Magical Elves

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Founded: 2001


Producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz joined forces as Magical Elves in 2001 to produce Bands on the Run for VH1, and in 2003 the Los Angeles-based duo took over season two of Project Greenlight for HBO

Notable Products

  • Project Runway
  • Top Chef
  • The Real L Word
  • Kell on Earth
  • Work of Art


What to Expect

The company’s name was a joke at first—Cutforth and Lipsitz had always intended to change it, but years later the moniker has grown on them and become an apt representation of how the pair sees themselves and their business. The production and development company prides itself on being an independent force, driven to create “accessible sophistication” in reality television. Instead of micromanaging every aspect of the show’s production, the Elves construct a format that they trust to organically produce must-see TV.

Crew positions are available on a freelance basis per project, but in-house the company employs segment producers, editors, casting personnel, and development managers. There are also limited opportunities for office production assistants and interns—if you are Elf material. The duo of hit-makers interviews candidates to identify not only the professional skill, but also the intangible personal qualities that is required to fit in the Magical camp. In the early days, Cutforth and Lipsitz spent nights furiously scribbling plans for episode challenges to shoot the next morning, living in the office to keep the company financially afloat. They may have been in over their heads at first, but the passion and talent paid off. To join the team, an applicant must exhibit the same level of dedication and enthusiasm. You must be resourceful, crafty, and creative—impossible is not an excuse, it’s a dare. 


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