Fitting a pitch

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The line has been drawn in the sand. I’ve painted myself into a corner. It’s time to s#!t or get off the pot. [Insert other cliché expression indicating you’re stalling and we all know it.]

It is time for me to start pitching my television show ideas to production companies. No more fine tuning. No more market analysis. Get out there and sell, boy.

I was at an information session over the weekend where a Head of Development for a local production company was talking to new comedy writers (and me) about what producers are looking for in new sitcom pitches, and perhaps just as importantly, what they do not want to see.

Much of what he had to tell me was very familiar, but one factoid took me quite by surprise and shook me off the procrastination horse. Nobody, it seems, wants to see your pilot script (at least not in Canada).

They haven’t got time to wade through it and really just want to know three simple facts:

  • What’s your story idea?
  • How expensive will it be to make?
  • Can we sell it in the U.S. or in Europe?

And all of this, the producer assures us, can be handled in no more than 3 pages and for some, ideally in one.

What’s your story idea? Tell me about the scenario, the characters and what I can expect to see in a typically episode.

How expensive will it be to make? One or a couple of sets works in Canada…multiple location shoots gets expensive.

Can we sell it abroad? Make it Canadian enough to get government tax incentives but not so Canadian that Americans and Europeans won’t want it. Broad and universal is the name of the game.

No pilot script? Too many changes after everyone has had their hands in your concept…although, if you have one, you can use it as a sample of your writing.

Oh.

Hunh.

Well.

Suddenly, I have gone from having one sitcom ready to pitch to producers to three sitcoms, two animated kids programs, one anthology series (think Quantum Leap) and two educational/lifestyle programs. [This is aside from the sketch comedy show on which I am a writer, but is someone else’s puppy to pitch.]

Time to figure out what production companies develop shows similar to mine and arrange some meetings. Time to make this career leap pay some bills.

Wish me luck (and please check in every now and again to keep me honest).

(Photo used without permission from the delightful blog Picnics in the Park.)

Head banger

You seek, you tap, you listen,

Bobbing left and right.

Grasping a toehold,

Grasping at hope.

Brute force, divine strategy

Mingle into a dance

Both aerial and arborial.

Unceasing, unerring, uncaring

Of the lives you disrupt;

Your murderous needs

Foremost in your mind.

Survival of the fittest

In a war of millimetres.

Anger? Frustration? Agony?

Only ceaseless desire

For what you have not yet.

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Doubt

I have doubt.

Not in my skills, thank goodness, or the belief that with the right guidance, I can improve them steadily, but I have doubt.

I have doubt that I will find the right people to see the merits of those skills and help me to convert them into something meaningful. A video, a television program, a film, a novel, a photo exhibit. Something that I can share with all the world. Something that will touch the souls of others as the gestation and creation of the work has touched mine.

I have doubt that I can hold on to my new fantasy life and that reality, oh harsh reality, won’t poke its head into the mix and throw me back to where I was. That I will need to find resources to live, and that the need will draw me away from my art. Perhaps irreparably tearing me from it and setting me back upon the course I once journeyed of discontent and pain.

I have doubt that I won’t continue to find supporters and friends—my oh so wonderful friends—who will hold my hand on this journey. Who will provide a tether to keep me connected and yet free enough not to anchor me to the world.

I have doubt about what is around the next corner. About the shadows in the darkness. About the approaching ground in my free fall through life.

I have doubt.

But I will not let that change what I am doing. I cannot allow my doubt to prevent me from living the life I have finally discovered.

If around the corner is an oncoming train, in the shadows lay a vicious monster, and on the approaching ground shards of glass, I will not allow doubt to slow or still me.

I may not succeed in achieving my goals, but in overcoming my doubt, I will have succeeded in my journey. And for that, I will be eternally grateful and find peace.