Friday, July 31, 2009


I got to thinking yesterday about all of the short lived TV shows out there. Don't you hate it when you totally get into a show, and then suddenly it gets CANCELLED!? It seems to me that the networks rarely give shows a chance these days. With so many channels and so many shows, its more than just a fad to cancel a show after one or two episodes. I understand that these execs have a bigger person to answer to, but come on guys give shows a chance!

So where I am headed is - when you create something you never know if people are going to like it. And in TV you never know. When you create something you are guessing that people will like it. Nobody really knows what the public will end up liking in the end anyway.

I wonder how shows like "The World According to Jim," "America's Toughest Jobs," "The Baby Borrowers," "Celebrity Circus," "Cupid," "Harpers Island," "Secret Millionaire," and "Stilista" even got on the air to begin with. Someone obviously had a good pitch and a good relationship with someone to make that happen. At one point I even met a writer on "The World According to Jim," who said the show was stupid and how he couldn't believe it was still on the air! The other side of the coin is they cancel something as successful as "Samantha Who?" People actually watched that show. Who made that decision? The show won Emmy's! Were these shows cancelled because the public didn't like them or were they network execs who gave them the ax?

Anyway, you just never know what people are going to like. So create your heart away. In the end what really matters is if you like it. If you believe in your work, its all that matters anyway...Well, I guess another thing that matters is making the moola.

What favorite shows do you miss? Write and tell me!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Holy S*^# Factor

I have been getting a big influx of people coming to me with pitches over the last two weeks. My head is in a virtual spin which is a combination of my own projects and everyone else's creative stuff colliding into my world.

The problem I am having with everyone else's projects (and one of my own) is how do you make the show have that important twist that has that "Holy S*&# factor," and stand out from the rest of the crowd in the marketplace? #1 - there is a hell of a lot of competition out there. #2 - if it doesn't have a "Holy S*&# factor" you may as well go back to the drawing board before you go out to pitch. The buyers are rarely committing so you better have something so great that it basically knocks them over like a big gust of wind and they can't get back up right away.

Before I even attempt to go into the marketplace, I address every single angle including research and development of what's been done, what's being pitched and who I can align myself with. Even when I hit the market and do my pitches, I am constantly tweaking utilizing the constructive criticism on every pitch to perfect mine for the next pitch. Its always a work in progress. Its hard work and its dedication!

Not only am I constantly tweaking my projects, but I am also finding other avenues to dip my toes into. Now, I am exploring the Digital marketplace because web based projects are a great way to get something off the ground as well. And there is money and advertisers to partner up with. Build the base and get the hits and fans and then you have content to hit the TV marketplace with. Small mini episodes, that eventually can be formed into a sizzle to pitch networks with. I know that the market is still in exploration mode, but it is where its going. If you can't sell a show to a network, why not align yourself with some partners and go the digital route first.

Think about it before you set out to pitch - does yours have that "Holy S*&# Factor?" Because, they are undoubtedly going to tell you that its missing something if you don't knock the wind out of them with an angle they have never heard before -- and in this town that is difficult to do!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Are You Working with Your Head or Your Heart?

I was reading Bob Leftsetz's column that he writes for the music industry. He talked about something that I have thought a lot about. “The question is, are you working with your head or heart? At some point you've got to stop being who your parents want you to be and start being who you are.”

Very nicely stated. I have been earning a living working on other people’s shows as a television producer since 2001. I have been dreaming up show ideas since I was about seven years old. It happened each morning at the bus stop with my best friend Katie. (I have blogged about her before.) She told visual stories of the previous nights viewing of her favorite shows “Charlie’s Angles,” “The Love Boat,” and “Fantasy Island,” to name a few. I salivated at every juicy morsel – we couldn’t watch television after a certain hour at my house.

In 2003, I started pitching reality TV ideas. I made my own “hot lists,” from reading Variety and cold called people and got my own pitch meetings without a manager. While I worked on shows, I would “go to lunch,” or “the doctor,” just to pitch production companies.

In 2008, I began pursuing my dream full time - creating and developing television shows and pitching them. I started out developing something around Christopher Titus. Since then, I have learned a great deal and have not only increased my contacts, but I am closer than ever before to selling something. It’s officially been one full year.

It wasn’t until this year that I realized there’s been one thing in the back of my mind that I somehow could not let go of. It was a seed planted a long, long time ago in the depths of my blueprint. That seed was my mom telling me I needed to have a job with a 401k plan = job security. Which in today’s marketplace means nothing. There is no security any more unless you own your own company. In my mom’s career height, jobs offered not only financial security, but retirement benefits, health benefits and so much more.

What I am doing for a career is so unconventional “Creative Producer – Pitching Reality Concepts,” not your average career. It never will be. Most people in Los Angeles understand. BUT if you live anywhere else you probably won’t understand the scope of what I am doing. God Bless my Mom. She is a wonderful woman, who is now finding things that she loves to do in life after retiring. We couldn’t be more opposite – I travel a risky route with no guarantee, and she travels a safer route.

When I think about it, it’s as if I had an angel on one of my shoulders and a Devil on the other. My angel (aka my mom) on the left telling me that the route was to be secure and safe. The Devil (aka me) on the right, telling me the route was risky so go pitch and sell a television show! One thing I am certain about is what I did learn from her - that I think with my head and my heart, because I am truly doing something I love. I sleep, eat, drink, and dream about coming up with television shows.