The Mail I Get

As an on-going feature of my blog, I share some of the strange emails I get from complete strangers. Most of these strangers want to sell me their script, book, or TV show ideas…even though I’m not a network, studio, or publishing company… but a writer/producer with his own scripts, books and TV show ideas to sell.

This particular pitch is for a reality show. The teacher who sent this didn’t even bother to address it to me personally or to take the time to find out whether this is even the kind of show I do — which it isn’t.

Someone should teach this teacher that spamming complete strangers with her ideas is an inane way to sell a show…

Then again, I think I just did.

Diane Bancroft
Special Education Teacher
Potter-Thomas Elementary School
Philadelphia, PA 19446

Mailing Address:
415 Acorn Street
Lansdale, PA 19446

August 10, 2004

Dear Producer:

This letter seeks to promote my concept for a reality based television show. I am writing to you specifically because I believe that you favor diverse and minority centered programming that helps me connect with minorities outside of my anglo-suburbanite experience.

To provide a brief description of my unique qualifications and experience, I would like you to know that I have been a teacher for five years. This will be my third year in a bilingual school in North Philadelphia. I work in a section of the city that may or may not still be known as the Badlands. Steve Lopez wrote a book about our neighborhood entitled Third and Indiana. I work on Sixth and Indiana and often have situations in the classroom and in the neighborhood that would make a Vietnam Vet revert to infancy. Since
the last administration failed to fund the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND law and it is time for an election, I feel that a reality based tv show focusing on the specific needs of new teachers within the nation’s most dangerous schools would highlight the issues that we deal with when teaching in an urban
setting that most people would not otherwise consider. We teachers who chose to teach in the nation’s public schools are unsung soldiers in a forgotten war that is taking place amidst the smouldering ashes of the War on Drugs.

Consider this outline:

In The Front Row: Staying Ahead with America’s Most Courageous Teachers In the Badlands of the School District of Philadelphia


Cigar Factory Condominiums in Northern Liberties ($369,000)
Sometimes in the classroom (minimum of 4 teaching evaluations per
Sometimes on SEPTA
Sometimes at the Boriquen Bella or otherwise in the neighborhood
Sometimes in the teachers lounge, principal’s office, police station, etc.
Sometimes on the recess yard.
Sometimes professionally handling a really difficult behavioral situation.
Sometimes in church???? You don’t think we would survive without prayer!


Five willing, new, young teachers, diverse and at least semi-bilingual.


1. To expose the difficulties and dramas of a profession considered to be
2. To showcase Philadelphia, it’s pros and cons, and it‘s beauty and
3. To influence public opinion towards educational legislation
4. To help five new teachers improve and develop as teachers
5. To recruit potential teachers to the city of Philadelphia
6. To improve conditions for the school children of Potter-Thomas
7. To heighten awareness towards urban education


Being a teacher in North Philadelphia is an experience that shapes every aspect of my life. I have always wanted to be an educator. Probably since I was eight years old. The teacher let me teach part of a class. I was instantly hooked. In North Philadelphia, it is not unusual to see millions of crack vials. Sometimes people leave their works right in front of the school. I’ve seen a razor blade in the playground outside of the kindergarten classroom. Sometimes I go to student’s homes because phones are disconnected, or mom is watching several young children and can not get away. Once I almost got carjacked right in front of the school. I want people to see these images in this day of terrorism. I want them to see school aged-children hanging upside down from the handle of a moving ice cream truck and then justify to me why Philadelphia has slashed funding for rec centers. I want people to know that my colleague was hit with a board with nails sticking out of it as he tried to teach an emergency coverage when no substitute could be
provided. People need to see what a crack baby looks like when he flips out. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

The public will fall in love with our young educators who are so fresh, street tough, idealistic, and bilingual!! We have a formidable administrative team comprised of minority women I respect and adore and I
really want to see us all succeed. I believe this project will get us there!

Please help me by forwarding my ideas to an able bodied producer who can really sink his or her teeth into this sort of project. I expect that it will take us a little over a year to shoot and produce. There will
certainly be nor shortage of drama, humor, or material!

Sincerely yours,

Diane Bancroft Thomson

3 thoughts on “The Mail I Get”

  1. A few jokers at work still think it’s hysterically funny to walk up to me and say, “Hey, Jim! I’ve got a GREAT idea for a novel.”
    My response has gone from, “Well, write it, then” to “You know, even Henny Youngman found new material after awhile” to…
    Well, I won’t repeat my current response here. Suffice it to say, I was advised by a manager why loud profanity in the workplace, no matter how well-justified, is usually a bad idea.

  2. Hi, found your journal by accident. I can appreciate the point you are making, but I don’t think it’s a very good idea to post her personal information such as name and address in a public forum such as this. Just my opinion, have a great day.

  3. Considering she clearly spammed a bunch of strangers with her TV series idea and her personal info, I’m not very concerned about intruding on her privacy (nor, it seems, is she). Besides, maybe someone will read her proposal here and decide to develop it with her… which, I presume, is what she wanted in the first place.


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