Friday, August 29, 2008
I know that I have great ideas, people tell me they like them and they like me. I have sat in pitch meetings before 2008 where people flat out said they were not interested, they were passing, needs more developing - blah blah. You know the Hollywood drill "that's been pitched around town." In 2008, I have had a few passes but more "Boardwalks" than "Oriental Avenues " if you know what I mean. I have given my sole focus to coming up with ideas and pitching them. I am totally risking it all here. But I can feel "Park Place," in September. The good news I have been patiently waiting for. I mean I am prepared either way. You have to be when you take a risk.
Exactly why I know that the universe is going to deliver good news. I feel 98.6% confident that one or a few of my concepts will sell. I have managed to put together the dream team to help me get to that place. My manager has been especially supportive and has gotten me in the door with my great ideas to just about everyone important all over town. I sold myself at a meeting I set up myself. I pitched something that they had that was the exact same concept - exact same name even...they asked "What else do you have," and then said "We want to package it." I casually pitched the other idea which was Devils Workshop. I did what Sandi Pepe told me to do.
Sandi Pepe, who was my agent at Gersh for a blink of a moment when the project was in its very early stages - when it was called Lady Mechanics. (the concept has completely changed since that one meeting) In the short time that she was in my life she taught me something very valuable. Paint the picture of what you are pitching, paint is so the other guy can REALLY see your vision just by your words. Be excited! If you are not excited they are not excited. They hear a million pitches. Sandi, she is a smart woman and Hollywood needs more women like her! Too bad she fell off my radar when Gersh reality division sort of pummeled. I got a note giving me her personal cell and that is when I knew there was something happening at Gersh. I don't need an agent right now anyway. She taught me about visioning and painting that vision for other people - especially the suits.
How are you going to make your concept stand out from everyone else's? There are probably three concepts EXACTLY like yours out there already and they've been pitched! Let me tell you one thing I learned...you are not going to be sitting in a room with top suits in Hollywood if your idea isn't good. I've sat in the rooms with top suits and they loved our concept. Some networks may have passed but there is a reason for everything. The feedback was good, not bad.
Anyway, I am on a rant right now about the universe giving me everything I need. It has. I mean at the beginning of the year I thought about last year and how I tripled my income and how I really need to TRUMP that one. How the heck is that going to happen. And then right when I knew what the answer was and why was I ever questioning how that was going to happen...I got a check. That check signaled to me that the universe is providing me what I need, stop worrying and start being patient. So, very patiently I type this blog - visioning my sale, visioning me walking in to the bank and depositing a rather large sum of money into my account(trumping last year) and going home and happily kissing my boyfriend in our home - while I jump up and down and cry out I did it "BUG!"
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The elimination was lame. I don't think there was enough build up to even make the eliminating exciting. By the end of the show, I was typing on my computer and also talking on the phone. But I still think that Thom Beers has great concepts and great signature shows. Congrats.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Hollywood's tough road to TV
Festival proves how difficult it is to break in
By BRIAN LOWRY
Sponsored by NATPE, the event -- which included a "pitch pit" for aspiring producers -- was another occasion for people with noses pressed against the glass to make contact with shakers and movers, or at least agents and managers. Based on the clear hunger for such opportunities, that's obviously a service.
Having attended plenty of such forums, though, the "Selling Your TV Show" panel moderated by LMNO Prods. CEO Eric Schotz proved especially refreshing and frank-- departing from the uplifting norm, where hopefuls are cheerfully told to doggedly bang on doors and steadfastly pursue their hearts' desires.
There's a fine line, admittedly, between tough love and trampling on people's dreams. Still, erring toward the latter seems preferable to soft-peddling the industry's intricate safeguards designed to keep interlopers out. That also means sharing harsh truths about how hard work doesn't necessarily pay off, not everyone being destined to succeed and recognizing the difference between admirable persistence and misguided delusion.
IN THIS REGARD, locating the Straight Talk Express can be as difficult in Hollywood as it is in Washington during election cycles -- partly because many of those trafficking in "You too can make it" platitudes are eager to fill seminars and separate wannabes from their money.
Rarely does anybody answer the novice's question "How do I sell my show?" with brutal candor -- something like, "You don't, not until you've gained admission to this exclusive club, usually by scrounging work on somebody else's show. Better yet -- go back in time and be born into it." Then again, those marketing the dream can point to the flukes -- the clerical worker that improbably triumphed with a pitch and a prayer, keeping the audacity of such hopes alive.
So credit Schotz and his panel for their honesty, yielding rough guidelines worth repeating not only to newcomers but anybody addressing a room populated by those with more ambitions than connections:
- Don't trust family and friends: "They suck" as a test audience, Schotz said, "because they want you to do well and don't tell you the truth."
- Lose the 'You stole my idea!' paranoia: As producer Arthur Smith noted, people constantly pitch similar ideas -- especially in reality TV. Besides, producing a TV pilot is "the easy part," as "Two and a Half Men" producer Chuck Lorre observed during a separate session. There's extra time and money to shoot prototypes; the trick is having the ability (and track record, thus reassuring nervous network suits) to replicate that template six, 13 or 22 times a year.
- Understand the buyer's perspective: As "Deadliest Catch" producer Thom Beers colorfully put it, execs warily view every potential supplier with the same concern: "Is this the person that's gonna screw my fuckin' career up?" Sure, they crave hits, but since self-preservation is Job One, it's always safer to say "no."
- Being derivative has limits: While imitation remains the sincerest form of television, Schotz counseled against "more than three crosses," as in "It's like 'Survivor' Meets 'Wife Swap' meets 'Daddy Day Care.'"
- Take "no" for an answer: "Learn how to take a pass," said Sharon Levy, Spike's senior VP of alternative programming, indicating that nothing irritates buyers more than continued pleading after rejection.
- Take "yes" for an answer: Schotz quoted CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves as telling him, "If someone says, 'We'll buy it,' get out of that room as quick as you can."
- Stick-to-itiveness is an asset only up to a point: "If everybody tells you it sucks, listen to them," Schotz said.
- (Person) Arthur SmithExecutive Producer
- (Person) Arthur SmithDirector, Screenplay
- (Person) Arthur SmithMusic, Song
- (Person) Arthur SmithActor, Voice
- (Person) Arthur SmithCinematographer, Director of Photography
- (Person) Arthur Smith
- (Person) Arthur SmithDriver, Location Manager, Production Supervisor
- (Person) Arthur SmithExtras Casting
The impulse to be encouraging -- or at least polite -- is natural. Fostering false hope, however, is like spinning a Vegas roulette wheel and saying, "Keep trying, 22 could come up next time" to someone determined to literally bet the farm. Given the long odds, dispensing a dose of painful reality now might actually be the nicest advice you can offer.
Monday, August 4, 2008
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