Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Worst Pitches Ever!

Lunching with a friend yesterday, the topic turned to The Worst Pitches Ever. He related the story, passed along from a broadcast executive about the two guys who visited his office.

They'd hyped that they had the Greatest Show EVER!... and had to show it to him. So he cleared some time in his schedule and had a couple of assistants sit in on the meeting. I mean, if this is the Greatest Show EVER... why not?

So the two guys come in with a box. Everyone sits forward in their chairs as the two open the box and pull out a (very expensively produced - and very lifelike)...

...Human Brain standing on two Chicken Feet.

Everyone stares at the thing. "What is it?" asks the executive.

"It's a Human Brain standing on Chicken Feet" says one of the guys.

"Okay. So what's the show about?" asks one of the assistants.

"It's about a Human Brain standing on Chicken Feet" says the other guy.

(Cue sound of Crickets Chirping.) End of meeting.

Ya know? I can believe this really happened. I've done this. Everyone does this - all the time. It's human nature. You get so wrapped up in a single aspect of the pitch that you forget the Key Rule (the OTHER key rule, aside from "Nobody knows anything"): The show needs a great concept and great characters.

WHAT is it about? WHO is it about? WHAT are they trying to achieve? -- That's what they're looking for. Without that, the best pitch in the world is a waste of time.

Psst... Anyone want to buy a slightly used "Human Brain standing on Chicken Feet"?


  1. I was once asked if I were interested to work on a series'pilot that I would then direct if it were greenlit, that was somewhat pitched but not yet bought. I still have it as an attachment from a producer's email that I keep just to make sure it was for real and as a reminder that my ideas might not be so bad after all. But I just couldn't believe the premise, the more I read it the more nauseous I got, and I worked on some pretty sickening properties, but this one had a stench that just wouldn't quit. I e-mailed the producer back saying I didn't care how much I needed a job, I wouldn't touch that toxic piece of dung with a ten foot pole, I wouldn't even dare pass it along to my worst enemy.

    In comparison, I WISH it were about a brain on chicken legs rather than this oozing piece of radiation waste.

  2. Yeah, but if you look at any production company's development roster, they're sure to have a bunch of stinkers. 90% of everything is ka-ka, right? Why single any particular company out for the honour?

    I mean - I could. But that would just be mean and bitter of me. "Unicorns Everyone!"

  3. You're pissing off the toonbrew folks agian! :)

  4. Who am I pissing off? A bunch of kids who are trying to establish some industry cred, by being cranky?

    How do I know they're a bunch of kids? Because a pro would never shit all over a colleague's work. If they did, they wouldn't be colleagues for very long.

    There are a lot of things out there that are not to my taste. That's fine. I nod, smile and move on. If I like something, I say so. But the nit-picking that goes on in cartoon biz fandom is insane.

    There are no heroes. There are no villains. There are just a bunch of people doing their best, trying to earn a buck in a very tough business.

    So the kids are pissed off? Big fuckin' deal.

  5. I've heard worse stories from my teacher. There was one story where one guy pitched an idea about a cat.He didn't have any drawings of this cat nor any special hook about this cat and worse of all he expected everyone around him to flesh out the idea into a series where he would take creative credit.

  6. Hrrmmph... cat people...

    DOGS, I can understand. But CATS?