Friday, May 29, 2009

The State of Hollywood

Most people in Hollywood right now are seeing RED. I'm not talking about the pretty red tulips above either. After weekly pitching for the last year, what I'm finding is that Networks don't want to spend money right now.

We have lots of interest in our projects but no real money offered up front at all. We have development deals with no money, and I think those days of getting money up front are over. Networks are really going to be very careful about what they pick up from here on out. There are fewer and fewer pilots being shot and even fewer reality shows being picked up as well. BUT there is work out there. And there are Networks still buying concepts and shows! Until I have a solid contract and check in my hand I am going to continue to pound the pavement and pitch!

I recently did a great Media panel in front of members of the National Speakers Association. I got to hear lots of pitches. These pitches ranged from experts pitching themselves, people with a new product pitching the product, and people pitching ideas like reality shows. In general, I really feel like people think that pitching a reality show is easy. Its not. And there is a lot of competition out there. And not to mention the fact that if yours isn't clever and different, its probably already been pitched a hundred times already!

From what I have seen - people just don't do their homework. There is no hook, no substance, and it doesn't differ from anything else on the market. I had a gentleman show me his three pitches on reality shows that centered around the job market. He told me he went out pitching them with a known producer in town and wondered why he got a no thank you. I was shocked that he hadn't done any homework to see if there was anything else currently out there like it on the market. I was also horrified that within his three paragraphs about the show, I still couldn't figure out exactly what the show was about! Really?

When we put our shows together we research, test, talk about, discuss with networks about what they are looking for, finding something unique every time we even think about taking something out into the marketplace. I consistently coffee with key players in the industry and run new ideas by them, if I don't get a "that's fresh," I know there won't be an interest to take it further.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

CW Here We Come

CW... Here we Come...

We are ready for our pitches, so bring it on!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pushing Past Your Limits

I thought I would never get through this week. But I did. I pulled it off, even with a terrible cold. Last week one of my talents that I have developed shows with, had an initial meeting with Oprah's new network - OWN and their talent division.

If you don't know it, Oprah inked a deal in January 2008 - (from Variety)

OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network will bow in the second half of 2009. OWN will take over the Discovery Health Channel distribution platform, which guarantees it a strong subscriber base of 67.7 million cable and satellite homes, according to Nielsen. Winfrey will be chair of the network.
OWN will dive deeper into the lifestyle, self-help, entertainment and spiritual themes Winfrey mines on her daily show, which has been daytime's top syndicated yakker for 20 years, and in her successful monthly magazine O: the Oprah Magazine, a joint venture with Hearst Magazines.

So this week, we had our big pitch meeting with OWN for our three shows we have been developing around the talent. There was one slight problem before the meeting; the talent had pitched a show that we didn't have. We had thoughts for it, and we had ideas around it but nothing solid. So this left me completely worried that the talent had pitched something we clearly didn't have and they liked it and wanted it. This meant that they wanted it in the pitch meeting. Right.

Aside from me freaking out on the talent, I managed to compose myself and managed to apologize and move forward. In fact - we flew by the seat of our pants and came up with something so brilliant at the last minute - that we were laughing in the car on the way home about it. As I thought about it further, we in fact have on all three of our concepts, come up with each one "by the seats of our pants." Literally.

Our meeting was great. My manager was late, and I had decided that as a team we should wait for him, but we should have just gone in right away. After 5 minutes we decided to go in (not realizing that the secretary failed to tell us that the big head honcho could only stay for 5 minutes in the meeting) so this was our only black mark. My decision to wait could have cost us - next time we always go in right when they are ready. One new lesson learned. We had 3 VP's and one talent Exec in our meeting. As far as I saw, they loved all three of our pitches. We will find out next week as to how well they really loved them. I know that they are still searching for a clear direction to go with their shows that will air on their network. My partner and talent has since been in to deliver a case of books and have lunch with the talent exec. She told me how great it was to walk in to the network and see everyone reading her book! We love this!

My second big deadline was getting my final pitch together for Sony. I have an unofficial development deal with them, bringing them reality projects with a quote from an exec saying that they will do what ever it is to help me get one of my shows off the ground. So with that said, when an exec says that they want something and the department coordinator says that the exec has been talking about it for three have to get it in! I was told that they had a big meeting scheduled for Monday and that my materials (Sizzle reel and treatment) would be best in to Sony by Friday at 6 pm.

If everything couldn't go wrong on Friday it did. I mean from the printer to the DVD labels to the font to me driving! Plus I was sick! So, I had to force myself out of bed to complete all of the tasks. Luckily, my partner on this project is so friggin fantastic, that he really helped make it all happen. Not to mention the fact that he is a great editor, but he is also a great thinker and he's from my hometown in Sudbury, MA! Big thank you to him for making our project friggin great. So, I made it to Sony after rushing to his edit bay, sitting bumper to bumper on the 101 and the 405 in the nick of time. 5:45 pm I rushed through the gates and on to Building B. I handed it to the Coordinator who said that the exec could not WAIT to have this project for the big Monday pitch meeting. So now we wait...for good news on Monday!!

It wasn't over yet. I had yet to prepare for my big speech on Saturday and serve as a media panel expert at the Los Angeles chapter of NSA for May Media Mania! Oh my goodness what a great event, with some great pitches and a great panel! Sending all my thanks to the other media experts on the panel, NSA LA Chapter members, Event Organizers Eli Davidson and Judith Parker Harris. I had a great time, met some great people and heard some good pitches.

To check out the participants:

All in all I got it all done, but now I am super sick in bed with probably one of the worst colds I have had in a long long time.