I received a reply from the guy with the great idea for a TV show who needed someone with "industry credibility" to team up with.
Feel the need to vent? No problem! Since we don’t each other, it can’t be
personal. A simple, "not interested" would have done the trick though.
The television saying you mentioned….we say that same thing in
marketing and advertising! Since I’m a professional in my chosen field too
(no, really), I receive numerous offers to partner from people looking to break
in. Though it almost never goes anywhere, I usually offer some slight
encouragement. The upside is so much greater than the downside and the cost to
let it play out is so insignificant…..so why not?
Instead of offering encouragement, I offer honesty and reality. Obviously, you didn’t want to hear either. You can’t expect to scrawl a drawing of a car on a napkin and sell it to Ford… why should you expect it to happen with a TV series idea? The way to break in is not to look for shortcuts, for a way to start at the top…which is what you are trying to do. The way to break in is to write a terrific script, get hired as a freelancer on a show, get picked up on staff, then work your way up the writer/producer ladder until you reach the point in your career when someone from a studio or network calls and says "Hey, got any ideas for a series?"
As for the networks buying years of
experience and a track record……I sincerely hope that is true (means better
television). The jury seems to be out though: Overnight
successes…..Schwartz, who at 27 created The O.C….Trey Parker and Matt Stone
created South Park while they were still in college.
I figured that’s where you were coming from. You didn’t do your homework. Josh Schwartz worked on other shows and wrote other pilots before THE OC. Parker and Stone made a short animated film, THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS, that wowed the industry. That short film proved their skill as animators/writers/performers and they got a series… based on that short film. They weren’t car salesmen from Topeka with a really great idea for an animated TV series.
What must I have been thinking when I contacted
you? I mean…how on earth could a professional television writer really be
interested in what someone from outside the industry has to offer?
". CSI, the No. 1 show was created by relative newcomer, Anthony
E. Zuiker…. CBS hired experienced writer-producers Carol Mendelsohn and Ann
Donahue to run the show…"
Again, you aren’t doing your homework. Zuiker didn’t sell his idea by emailing producers with a come-on saying he had a great idea for a show and he just needed someone with "industry credibility" to sell it for him. He wrote a script. From the CSI Files Website:
Zuiker himself got his start when childhood friend Dustin Lee Abraham, now a CSI scribe but then an actor, would get Zuiker to
write him monologues for auditions. "I wrote a speech about a man, mentally
retarded, watching his wife give birth. He’s a degenerate gambler, and he went
into an announcing [mode, a play by play]," Zuiker says of the monologue that
got him attention in Hollywood. The speech was turned into a movie, The
Runner, which was made for seven million dollars. It turned out to be
Zuiker’s gateway to Hollywood.
You’re wowed by what you think are strike-it-big-in-Hollywood-quick stories that really aren’t. Stop looking for a short-cut. The best way to sell a series is to write some great scripts. Don’t look for someone with "industry credibility," earn some of your own instead.