Newsletter 20 – June 2015
Want to know what’s hot this summer? Besides the weather? We’re at both big television conferences this month – Realscreen Summit for reality and Banff World Media for all types of shows – gathering contacts and info on what types of shows are selling, how and why.
We’ll share some of this info at our Live, FREE virtual workshop series called “What Networks Want – Parts 1 & 2” June 16 and August 18.
And those who attend our 3-day pitch crash course in September will work with us 1-on-1 to perfect their shows and pitches (see upcoming events).
So stay cool this summer and get ready for things to heat up BIG this Fall!
How do you spell determination? We spell it with a ‘Z’ as in Lillian Zeltser.
She purchased our Pitch Perfect + Hit Maker Tour Package and traveled 30 hours from Australia to Orlando at the end of May. She worked extensively with our team on further developing her show and pitch in preparation for going on both Hit Maker Tours early this month to Realscreen Summit in California and Banff in Canada.
Lillian has unique experience and knowledge which ideally supports her pitch for a reality self-improvement series, Love, Food & Sex. She and her physician husband have spent more than 30 years extensively traveling the world to find, research, and test the most potent aphrodisiacs. Tough job, right? Somebody’s got to do it.
What network wouldn’t be turned on by the prospect of viewers turning them on to discover information to boost their own health and sex lives? Okay, well maybe not the Disney Channel. But just about every other network out there chasing a passionate adult demographic should find it tempting and tantalizing.
The Zeltsers even created a drink product called Aphrodope, which features the best ingredients from their research. Imagine what a hit series could do to get a rise out of that product’s sales potential?
We don’t need to imagine, we tasted the stuff. Zowie! (That’s Wowie with a ‘Z.’) Pardon us as we excuse ourselves a moment… in eager anticipation of the developments Lillian entices this month at the conferences with her seductive new series.
The Hit Maker Summit this September 19-21 in Orlando is our most powerful event of the year where we work directly with you for three days to guide you through the process of developing a pitch package to the point where you are ready to start pitching it to major networks, producers, and distributors.
Most of our tour members to the major television conferences cite this experience as the best preparation possible to arm you with the information, practice and confidence for the most successful results at those conferences and in scheduled meetings.
Our Hit Maker Summit website is filled with all the details you need, including testimonials from past attendees, topics covered, schedule for the three days, the latest booked guest industry speakers (who have awesome inside tips), and early bird discount info and lodging information.
Spots ARE limited to keep the experience more intimate and hands-on working with us and our guest mentors, so the sooner you book, the sooner you save on early travel discounts and guarantee your spot. We encourage you to bring your partners for a small additional fee.
The Summit is for all experience levels. If you have a show you’ve started developing and want the expert on-hands guidance that will take it to the next level and ready to pitch – all in a jam-packed three days… this is your golden ticket. Click here for more details.
Everything You Need to Know
You don’t have to wait until September to start finding out what the networks are looking for NOW. We’ve got a 2-part absolutely FREE Virtual Workshop on June 16th (Pt. 1) and August 18th (Pt. 2) that combines information we’ve gathered from the latest television conferences revealing “What Networks Want”
You can pitch yourself blue in the face and get nowhere if you don’t get exactly who you are pitching to and what they want. Every network has particular audience demographics they are targeting and formats they favor.
Whether your show is reality, kids, animation, scripted drama or sit-com, we have the inside scoop on how and where you can best target your efforts to succeed.Register NOW for this free workshop and you can win our June Splash Giveaway, which is an expert TV Concept Evaluation of your project worth $500!
What: 2 FREE virtual workshops “What Networks Want”
When: Part 1 – June 16th, 2015
Part 2 – August 18th, 2015
How: Join us online, by phone or Skype
Fee: Absolutely FREE!
Length: Content-filled one hour
Giveaway: 1-on-1, private TV Concept Evaluation worth $500. (To win, you must register and show up live on June 16th or August 18th, 2015.)
Ask Questions: You’ll be able to ask questions before and during the workshop.
Once again. CLICK HERE to Register for this free event.
COMIC STRIP CONVERGENCE
It’s that time of year again when crazy comic strip creators (including Mark) from around the globe gather as members of the National Cartoonist Society to honor their own at the Reuben Awards. This year found the gathering at the infamously haunted Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C. But we think the cartoonists scared any potential ghosts away. Take a look.
Did we mention cartoonists are crazy? Here are attendees Heather and Ed Steckley dressed as the ghostly twins from The Shining. And, if you look closely, you might notice them being haunted by the photo bomb spirit of Mark. Staging the event at a haunted hotel inspired the theme for this year’s event, so cartoonists who are already naturally predisposed toward the over-imaginative, grabbed that theme with gusto, or should we say… ghost-o.
Talk about a power breakfast. Mark joined this one featuring (from left), Mike Peters (Pulitzer prize-winning political cartoonist and creator of Mother Goose & Grimm), Lynn Johnston (For Better or Worse), Bunny Hoest (Lockhorns, Parade), and Jean Schulz (widow of Charles “Peanuts” Schulz).
When was the last time you saw Mark in a sports jacket? Or ever? As a sign of ultimate respect, he donned one for his fellow cartoonists. But don’t push it asking him to tone down his pants. Here he is with Glenn and Gary McCoy, creators of The Flying Mcoys and The Duplex, respectfully, as well as popular greeting cards. The McCoys also have a way of demonstrating that cartoonists have a different interpretation of what it means to attend an event that politely requests ‘formal’ wear.
If you follow one of our favorite daily strips, Mother Goose & Grimm, you may already suspect the creator is bonkers. If you need any more evidence, here is that creator, Mike Peters, using that unique creativity to exit his table by crawling out from under the legs of Brian Walker (Hi & Lois, Beetle Bailey).
Cartoonists may be crazy, but they are also crazy generous with each other, stuffing goodie bags with everything from hardbound and paperback books to comic books and USBs loaded with their artwork and cartoons. Swag-tastic!
The Keane family is a lineage of cartoonist royalty, with patriarch Bil Keane the creator of Family Circus, and one son Jeff (right of Mark) taking over that strip, while the other is a Disney head animator on Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Also in the picture to the right of Jeff is Jeff Knope, who creates the super popular daily Jumble puzzle, and in the background in the light blue shirt – Tom Gammill, a producer for Seinfeld and The Simpsons.
No cartoonist gathering would be complete without the King… of Mad Magazine – the best and most imitated parody cartoonist in the business – Mort Drucker. You can tell Mark is a bit overwhelmed as he awaits his chance for an autograph from the Master.
Mission accomplished! Swag-tastic!
And another event of hard-drinking, hard-partying crazy cartoonists has been survived until next year, when they once again gather to terrorize or haunt another city.
In between mentoring clients and pitching shows at Realscreen Summit and Banff this month, Mark is busy directing a full pilot for an animation series called the Curious Adventures of Willow B. Star. Our team is overseeing the character art and design. The voice recording is being done in New York, and the animation at a studio in India.
Wayne just finished scripting the first draft pilot for a one-hour thriller-suspense series called Dark Safari. He collaborated on this series with SYTVCN client Kristin Alexandre, whose feature Altar Rock he co-wrote and goes before cameras this fall with international distribution already in place for next year.
Heather has always been a hero to us as an MVP at all our Hit Maker Summits (and again this September), but now she’s also an award-winner and a hero in her hometown, as well.
Heather was honored with an Alumni Service Award by the Superintendent of the Decatur City (Alabama) School System for her outstanding service to the community. Heather graduated from Austin High School in Decatur in 1998 and has returned to the community often to volunteer her Disney drawing and teaching talent working with kids in local hospitals, as well as at the Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando near her work.
She shares some of the award comments and her excitement for the ceremony’s events:
“Dr. Nichols (school superintendent) said this was the first year they have given this award. He talked about my courage to not give up on my dreams and how I started out in foods at Disney but didn’t give up on drawing for Disney someday. He told everyone that I received Disney’s highest honor; Walt Disney Legacy Award, and how I started out working for you by meeting a performer in one of the shows, and that soon after meeting him and getting inspired by what you do I started volunteering for your three-day event at the Hit Maker Summit.
“I think there were over 300 people there (the Decatur award ceremony) that evening. My mom said it was like being with a celebrity. My mom is too funny. All in all, It means the absolute world to me to be able to help others go after what they want in life and to meet others who are interested in art. Getting pics with the little kids and hugs from them was so sweet. It’s not about the accolades why I do these things; it’s to be able do the art that I love and use it in a way that I can help others whether they are in the hospital or not. I’m a work in progress of course and y’all know I love to dream big!!”
And we know there are more big things coming for Heather. Congratulations!!!
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
Wayward Pines now playing Thursday nights at 9 p.m. on Fox can only be described as Twin Peaks meets The Prisoner, only without the great surreal cinematic flare of Peaks or the super smart chess-like plotting and dialogue of The Prisoner. Oh, yeah, and it’s got way too much of an underwhelming Matt Dillon as a Secret Service agent trapped in a mysterious Idaho town wandering around trying to figure out what’s going on. Number 6 figured out why he was stuck in the Village in the very first episode of The Prisoner, but that series sustained for 17 timelessly brilliant episodes in the cat-and-mouse mind games played between him and his captors. Now that’s how you make a cult classic. Spend your summer binging with Patrick McGoohan’s masterpiece instead of this Matt miss.
Or switch over to NBC’s limited series Aquarius, playing at the same time on Thursday nights. David Duchovny plays a crew cut detective in 1967 Los Angeles searching for a missing girl who has hooked up with a strange cult leader named Charles Manson. The great period music and retro look are enough reason to tune in, but the characters and writing are also a notch above the Pines.
June 7 – Closed Door session for Hit Maker Tour to Banff World Media Festival
June 8-10 – Hit Maker Tour to Banff World Media Festival
June 9 – TV Concept Evaluation – Available
June 11 – VIP Day – Available
June 15 – 18 – Mark in production
June 16 – Live, FREE webinar: What Networks Want – Part 1
June 18 – Early Bird discount for Hit Maker Summit ends
June 17 – TV Concept Evaluation – Available
June 21 – Happy Father’s Day
June 23 – Strategic Follow Up session for all Hit Maker Tour members
June 24 – TV Concept Evaluation – Available
Call 407-351-0893 to book a TV Concept Evaluation.
STORYBOARD STORYBOOK ENDING
If you could think of one person in the world to write you a complimentary letter on your book, and the original inspiration for your entire career in film and television were comic books, then who would that ideal letter writer be?
How about Stan Lee, the very creator of the Marvel Universe of characters and stories that not only revolutionized the business of comics back in the sixties, but now rule the world of international blockbuster cinema today?! (Think The Avengers, Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Ant Man, etc)
That’s exactly who wrote a complimentary letter to Mark on his Storyboard book, which thrilled Mark beyond any exclamation of EXCELSIOR and which now hangs in an honored place on his wall. Here’s the letter.
And whether you work in film or animation, learning how to storyboard your script is essential to visualizing and blocking out any action sequence. So take it from Stan Lee, if you want a great book on how to learn this craft, check out Mark’s book. ‘Nuff said!
Here’s a link to Mark’s Storyboards: Motions in Art latest edition page for more details: Storyboards: Motion in Art 3rd Edition
Finally, here’s a blast from the past shot of Mark at a comic convention getting an autograph from his hero, Stan Lee.
We’re very happy the costume design for Wolverine has ‘evolved’ since this event and he no longer looks like a brightly-colored kitchen cleaning product. Stan Lee is now about a hundred years old, yet just as enthusiastic as ever, and routinely turns up in cameo roles in all the Marvel movies based on characters he created with artist Jack Kirby more than 50 years ago. Excelsior, indeed!