Sunday, December 26, 2010

Scooby Doo, H-Bombs and Characters

A client asked that I add a new character to the pitch bible that I'm writing. Without going into detail, I'll say that its an interesting character - but unsuited to the stories they're trying to tell.

This guy is all powerful with tremendous resources at his disposal. BUT --

Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? How does he fit with the Good Guys' dynamics - or on the Bad Guys team? How does he affect the balance of power in the show? Huh? "Balance of Power"? What's that?

Referring to The 21 Things a Broadcaster is Looking for in Your Script or Pitch post from last year, Number 11 says:

There should be a balance between the forces of good and evil. Even if the good guys are vastly outnumbered, the audience should have some hope (however faint) that they will succeed in their quest. Otherwise, what's the point?

In the case of my current writing assignment, the client had asked me to add a character who's powers and resources vastly outstrip those of the protagonists and antagonists. It's like grafting an H-Bomb onto Shaggy's right hand. That gives him tremendous power. Suddenly "Scooby Doo" is a whole other show. (I had the idea of grafting an H-Bomb onto Gilligan's hand - and with that, "Gilligan's Island" REALLY becomes a "whole other show". I may just pitch that one...)

Back on subject - At the beginning of Star Wars (Episode 4 - for the nerds), Luke Skywalker is no match for Darth Vader. However over the course of the trilogy, his abilities grow and he defeats Vader - there is a balance because the threat of Darth Vader forces Luke to grow - so that he reaches his potential. If Vader could (and he can - but he chooses not to) snuff out Luke Skywalker then there is no balance in the storytelling. It's all one sided and unsatisfying.

Balance or a shifting balance - keeps the characters and storytelling interesting.

Monday, December 6, 2010


As the year draws to a close - people are starting to think about THE KIDSCREEN SUMMIT - the first major market of 2011. It's never to early to get your pitch in tip-top shape!

We'd be glad to help. Whether you need a pitch document written or polished, or if you simply need the best script in the world - we're your one stop creative shop.

Need fantastic world class art and design? We can put you in touch with the right people.

Remember - You only get one chance to make a great first impression!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Pitch Day

We (my Freaky Stories partner, John Delmage and I) are pitching shows this afternoon. Unlike most producers, we don't pitch often. We only pitch show concepts that we really believe in -- ideas that would make for really good television programming. There are a lot of people who pitch whatever and whenever they can, but we strive for quality.

We're using a different strategy this time - rather than coming in with a specific project, we've assembled a spectrum of properties. Some are old, some new. Some have been pitched before (but the time may be right) and some have, for one reason or another, never seen the light of day. There are 5 shows in our bag today.

Our strategy is to meet with the Broadcast Executive and see what kind of show they're looking for. Girls? We have one - with a strong reason that this might be very strong for them. Boys - action 8 to 12? Got one of those. Again, very strong - with reasons this might be good for them.
A show for fans 17+? Got one of those, too. And DAMN - it's good. Real good.

How will we do? I have no clue. All of our pitches are strong - but there's no telling what they're looking for - what they have - or what they've just committed to. There are 1000 different things going on behind the scenes, of which we have no inkling. All we can do is try our best.

Wish us luck! I'll update this later....


In case anyone is wondering - we didn't pitch anything. It was an informal meet and greet. We discussed the broadcaster's needs; where they were going in terms of direction. We discussed what had and hadn't been working for them in the past couple of years and why? Frankly, I was surprised - several shows that have been widely touted as "hits' have actually been performing poorly and are to be seen no more.

We paid close attention to what they're looking for and will be fine-tuning our material to suit their needs over the next few weeks.

One of our pet projects just isn't right for this broadcaster. Following the meeting we strategized where and to whom we could pitch this project. A very interesting opportunity has presented itself and we'll see where it takes us.

All in all, it was a very interesting and informative meeting. We were on the right track with most of our material, but the information we gleaned from this conversation will make our pitches stronger.