Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A New Year...A New Production Company...A New Direction...... Does That Equal a New Chance?

     First off, Happy New Year to one and all. I apologize for the passage of a considerable amount of time since our last posting, however we have been riding quite a roller-coaster in the Hollywood-TV Programming roller coaster during all that time. So let me recap...
     For most of the late summer and fall, we were waiting for our former production company to edit and produce our teaser reel. This is a 3-5 minute video that our agent would show to the network A&D (Acquisition and Development) people to gauge their interest and/or make a sale. Thus, it is a very important tool in our efforts to sell the show. After weeks and weeks of pleading, cajoling, and even some threatening, we finally received the first "cut" of the pitch reel.
     While the moment was exciting, the product was just OK; nothing I'd write home about. We passed it around for all of us to see, which was followed by a company-wide conference call, during which we made a list of suggestions for "several" changes we felt necessary.
     We sent our list out to L.A. and waited for the re-do. After a few more weeks, we receive the second cut and were unanimously...disappointed! To be honest, for the most part, it sucked. After all this time, months after we had been to San Francisco, we had nothing more than a promo for any run-of-the-mill fire reality show. And that is not was we are about.
     After sending emails back and forth, the trail went "cold," i.e., we cannot get any reply from L.A. After several additional weeks, two of the partners met with the production company in Los Angeles and for all intents and purposes, "called them out." It was time for them to sh*t or get off the pot. It began as an acrimonious meeting, then settled into a more professional one. We finally thought we had hit the target.
     Not so fast, my friends. After that meeting, we lost contact for over a month. Phone calls weren't returned (OK, that was nothing new), emails weren't answered, (OK, that wasn't new either). We just could not get a word from them.
     Finally, close to Thanksgiving, we receive an email, out-of-the-blue, that tells us that our production company could no longer work with us on our program. Plain and simple. There had been no advance hint of this, by phone or email. To say that it took us by a kick-in-the-gonads surprise, would be an understatement.
     In some ways, it was a relief, but that did not assuage the initial anger we felt upon receipt of that email. And after all this time, the least we deserved was an explanation.
     That came several days later, when our L.A.-based partner, called to let me know that he had met with one of the principals and found out that the key partners in the company were going separate ways. In turned out that it had nothing to do with us or our project. And, had we not been so incensed when we received the email, we might have seen a "coded" message included, that basically said that the partner who wrote to us was still very interested in the project. The email, it turn out, was a legal requirement, as much for us, as it was for them.
     It's taken until last week to start the ball rolling all over again. I had a very good conversation with our partner, finally ensconced in his new company and new contact info. In that conversation, we began the discussion as to how to re-tool the show back to our original concept, which would remain true to our fire/rescue background and promotion and add some fun, comedy, and great reality to the mix.
     So that's the story. We hope to be back to work on the re-write by next week. Once that's done, we'll see what our production company's agent has to say about the idea and any constructive feedback she may have. If she likes it, then we'll plan a very quick trip to San Francisco to pick up some additional footage that will play into the re-write. Then, we start the process all over again.
     Does it get discouraging and disappointing? If it didn't, it wouldn't be Hollywood. After over ten years of trying to launch a reality TV show about the fire/rescue service, we've learned to take the hard knocks. But this time, we've come with a little "secret weapon" that we hope will help us get the job done. What is it? If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore, would it?
     Till next time...

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