Mark Burnett – Catalyst 2012

Ken Coleman: My favorite shows of all of hte shows you produced is "The Contender." Mark, the theme of this conference is Make, the making of a career, a leader, a dream. Your story emobdies the American deram more than anyone else. You did a show for MTV. You shopped Survivor to all three networks. They said no, you went back to CBS. You did a deal in a way a deal had never been done before.

How do you manage that tension between patience and persistence.

MB: So glad to be here with you. I think the important thing I'd like to communicate with you firstly is that there's no reason I should have all of these shows made. I came here with nothing. This nation gives everyone an opportunity, but you have to have the courage and the faith. "No" really means "next opportunity." When I went back to CBS for survivor, the head of CBS came back and said, "Ok, you can make this."

You do have to jump in. If you need to be certain of something, you will do nothing.

If you wait until you're certain, you won't do anything.

KC: Desperate Networks details Mark's story so well. How would you challenge leaders to say, make sure you give a shot to those below you?

MB: Many great things in our nation have been done by people who were the most unlikely candidates. If you're telling young people to go forward, start the parade. Make it go forward, people will join you. If you need it to be laid out so easily, nothing is going to happen.

This country is a place that we love. It gives you chances, but you also have to deliver. Because Americans love results. You also get second chances in America. We all know that with our faith, but it's true in our country as well. Donald Trump taught me something important. If he has a couple of people lined up in front of him, one with a Harvard degree and moderate energy, another with boundless energy and no college degree, he'd hire the person with energy every time. Energy is so important. You have to stay energetic.

KC: CBS caid yes to you, and then you had to deliver.

MB: That element of someone telling you, here's you're big chance buddy! Who wouldn't be scared. That feeling of fear can be looked at as the same energy of excitment. Look at people in Iraq and Afghanistan now. Look at the bravery. It's okay to be afraid, but that doesn't mean you can stand their.

As I said, I don't need certainty, I just need faith. That is enough for me.

KC: You're a guy that has created some really unique shows. What is your imaginative process like? How do you begin to develop show ideas?

MB: It's a completely instinctual thing. It's not a scientific process. You just have to listen to that. Everyone here knows, it's a god thing. Something inside of you tells you it's the correct path. In the need you have to make a decision on something and go for it.

We're all scared a lot of the time, and you just have to deal with it.

The people in this room are responsible for millions of people, and sure you're scared.

Every week there has to be a TV show when you tune in.

You can't always show your fear to those following you.

KC: I did a lot of reading on the different shows you've created. You create shows that connect emotionally in different ways with different people. What would you say to church leaders who are trying to reach a diverse audience?

MB: THe one word answer is authenticity. The camera can see inauthenticity. Within 12 hours the Survivors have basically forgotten the cameras exist.

My wife is an actress and has to find authenticity in every perforamce. You can see authenticity.