Sunday, March 29, 2009

Red Flags

Red Flags. In this business you have to learn quickly just when to say when. A red flag may pop up at any time and you don't even realize that it is and its TOO LATE! What is a red flag?

I am glad you asked. A red flag is a warning. A red flag alerts one that danger is ahead, looming, very close and for the body and mind to take notice and fast. One should take note when more than one flag waves. Red flags have been used since the 15th century when the "red flag" was used as a "flag of defiance."It was raised in cities and castles under siege to indicate that they would not surrender. The color red became associated with patriotism early in the French Revolution. Did you know that the United States has some state laws that forbid flying a red flag (OK, MN, SD), where it is a felony with a possible 10 year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine to fly one.

A red flag in motor sports is used to stop either a practice session or a race due to conditions been considered too dangerous. A red flag waiving while someone is boating and taking part in water sports signifies "man down in the water." There are also red flags that a therapist will talk about when "sensing danger within relationships."

You are probably wondering what the hell it is I am getting at about "Red Flags and Pitching TV Shows." I am so glad that you asked. A red flag in the pitching process always raises "questions" and is a good indication that things are not right or there will be some sort of problem that WILL come up - if you don't do something about it and fast! You really have to have a trained ear to listen to what people are saying and doing, these are clues and are a good indication of RED FLAGS, waving all over the friggin place!

Here are two big things to consider up front to spotting red flags in the starting stages of the pitching process.

1. Talent. If you have trouble right off the bat with talent who won't sign a basic pitching agreement or can't commit to meetings or doing the work that it takes to be part of a team...then you better think twice about going out to pitch a show with them attached. Lots of changes to a basic agreement up front can signal huge troubles, later down the road. I say really consider the talent as a whole and assess whether or not making a show with them will be effortless and easy. If you get a red flag up front, follow your instincts and cut the cord.

2. Body Language. This is good to observe during a pitch. You can tell a lot about the mood of the executive and the room just by observing the way they are sitting in the chair, expressions on their faces, are they tense, bored, happy...take notes and adjust your pitch accordingly - you only have a small window of time to blow them away, so if you see "funny body language" its a red flag.

3. No's. If two or more companies give you a NO, its a red flag. Find out why. Was it because it was a bad idea? Good idea but they didn't like the talent? Loved the pitch but have something similar in development? Its in your best interest to find out more details than the NO. Then you can decide whether or not to continue pitching or not. If you do continue and decide that its just your pitch you need to refine then OK. BUT its a good idea to get all the red flags out of the way before you hit any of the big players. If you are not sure about the pitch, pitch some of the smaller companies and use their feedback to get all of your red flags out of the way!

Learn to spot your red flags quickly.

I have learned that projects that are effortless, are usually the projects that GO...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pitching - Your Own Personal Art Form

With all of the meetings that I have had - I know pitching is an art form. some ways its been my very own personal art form. I say this because I have such a creative mind and things are always popping into my head in regard to show ideas.

I started pitching at a really young age. I can remember going to the bus stop in second grade and listening to Katie Lanigan's stories from the previous night's TV watching. They were the most wonderful stories about Charlies Angels, Fantasy Island and the Love Boat. Katie told every detail as if it was the most exciting thing she ever saw. She remembered every juicy morsel, even what they wore, said and what the major plot of each show was.

You see my parents let us watch the nightly news, but anything after 8 p.m. was off limits. Big drag for me as a kid. Move over "Brady Bunch" Katie was my own entertainment reporter! It was a love/hate relationship; me loving to hear Katie's stories and me hating the fact that I couldn't join in on the conversation. Instead, I went to school, and embellished her stories about her TV time into my own stories, like I had watched every episode described at the bus stop that day. If I look at it clearly, this was the start of my pitching - in second grade mind you!

It really didn't materialize into anything until 2004, when I had a great writing partner. We thought that with the crap reality that was on TV, we could come up with great shows! And we did. I remember our first pitch out, we got a development deal for an idea. While that show didn't ultimately get a green light, I learned a ton about the process of developing a reality show for television. It's given me part of the foundation for where I am today.

I have found that I can think of an idea very easily. Lots of ideas. But its like playing the Roulette wheel with Networks and production companies. I found that my art form has been enriched and perfected by many factors in my life. I know now you have to work and color the room... paint that picture so that they can see it inside, like I did in second grade. The fact is that you have so little time to do so!

I am thanking Katie for what I learned in second grade. We still talk once a week and she still remembers every detail about our childhood and about all of the shows she watched and retold to me. Thanks Katie!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Girl Powder

Go Team Girl Powder! We had our first Network pitch this past week. For the first time since we started mapping out the treatment, I did realize that there were some confusing parts to our pitch.

I do believe that given the right feedback and direction, anything can be tweaked and fixed to meet a network or Executives needs. I know that this show has great potential for the '2010 Olympic Season,' to premiere on a major Network. During our pitch we got to show 2 of the girls that we loved from our "cast of characters," that I feel really sell the show concept along with the amazing brand "Girl Powder." They loved them! We had over 500 Casting submissions and we had many submit videos and we picked the 10 we loved the most! We are still searching for the African American snow girl, Latina Snow goddess - so if you know of Girl Powder!

This particular network asked us for more - a casting sizzle reel. So, off I went into my friend Nick Termini's Edit bay and BAM - 10 girls that rock in a little over six hours on the reel! All different character types, competing against each other for a golden prize and all together in one house, the tension will mount and personalities will collide!

My partner and the owner of Girl Powder, is such an amazing person, go getter, very creative and I just have to say thank you to him for giving 100% to get this project off the ground! I just wish that everyone I worked with was more like him - he has a certain drive that is rare!! Together we worked really hard and we are "GOING to the 2010 OLYMPICS with this one!!"

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Looking for Ad Rates and Foreign Distribution Info

It's been a while since my last post. I have been super busy with wall to wall pitches. We are temporarily on hold with any Jose Canseco pitches until my lawyer can work out a few details. His window to buyers will close if his team doesn't facilitate things quickly.

I have a big pitch coming up on Monday with my Girl Powder show at a network. We are so pumped, we had over 500 casting submissions from girls in the snow sport from all over the world! It was so fun getting their videos and picking 10 that we LOVE!

What I am looking for at this moment:
  • I am looking for any contacts in the Advertising World of TV - specifically regarding ad rates - cable & network.
  • Information about Distribution for TV in foreign markets.
  • My next reality projects! Do you have an idea that you think is great? I want to hear it!
  • Anyone who has a direct contact to any of the following people: Marion Jones, Mickey Rourke, Pete Carroll, Michael Vick, Maurice Clarett, Daryl Strawberry, A-Rod.