in over 55 countries and is the largest LGBTQ+ dating and social networking app for women in the world. She is now the Global Head of Partnerships & Community and runs a team of 35, focused on events, partnerships, and social media.