TOP – The Oligarchs Productions is a drama production company. It is a subsidiary of TOG – The Oligarchs Group.
TOP was founded in Paris in 2008 by French-American producer Alex Berger and French Showrunner Éric Rochant.
Together, and after close examination of the development process of American TV shows, Alex Berger and Éric Rochant have adapted these methods to the singularities and requirements of the European and French markets. They set up a very rigorous and hierarchical structure in order to successfully produce a recurring TV show every year, with writing at the heart of the creative process.
Creation and Innovation:
The writer and producer work in pair and owe each other total transparency while keeping communication channels open. On the one hand, the showrunner is at the essence of the project, as he co-writes the episodes and mediates on the show’s overall artistic aspects. He manages a Structured Writing Workshop (Atelier d’Écriture Structuré – ADES) consisting of in-house episode writers and associate screenwriters.
On the other hand, the executive producer is tasked with bringing the pages to life. He also ensures brand requirements. He strives to maintain the DNA of the program, show and brand, so that they remain clearly understood and well-managed at all times, from development process to broadcast and throughout first and subsequent runs.
The two of them ought to uphold transparency, permanent communication and coordination between one another.
The writing room:
TOP tested, perfected and implemented this process, first with the company’s initial and eponymous project, The Oligarchs, and years later with Éric Rochant’s creation The Bureau.
In order to produce a season of ten 52’ episodes every year, with production duties both in France and abroad, Alex Berger and Éric Rochant have implemented a development and production system based on the Structured Writing Workshop (Atelier d’Écriture Structuré – ADES), led by Éric Rochant as showrunner.
The ADES gives the writing process pride of place. Producers, Screenwriters and especially the showrunner must build an affinity in their working relationship. Roles are rigorously distributed: the showrunner must ensure that the creative process is not compromised; the line producer makes sure that production resources be in service of the writer and creator; the executive producer is responsible for the legal and financial aspects of the production. These three roles complement one another and imply absolute trust and transparency.
The particular case of The Bureau illustrates this system to perfection. The Canal+ Création Originale division agreed in totally inseparable terms to both Éric Rochant’s original idea and art concept, and TOP – The Oligarchs Productions and producing partner Federation Entertainment’s suggested industrial method of organizing the show around the showrunner himself (a position that did not exist in France before).
Industrial process and brand management
As the work is released, broadcast and integrated by the audience, it becomes a brand. An emotionally invested brand for which the audience puts in 10 hours for each season. It is linked to a fictional world which the viewer has grown accustomed to, and needs be translated onto various social networks, abroad and for several viewing modes. In order to successfully render the brand’s DNA and retain its singular identity, the PMDC (Promotion – Marketing – Digital – Communication) unit endeavors to control each logo, poster, press release, image, merchandise… This process applies from the development stage to well beyond broadcast.
TOP – The Oligarchs Productions’ vision strives to blend French levels of creation and innovation with an American industrial process and brand management.