Newsletter 05 – December 2011
Blair Thein… feeling no pain
Client Blair Thein came to our Hit Maker Summit last year and we worked with him on his reality concept. He had an idea for a high stakes competition show featuring three of the most popular sports on the planet: Pool, Poker and MMA-style fighting. Naturally, he called his show, Pool, Poker & Pain.
But the stakes of what was a good idea and a hard-fought pitch and promotion process have finally paid off: Thein just inked a development deal with our friend, Doug Stanley, President of Ridgeline Entertainment, and an Emmy-award-winning producer of Discovery C hannel’s most popular series, Deadliest Catch.
Doug and Blair seen here when they met at our Hit Makers Summit event in Orlando.
Here’s the announcement from Ridgeline
We have established a new contract and partnered with Blair in the development and production of the series Pool, Poker and Pain, a show that brings to light the wild lives of gamblers and hustlers. The show features the elements of Billiards, Poker and Mixed Martial Arts fighting.
Doug Stanley add, “We are quite excited to be bringing this new show concept and format to market, we believe we have ‘lighting in a bottle” with this one!”
Blair and Stanley already already have 13 episodes plotted or scripted, a budget, and a 1-sheet prepared in anticipation of formally presenting the show to television networks.
We wish Blair and Doug the best of luck, but know they have a winning hand.
IN PRODUCTION with MARK & JEANNE
Projects that are keeping us very Merry this month.
My Week with Marilyn just opened in theaters nationwide. It stars Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe and feature sequences storyboarded by Brian Postman working through Mark’s company, Animatics & Storyboards, Inc.
The actual dancing scene boarded is featured in this trailer:
Brian tells us that when he first sat down with the film’s executive producer Harvey Weinstein, Harvey said, “You’ve got 30 minutes to prove what you can do.” Brian certainly performed under pressure for the notoriously tough film mogul – he was there for days and got the gig.
The animation phase on the Cyber-Optics pilot Mark is directing has begun. He’s working with the Canadian studio Loogaroo.
Now that Brett Ratner is out as producer and Eddie Murphy is out as host of the next Academy Awards show, Mark expects their focus to increase for the big screen adaptation of Hong Kong Phooey with Murphy as the voice, and Mark storyboarding.
Animatics & Storyboards, Inc. is also be producing the storyboards and animatics for client Brian Burroughs very funny animation short, Shotrocity.
Jeanne’s wrapping up a very hot sizzle reel for the reality show Bass Kicks Ass, starring client and Australian martial arts and fitness video star Bass Gabrielle.
Wayne’s doing a script polish for client Ryan Magnon’s half-hour comedy animation pilot, Totally Awesome Dude.
Wayne also took some time to script and consult on a public service video that is promoting children in kindergarten through middle school walking or riding their bikes to school instead of taking the bus. Besides saving transportation costs to school districts in a tough economy, the Safe Routes to School initiative also helps tackle the obesity epidemic among children by promoting health and exercise, as well as time spent with family or parents who accompany their children on the walk or bike ride.
It’s going to be a Merry but busy Christmas for a select group of reality show creators putting the finishing touches on their pitches.
The Hit Maker Tour to the Realscreen Summit in Washington in January has SOLD OUT.
We’d like to personally thank everyone who came aboard for making it another sell out. We’re going to have a great time. You’re going to get more out of this than you ever expected. And Jeanne is super excited to work with you. We had our first training session a couple weeks ago and the next training session is coming up December 8th.
Our goal is to have everyone going on the tour totally prepared to squeeze every last ounce of opportunity, contacts, and experience out of the Summit. Santa Claus might just have some presents left over for January if your pitches hit their marks.
For those of you who are going to any of the winter conferences and couldn’t make it into our Hit Maker Tour, never fear. We can still work with you 1-on-1 to get your pitch ready. http://www.sellyourtvconceptnow.com/breakthrough-sessions
Our big event in less than two weeks is our “Sell Your Script” TeleSummit on Wednesday, December 14 at 9:30 p.m. EST / 6:30 p.m. PST.
This really is an awesome Christmas present to anyone who’s writing or has written a feature or TV script and want to know that the next step is. A-list WGA writer Wayne Carter has already taken all those steps, and sold more than 10 feature scripts in Hollywood to the major studios, as well as TV pilot scripts for National Lampoon, CBS, and Ed McMahon, comedy material for HBO series and late night television, and many more.
The Telesummit, hosted by Mark Simon will focus on insider secrets and advice for all scriptwriters, whether TV, feature, comedy, drama or reality. The information comes from nearly two decades experience working in Hollywood, as well as teaching college courses and presenting seminars on the “Business of Scriptwriting.” Events or credits that normally cost in the hundreds of dollars; condensed into one 2-3 hour evening for a low $79.
Here’s a few voices on the experience you will receive:
“I learned more about the business of scriptwriting than I ever possibly would have by listening to recycled lectures or reading formula books. His first-hand knowledge and anecdotes concerning the Hollywood industry were beneficial beyond words.”
“The course was wonderful for aspiring screenwriters, and the information invaluable.”
“He was a real inspiration and helped me see the realism of the script business.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed your course and learned an incredible and invaluable amount of information. I am personally proud to know that I can, in fact, write a full-length script … and have fun doing it! And I will continue doing it. Thank you so much for that.”
“Your courses has inspired me to go for it! I plan to finish my screenplay and actually send it to production companies.”
Give yourself the ultimate Christmas present this season: the inspiration and motivation to finally give your script the chance it deserves to succeed as a television show or feature film.
Every Thing You Need to Know
Who should attend: Any one who wants to sell a TV or feature script.
Wayne has sold scripts or been hired to write in all genres of television or film, including comedy, drama, thriller, science fiction, 3D, reality, etc.
Date: Replaying NOW
BONUSES: F-R-E-E WORKBOOK of the Sell Your Script TeleSummit, complete with templates, industry resources and a review of the information.
Plus – “The Truth About Protecting Your Show” downloadable TeleSummit MP3 (a $49 value) F-R-E-E
MIND YOUR BUSINESS
Here’s an excerpt from Mark’s latest article on the Animation World Network website.
What’s Your Story?
What’s your story? What you say and how you say it is all part of your story. In fact, your story starts the minute you walk through the door.
I try to put story into every part of my life.
When I put a video pitch together, I make it a story. I don’t believe that a trailer made of unconnected clips will help sell a concept. It would be a waste of time and money. If you’re going to go through the time and expense of producing a sample of your concept, tell a short story with it. Focus on one scene.
People enjoy stories. They get emotionally connected to stories. They remember stories. A good story doesn’t have to be long. Virtually all great commercials are mini-stories. You can tell a story in 30 seconds.
The first series I sold was Timmy’s Lessons In Nature. I sold that series based on a few shorts I produced. The first short was only 38 seconds, but it told a story: Dumbass kid meets snake. Stick hits snake. Snake bites kid in face over and over. It’s a story as old as time.Timmy’s Lessons In Nature. Copyright and all rights reserved A&S Animation, Inc.
I use story in other parts of my life too. When I’m teaching my kids something, I tell them a story, such as how I was almost decapitated when a knot I tied didn’t hold an elevator in place (true story). They will remember what happens in a story much more than they will remember some rule I make up.
Even the 1-sheets I produce for my pitches tell a story. We create a single image that represents the story of the show, like a single-panel comic strip or a great movie poster.
When I pitch, I’m telling a story before I even start to talk. I arrive to my meetings on time and fully prepared. I’m telling the story of someone who is professional and will deliver on time. I don’t wear a tie or a suit, but usually a cartoon shirt, which says I’m creative, non-traditional – not some cookie-cutter salesman.
In the meeting I continue the story of the concept I’m pitching and I tell it with passion.
My story? I tell stories in everything I do.
So what’s your story?
*** See the entire article at …
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
Jeanne’s enjoying the great second season of Boardwalk Empire on HBO. This tale of the power struggles behind the rise of Atlantic City, New Jersey, also consistently has some of the best production values on television. Look at the sets and notice the attention to detail and period and you will be amazed. The show is also unusual in that you often see the ceilings of most rooms, which most sets never feature. Part of the reason is again the authenticity of detail they obviously take pride in showcasing.
Mark gets a big fat kick out of Mike & Molly, which he simply describes the premise as, “two fat people in love.” Melissa McCarthy is having an stellar year with her scene-stealing role (and possibly Oscar nomination) in Bridesmaids, and her work in the funniest episode of the year so far for Saturday Night Live.
Wayne is trying to roll with AMC’s new western Hell On Wheels, but finding it couldn’t lick the bootheels of HBO’s Deadwood for story, characters, or dialogue. Ex-confederate soldier Cullen Bohanan works as a foreman in the building of the transcontinental railroad while tracking down the former Yankees who killed his wife during the war. But there’s no subtext in the show – everyone pretty much flatly states their purposes; and they do so using slang or language that doesn’t fit the time, which is just plain lazy on the point of the writers and takes you out of the feel of the period. Some viewers complained about the non-stop swearing in Deadwood. But it was a raw frontier town of illiterate prospectors, saloon-keepers and whores. They were lowlifes; that’s how they spoke. And it was historically accurate because the town actually had to pass an ordinance against swearing in 1876 because it was so out of control. But all the “c—ksuckers” in the world couldn’t save Hell On Wheels from predictable mediocrity.had to pass an ordinance against swearing in 1876 because it was so out of control. But all the “c—ksuckers” in the world couldn’t save Hell On Wheels from predictable mediocrity.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
The life of a scriptwriter offers many wonderful, strange and diverse opportunities.
You can write feature screenplays, television dramas, sitcoms, reality show storylines, parade designs for Disney, corporate training videos for industry, jokes for Joan Rivers, … the possibilities are endless.
Or you can write a press conference for President Ronald Reagan.
Well, at least for the best impersonator of Ronald Reagan at the time.
And, not really at a White House briefing room, but on the stage of a late night talk show on Fox Television.
Oh, yeah, and we made it all up.
Here’s a taste of one of our skits on Fox. (Click on picture for video link)
John Roarke and I (I’m pictured here as an audience plant) would head to a coffee shop or café about once every two weeks loaded down with newspapers and put together a five-minute segment using John’s impersonation skills and the headlines and newsmakers of the day. All for the Ross Shafer late night talk show (it ran at 11 p.m.) which replaced the Arsenio Hall Show on Fox.
We threw ideas and gags out at each other, and if it made us spit take our coffee, it just might make the final cut to use on the show.
We had a LOT to work with. John could do Bush, Reagan, Clinton, Jack Nicholson, the entire cast of Star Trek, and just about every male politician or movie star of the day.
He did Clint Eastwood as Bush’s Drug Czar holding out a small drug-testing cup for you to pee in, while squinting and grimacing … “Do you feel lucky? Well, do you punk?”
We solved the immigration problem with a brilliant concept we thought entirely impractical and absurd, but has recently been actually embraced by many politicians – building a huge wall along the United States/Mexican border.
But in our version though, as then-President Reagan explained it, “We’re going to build a 2,000 mile-long wall. And we’ll put a big mirror on one side of it. So when 250 Mexicans come running for the border to get into America … they’ll see 250 Mexicans running out. And they’ll figure … it must not be worth it.”
Like I said, we had a blast.
Here are a couple of industry terms we’re hearing a lot of lately.
“In your wheelhouse” is used to refer to project or skill that fits someone’s known talents or area of expertise. For example, Mark was touted for the storyboard job on Hong Kong Phooey because, as it was confirmed to him based on his martial arts experience, it’s ‘in your wheelhouse.’
Jim Carrey doing Mr. Popper’s Penguins… it’s in his wheelhouse. Jim Carrey doing the dark horror film 23… a bit off the tracks.
A couple other similar terms come to mind; ‘typecasting,’ and ‘comfort level.’
It’s nice to know you can be promoted for and get work ‘in your wheelhouse,’ but most creative types don’t like to be pegged. Jeanne understandably rolls her eyes when she hears the term. She had a successful run producing children’s shows for Nickelodeon, but is having a blast working with clients in other genres, such as the very un-kid-friendly, Bass Kicks Ass.
Wayne got pegged as a comedy screenwriter after scripting two features for National Lampoon at Universal, but was thrilled to do Trance, a gritty, sexy thriller for Paramount.
The other term we’re hearing from talent agents and other industry types is “pinging,” as in ‘We’ve been ‘pinging’ each other” – meaning exchanging emails or texts.
Where are Mark & Jeanne?
Mark and Jeanne and the boys just got back from a spectacular visit to New York City for the week of Thanksgiving.
Besides some of the traditional events such as braving the cold for the Macy’s Parade, taking the ferry past the Statue of Liberty and admiring the legs of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas program, they also saw a couple Broadway shows including Mary Poppins and STOMP!, and got insider tours of NBC 3o Rockerfeller Plaza (Saturday Night Live), and an up close and personal visit with the guests and cast of ABC’s Good Morning America.