Monday, June 19, 2006

Last Word on Banff tv Fest....

...I promise.

Mulling some stuff over the weekend - the old 'what do the networks really want?' question.
During the festival meets, I had a couple of sexy 'pushing the boundries' drama/comedy tv series to pitch. And let it be known that I wasn't really targeting the major networks with these projects, but when the 'what else are you working on?' question came up, I didn't keep my mouth shut. I did the quick and dirty song and dance, and met with the inevitable 'that doesn't seem appropriate for us' response.

But instead of letting it slide, I chose to push a bit. I asked said network reps if they would like to make and air a 'Nip and Tuck'...a 'Big Love'...a 'Rescue Me' "Entourage'...a 'Sex In The City' - they answered yes across the board. Then I deftly dovetailed back to my pitches, pointed out some similarities, and then asked what exactly was their definition of 'appropriate'? After much hum and haw, they responded that it would depend on 'execution', and the boundries weren't 'pushed too far'. So you would possibly consider a series like this? I ask. Possibly. And then one began listing some rules of appropriateness (though apparently airing a buy of The Soprano's at 10pm isn't inappropriate - must be the execution)...

What's my point... networks want hits, they want the viewers watching and talking about those hits - in pretty much whatever racy, genre busting, boundry pushing form they may take. So write your show/series the way you want to make it, the way it works best, and make it pop ...and if it catches someone's eye, adjustments can and will be made to make it network appropriate (there will always be 'adjustments' and 'modifications'. That's the nature of the beast).

But in my experience, when decision making people start talking about execution or the rules, it can mean they don't really know what they want, but more than likely, it means they don't really want to work with you(me).

Trying to remain positive...

SONG & ARTIST? - You woke up this morning
Got yourself a gun,
Mama always said
you'd beThe Chosen One.

She said: You're one in a million
You've got to burn to shine,
But you were born under a bad sign,
With a blue moon in your eyes.


Jutratest said...

Of course it is in the execution, however people who lack imagination can not imagine a successful execution. They can only imagine what their bland little minds can conjure, and then project that boring failure on your idea.

Their weak little corporate minds are too concerned by the fact that their boss stopped asking Sally to get everybody Starbucks and asked THEM instead two times last week. Does this mean Sally will get the promotion when Don goes on mat leave? Maybe if they laugh louder at the boss's jokes.. maybe if they shit on the mail guys within hearing distance of the boss? Maybe if they reference their goth days in the 90’s more often the boss will get it that they are edgy.

They want to produce boundary-pushing television, but they work in safe secure corporate jobs in a bloated corporate welfare system for incompetent non-boat-rocking buffoons, so their mindset is not a boundary pushing mindset. Boundary pushing for them means smoking a cigarette at the loading dock with the Australian guy from accounting, while still having a nicotine patch firmly stuck to their backside.

Do to my complete lack of credits, I pitch with a script, and it seems to work so far (as far as getting an option, or development deal), but I still have not captured that elusive "produced credit". Just a matter of time hopefully.

Kelly J. Compeau said...

Interesting posts from both Will and jutratest. The first eager and hopeful, the second cynical and a little bit angry. Two emotional sides of the same frustrating coin.

KJC (who is so blissfully optimistic she could be described as having a certified mental disorder)

Jutratest said...

Funny, I had forgotten I wrote this comment this morning!

I have a dry sense of humour Kelly. I'm not as jaded as I sound, I just ENJOY sounding like a cynical bastard.

Wow, that is weird that I wrote that but barely remember it. I must have a mad scientist controlling me by remote contol or something. And I was very wordy! And I made sense!

wcdixon said...

more realistic than eager and hopeful, KJC...been there, done that - time to start putting together a more attractive package, that's all

Crashdummie said...

Lets just hope that jutratest is a optimistic realist :)

Yupp, ppl want the profit but dont want to take the risqué - life's like gambling - to win big you have to be prepared to lose.

Regarding whats appropriate or not, well, ppls sense of moral & ethics tend to change with time - just look at the simple thing as teh length of a girls skirt *shrug*

However, I'm kinda curios over what song & dance trick you did wcdixon?

PS. The match ended with 2-2 which means Sweden is still in the game... YEY!!!

gizmorox said...

I know this one! It's A3 - woke up this morning. And I don't even watch the Sopranos.

wcdixon said...

giz is correct (but no Soprano's?)

Jewel - far less exciting than it may sound...more like thirty second summary of series/pitch while seated in high back chairs in hotel lounge...she yawns

jut - can only suggest you keep how you 'really feel' to yourself in the face to face' least until that produced credit surfaces...amusing though - and made sense

Callaghan said...

Hey Dixon, no need to make the promise of no more Banff Fest posts.....they've all been really interesting so far.

You keep printing them and I'll keep reading them!

The Film Diva said...

Having worked as a "suit" for 10 years, I know how hard it is to pitch at that long-ass table with your boss and 12 other executives sharpening their knives in your face. If your writer doesn't have previous work that demonstrates the boundary-pushing, of course it comes down to execution. I've read more mafioso-centered stories than you can shake a stick at, and if you pitch them, they all sound like THE SOPRANOS.

The crappy thing is when you vouch for a writer, sell your heart out and the bastard phones it in, or oversold him/herself and now YOU are whats for dinner at the weekly staff meeting. Thank God I'm out of that racket!

wcdixon said...

let it be known that Diva puts my tiny granules of industry soundbites to shame over at her site...go read now if you want good LA/Hollywood info

And since DeadThings has Canada covered better than pretty much anyone, I'm questioning the niche thing again...

The Film Diva said...

You are very kind.

But I have to say, from sheer enjoyment of your narrative eye, I hope you keep posting. I was saying this to myself like 10x yesterday:

"You have a sella phone? I have a sella phone. You need a sella phone? Oh you have a sella phone? Your sella phone is good? Then I'll call you later on your sella phone."

And the song trivia!