Day 283 – Why a Short?

Posted: 20th May 2016 by Mike Gasaway in agony, HelpMe, script, The Attendant, The Process, writing

A long time ago, my ex father-in-law told me a fun saying, “Give me patience! And give it to me now.”

That saying has stuck with me because if you know me, I am just a wee bit short in the patience department.hollywood

Boy, is this quite a process. I knew that getting something produced in Hollywood was a huge undertaking. It took over 5 years just to get Planet Sheen past the excitement of the execs to actual production. Just planning a greenlit movie takes at least 2 years. I thought that doing something independently would speed up the process…

But I was wrong.

There were a series of missteps along the way. Failed partnerships. Misunderstandings. People being fired and dropping out. It’s been a very interesting process.

But first, I have to answer a question that I’ve been asked time and time again.

Why a short?

Here’s the long story.

I have over 20 years of experience…in animation. I live between Columbus, OH and Pittsburgh, PA – not exactly the hot bed of longer form animation. So after moving from southern California, I had to reinvent myself, so to speak.  The only other thing I knew to do was live action.

And so I set out to write a feature film. My lovely fiance told me of a story, one day, about a parking lot attendant. I looked it up, did a ton of research, and then set out to write the script. It got a lot of interest around town. It was a fun idea with a great central character that had heart, a little comedy and a solid story. The hard part was done.

So I set out to figure out a budget. We had an experienced producer look at the script and made an educated guess of $500k for a budget. Ok. Where do we get that type of money?

alamo drafthouseI reached out to my good pal, Tim League, of Drafthouse Films and asked what I could do. He liked the budget but asked who the star was. I replied, “There isn’t one.” He told me to double the budget and add a star and then I could sell it.

How easy could that be? Therein lies my dilemma.

I could go to someone like Sam Rockwell (my dream actor for this movie) and ask him to be in it but there’s a slight problem. Am I experienced? Yes. In live action? Nope. I was afraid to waste Sam’s time or mine by asking a moot question. Since I didn’t have experience, Sam, probably, wouldn’t give it a second look.sam rockwell

So I was suggested to do a short film. That way I could show my experience with something shorter and therefore much less expensive. So I set out to write a short version of the script.

And I hated it. It was basically the feature except shorter. It felt rushed. It didn’t feel right. But there was something else. I didn’t want to taint Sam’s idea of what the character could be. I didn’t want someone else playing Sam’s character.

So I went back to my buddy, Tim. He had said that although I would need a star for a drama, I didn’t need one for horror. He runs a festival called Fantastic Fest in Austin, that specializes in indie action and horror films. He knows what he’s talking about.

Cue to writing a feature for a horror film. I talk a little bit about why horror, Day 280 From Jimmy Neutron to Horror, that’s the way to do it, right? The same problem applied here though because now I had a $2 million film! How the heck was I going to raise that?

A short film.

This one was way easier though. This short is actually the PREQUEL to the feature film. I know that sounds weird because we haven’t shot the FIRST film yet but hear this one out. If you think about just the feature itself, it’s a story about a girl who goes looking for her missing friend. A friend who did a ghost hunting adventure at an asylum and hasn’t come back. The short film is ABOUT the friend who went missing. In other words, it’s the backstory for the feature.Help Me Crew Shirt_FOR SITE

Here’s what I like about this. One, it sets a tone for the feature film. It shows a little of the look and the idea about how we see the ghosts. It also creates a following. Now people can watch the short and WANT to see more. I ended it with a question, hoping the audience is slightly disappointed because they want to see more. If you watch the short, you are kinda in on a little secret. You are in the “in crowd”. That creates a buzz.

Not to say you HAVE to watch the short first. The feature will still be solid on it’s own. It’s just an added layer of interest.

 

So now the idea of patience falls back to the audience. It’s going to premiere in September. All you have to do now is wait.

I’ve had to wait this long…you can wait a few short months more.

Day 282 – Getting a Horror Icon

Posted: 3rd March 2016 by Mike Gasaway in actors, directing, HelpMe, kickstarter, pre-production

Little thing about me. I’m not exactly a fan boy of anything in particular. I mean, I like certain things like we all do. I like animation. I like football. I like pizza. But I’m not fanatical about it (not about football anymore).

But there’s one thing that I’m pretty passionate about: Day of the Dead.

day-of-the-dead2-530x282Not the holiday in Mexico, although that’s a crazy fun time, but the George A. Romero film with the same title. You know the third installment of the Dead franchise LONG before the phenomena of Walking Dead. This is a film after the mall film, where a group of military dudes and some scientific folks bunker down in a…er…bunker to escape the walking…umm…zombified humans, or the dead.

For me, this movie had the best effects of any of the others. Tom Savini and his crew HAD to have a blast on this one. Chopping arms off, pulling out guts, yanking off heads. It’s great for a fan like me.

Little did I know, just a few years later I would be linked with the lead actress of the film. Since moving to Pittsburgh, I’ve met quite a few of the “Romero’s clan” from all of the films. They are a fantastic group of folks that had either worked on the movies, starred in the movies, or in most cases, did both! This town has such a penchant for that genre and it doesn’t get the credit that it deserves, in my opinion.

loricardille_headshotOne day, I got luck enough to meet Lori Cardille, who plays Sarah in Day of the Dead. She couldn’t have been sweeter. To me, she still looked the same as she did in the underground bunker hacking off limbs and shooting zombies in the head. It was really a treat just chatting with her.

I had no idea then that she would be my demon for my movie, Help Me First!

When I wrote the script, I envisioned a gentle, motherly influence when the demon was in its human form. She had to be calming almost to the point of sickening nice. Deep down, I wanted the audience to think that maybe this poor woman was delusional. When the time came in the movie for its true self to be shown, the character had to have a dark side. A very evil side.

I had no idea who I was going to get for this.

Then I thought of Lori again. She’ll kill me for that but I did think of her not because of the dark side but because of the gentle side. That was her. She could play that very well. The challenge would be the demon. How could someone so nice say such horrible things and want to rip our sweet main character to pieces? It’s called acting.

When I offered the role to Lori she laughed and then giggled with anticipation. She couldn’t wait to jump at the chance to play a demon (she even signs her emails to me – Your Little Demon). Even on the phone she went into what she thought the creature could be and I nearly dropped my device. She can do it for sure.

So to say I’m not a fan boy of anything is a lie. I’m a fan boy of Day of the Dead and now even more so of Lori Cardille.  I’m betting so will everyone else.

Check out our kickstarter here so we can actually make this movie!: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1271821223/help-me-first

 

Day 281 – Grabbing a Star on Her Way Up

Posted: 2nd March 2016 by Mike Gasaway in actors, directing, HelpMe, movies, writing

Is it true that directors are supposed to love their actors? I think so. I think we are supposed to love every part of our process even if we hate it. The crew is loved and respected because of the hard work they do and the talent they bring. I’m always looking for the best and those that are a ton better at something than I can ever imagine.

Casting for a movie isn’t easy. When you sit down and envision a character you have to have a look in mind. A persona. Someone that engages. What I usually do is fully develop the character before I write a line of dialog or direction. I know what they like, what they love. Know their fears and desires. I even know what they did in high school to get suspended. To fully understand what the character is going to do in any situation, you have to know them inside and out.

When I did this with Help Me First, I had a complete look I was looking for in Maureen, the protagonist. I knew her demeanor, her sass. Even the way she shook her haimaggie bug manr or laughed at jokes that weren’t funny. How the heck was I going to find a real person to play her?

And then a little minx with curly blonde hair fell into my view. She was spunky and funny. Quick witted and sexy. She was Maureen.

But I didn’t know it yet.

It was just a little event I attended and tried to network. No ulterior motives. I saw her there but thought I would never cross paths again. No big deal. I wasn’t exactly looking for Maureen just yet.

A few weeks passed by and the clock started ticking. It was now time to cast my actors and I didn’t know where to begin. My producing partner, Steve, mentioned someone he thought was perfect. Said she was huge into horror and was an absolute doll on the set. Two huge positives in my book. He directed me to a short, Maggie vs Evil Dead. It was her. It was the same spunky rock star from the event a few weeks prior. I had to meet her and see if she could be Maureen.

I wMaggie_Wholeas not disappointed. She had the fire and the will. Loved Argento but not Friday the 13th (she isn’t perfect). Was just as quick-witted as on stage. Best of all? She was in without reading a line. I knew she was Maureen. When she left, promising to read the short and the feature, she said she knew her roles had to do two things, “show my butt and die.” I joked that in my movie, you only have to do one of those.

Since that first meeting she’s been more than a first time horror director can hope for. The guys will love her. The girls will root for her and want to hang out with her. Don’t believe me? Just keep looking at the pictures. But most of all, she’s got the goods. She’s a natural and gives me confidence that we can pull this off.

The cool part for her is I know this is just the beginning. She’s already getting busy and her star is on the rise. I couldn’t be happier that she’s a part of this little celluloid number.  I can’t wait to share her with the rest of the world too.

It all starts here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1271821223/help-me-first

Well, at least that’s the way I’m doing it. I directed a ton of animated shows for Nickelodeon. I also love horror movies.

I’m not sure how the two mix but at the core of each is an imaginative way to tell stories. With animation and Jimmy Neutron, in particular, I could invent (pun intended) just about anything. The canvas was blank and the colors were endless. We went to different worlds, different dimensions, and even different bodies.

Horror is the same although with typically a little more blood. The imagination craves innovation. Craves something just slightly different. Animation takes you to that whimsical place. Horror takes you to that place where you want to curl up in a ball and cry until your mommy comes and saves you.

Can I personally do it? Go from directing 3d animated characters that make us laugh to real actors that hopefully make us pee our pants a little? I know I can. I have the tools and the experience.

All I need is the money to make it a reality.

And that’s coming too. From Neutron to horror? Heck yeah!

I promise it will be an exhilarating ride.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1271821223/help-me-first

Day 279 – Four long years

Posted: 28th January 2016 by Mike Gasaway in HelpMe, pre-production

I know that I seem to forget about this little blog tucked into this corner of the internet but I still like to visit every once in a while. It’s part diary, part therapy, part practice in writing. As you can tell, I need a LOT more of the latter.

Every now and then, I reread back at the drivel I spout over my qwerty keys and most times, I don’t want to throw up.

After looking back today, I definitely did. Not.

I pause there because my emotions are conflicted. The positive first. The short is moving along swimmingly (more on that later) and I can’t be happier. Well, I COULD if we hadn’t had a dream actress pass, BUT the team assembled is pretty top notch. It’s beyond exciting to see people get pumped up about a project I just wanted to put on the screen. It’s becoming so much more – take THAT all those that rejected this script! 🙂

The negative is more in the vein of how LOOOOOONG it took just to get here. Now, I’m only counting the days that I started doing this little blog. It’s been way longer in dog years but according to this site, it’s now been 4…count em..4 years since I kept track about making a movie.

I wish I could say that Help Me! (the short coming to a film festival near you after September 2016 starring Maggie Carr) was the movie I had in mind 4 years ago but it wasn’t. The movie wasn’t even a horror film; it was animated. If you would have told me 4 years ago that I would be on the verge of shooting my first supernatural horror film, I would have laughed a lot, shaken my head until my neck hurt, and maybe peed a little (bladder problems). The words LIVE ACTION weren’t really in my vocabulary. I was dead set on animation being my life blood and the only thing I was capable of doing.

Oh how the years have changed me (more than just my widening mid-section – – Hey! I’m doing something about it!)20160128_110726_HDR

Instead of looking backwards, I’m focusing my attention on the here and now. What are we doing today? Some of this will be shared here for all to see. More will be posted on a production blog for Help Me First! (LIKE THIS PAGE NOW!)I’ll add more here once that’s up and running. I want to be completely transparent so everyone can see how the process works.

Let’s start with what I’m doing right now: putting together the animatic for the short. FUN!!!

More later…

Day 278 – Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

Posted: 10th December 2015 by Mike Gasaway in agony, inspiration

Alg-crying-baby-jpgSomething happened to me last night that I really needed.

I needed a slap in the face. And I’m glad it happened by someone I love dearly.

Lisa and I were driving back from an event of hers and I mentioned that things were getting too overwhelming and that the budget was higher than I anticipated and I didn’t think we could do it. I wanted to abandon the whole idea of making a movie.

Now, for those of you that know Lisa, she’s not a wallflower by any means. She says what she means and says it LOUDLY. Another thing about her is that she is very protective of those things she loves. She is also, probably, my biggest fan.

So when she heard me boo-hoo-ing about how hard this is, she had it.

And let me have it.

She screamed that how I dare I do this now. How dare I give up on everything I worked so hard for just because things were hard. How dare I give up on all of the people who were not only counting on me but believing in me. She said (well, screamed) that it’s too bad what happened in my past and to get the f over it. That I’m so close to something that can make a gigantic difference in my life and to stop now is disrespecting not only those that are around me but me too.

Usually, I fight back a bit and try to correct any misinformation but this time, she was right. Dead right.

I’ve come too far to let a little misstep take everything down. I’m not going to let a little broken brick tear down the entire castle.  The truth is, this is probably only the beginning of the mistakes that will happen along the way.

So what?

You can’t stop. You can’t quit.

Jimmy VThe irony of the whole situation is that just the night before I watched the replay of the Jimmy V  ESPY speech nearly 25 years ago. If you haven’t seen it, go here. I dare you to one, not cry like a baby (I did) or two, not be inspired (I was too) after watching it. Jim Valvano had inoperable cancer and despite given the grim prognosis of death, he never threw in the towel and said it’s too hard.

Raising money for a movie and producing it aren’t even in the same ballpark as fighting cancer, I know. There is something, however, to take from his speech (and her yelling). Sometimes, we hit pot holes or speed bumps on our road of life but that’s all they are. They aren’t walls. They aren’t ditches. They’re hiccups.  It isn’t how we approach them but how we get over them.

This is just another one of those hiccups.

And after a day of reflection, I know I will figure out how to get over it.

Mostly because of Lisa and her encouraging words but also because of the mantra of Jimmy V: Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

Day 277 – Marketing

Posted: 3rd June 2015 by Mike Gasaway in marketing

digital_marketingIf you would have told me of just 10 short years ago that I would have to be involved with and be very good at marketing, I would say you were crazy. I was a director. What the heck did that have to do with marketing?

I saw a bunch of my friends forced into freelance. That was when studios would only hire you for a project or a short length of time. Those artists had to learn how to sell themselves to other producers, go to events to network, and basically kiss a bunch of ass.  Just to get work.

They had to learn how to market.

Cut back to today.

Ever since I left southern California, I’ve found myself in a very challenging situation. The film industry just isn’t as strong in Pittsburgh. Yet. It’s moving in that direction and quite honestly, it’s very exciting. People just have to realize it and be motivated. They have to know people like myself are here trying to do things. And that’s where marketing comes in.

I have no problem with the creation of content. Ideas come to me daily and I know how to foster a story to completion. I’ve written 9 screenplays so far and am in a rhythm when I start. Production is also something I have a very firm handle on. Getting it from an idea to final cut is something I have done for many years. It’s now ingrained in my blood.

This marketing thing is a very new beast to me.

alamo drafthouseBut why? Why marketing? Why do I, the creator of this content, have to market myself? Writing this out loud sounds very strange now. Umm. Duh, Mike. How is anyone else going to know about you? This all didn’t hit me until I read an article from a very good friend, Tim League, of the Alamo Drafthouse. He said that in order to be an independent film maker, you have to be a marketer. You have to get your work out to be seen and create a following. Get people to see and follow your work.

Makes sense for sure.

But how?

That’s the part I’m learning right now. It starts with a website. And a facebook page. And a twitter account. And a reddit account. And a linked in account. Get your word out there.

Well, be prepared because I’m about to really get the word out. I urge you to follow me because I know it’s going to be fun and I know I’ll say what’s on my mind and what I’m doing.

Ready for the ride? Let’s start marketing. Like this page right here! That’s a good start.

For the article on Tim League, check this out here!

Day 276 – How to Pitch a project

Posted: 1st June 2015 by Mike Gasaway in agents, agony, pitching

The previous posts talked about a few of my past experiences pitching. The question comes up, how do you get into a pitch? That’s a tough one but I’ve gone a few different routes.

1. Be related to someone in the business.

Having an uncle or second cousin once removed is always a plus. They can get directly to the person you want to talk to and hopefully, put in a good word for you as well. This is easily the best way to get in because it’s a business of “who you know”. Not related to anyone at Universal or your last name isn’t Warner, then it’s time to try other avenues.

2. Have an agent.

ariThese guys and gals are very well connected to most of the big guys and a lot of the little guys around Hollywood. They usually have good working relationships and if they believe in you, can get you in for a pitch meeting. My agent sent me on many a pitch meetings with a rainbow of studios from Sony and Disney to Jim Henson Company to smaller foreign production companies. Each pitch with its own unique story. Like the one I drove 2 hours from San Diego for a meeting where the person was nearly an hour late. When we finally met, he brought in his buddy and decided to talk to him nearly the whole time – a whopping 15 minutes. He told me thanks but they weren’t interested. I then drove 2 hours back home. That was fun.

But there’s a big caveat with agents. You can’t just call up any agent and ask them if they will represent you. You have to be referred.  It’s kinda like the chicken or egg concept of experience. You can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job. Same thing with agents. Go back to number one. Do you have a sister or step-father who has an agent or is next door neighbor to one? If not, go to option three.

3. Pitch fest, or cattle calls.

610-cattle-callI’ve done a few of these and been a part of others where I didn’t pitch. The latter was at a writing conference where screenwriters would pitch their logline to the speaker and he would give pointers. Realize, this was also to a room of OTHER WRITERS. I was amazed at how many people decided to pitch their idea so freely. I found out why because most of the ideas were horrible.

Another event was a pitch fest where you wait in line to pitch your project to an exec, agent, or producer. This was crazy because there were LINES of people waiting to pitch to these people. A person would ring a bell, signifying when your time was up. At that time, the person would say if they liked it or not and if they wanted to continue any discussions further. This event was interesting but pure torture because if you are lucky enough to make it past this first step, it really doesn’t mean much. I made it to through to two producers and they have yet to return my calls.

4. Submission emails.

This is where you can find a list of production companies and agents and submit an idea, script or treatment. This is usually done either as a form email or through some companies, an online form. This can be a very arduous process and after doing this nearly one hundred times, like a crap shoot. It is worth a shot but it is definitely a long shot.

5. Cold calls.

cold-call-mechanicsThis is where you simply call up the production company or producer and hope the secretary or gate keeper is in a good mood. They will gladly read your script (because they NEVER get calls like this) and then move it along in the process. I have not done this and quite honestly am unsure if I ever will do this. It sounds like a complete waste of time to me. I would rather spend that time writing new material.

6. Network your tail off.

For those of us who are relatively introverted, this one is very hard. This means going to industry events and then actually talking to other humans. Libations help but don’t overdo it. You want to sell yourself and open doors. This can lead to an agent or to a producer that will at least lead to a pitch meeting. The great thing about meeting people this way is that it’s easier to build a long-term relationship and thus more pitches. People like to hear more things from talented individuals. So if that one story doesn’t grab them, the next one may. Chance are also that one person has other friends in the business as well.

If that’s the case, your back to option one. Sort of. And that’s a great place to be.

Day 275 – Red Acres aka Planet Sheen

Posted: 30th May 2015 by Mike Gasaway in pitching

Since yesterday I talked about one of the failures of pitching in Hollywood, I wanted to talk about a relatively successful pitch in New York City. This is the pitch of Red Acres (setting the true record straight).

Paul_web-1-DNA Productions was easily the best work environment I have ever experienced. The two principals, Keith Alcorn and JOhn Davis were two fantastic, funny guys who really made the company a large family. We did a lot of great things and filled the halls with some of the most talentedly cool people on the planet. Keith and I were the only two directors on the series and we had a friendly competition for ratings and awards each year. Keith will tell you that he has the highest rated show (true) but I had more in the top ten (also true). We were both nominated for an Annie for Best Directing (me first) and secretly didn’t want the other to be nominated for year three. It was a lot of fun.

Directing on Neutron wasn’t work. Joe Elwood, my long time friend and editor, and I couldn’t believe we were getting paid to make up silly things that weeks later ended up on television. Can you tell I miss the experience?group_jntv

During this time, we were all trying to develop new things. New feature ideas (you have to check out Kirby Atkins’ project Beast of Burden, currently in production!), some specials and new television series. Keith and I had a tradition of going to lunch together every thursday to the same place. Eventually, the wait staff got to know us (non-smoking, two teas, and fried pickles) and we even had a very odd paparazzi moment when someone took our picture as we ate. Awkward to say the least.

Keith and I would always talk about new shows. Different ideas that we thought were funny. We were trying to figure out what we were going to do when Neutron would eventually end. One day, I thought of something I really liked and pitched it to Keith. It went like this. Humans have been searching for intelligent life for years. What if finally, we found life but it wasn’t intelligent? It was really dumb.

It was in my head for about a half an hour before our lunch. I couldn’t wait to tell him about it. We sat down, drinking our tea and eating fried pickles, and I pitched just that to him. He loved it and added, what if they were hillbilly aliens? I spit tea in his face, I was laughing so hard. We were giggling like school girls at all of the funny things. I was writing furiously on my little notebook. Once we got back to the office, I wrote the bible and started the pilot script.LOGO

Red Acres was born.

After a few weeks of development, we were ready to pitch it to Nickelodeon. We flew to New York City and stayed in Times Square. We went to the MTV building in Times Square to like the 40th floor or something where the Nick headquarters was. Very impressive. That view of NYC was amazing. I nearly forgot why we were there.

Hap_Poster_after_LogoIt was just myself, Keith, and Ben Gilberg, the awesome producer. We pitched it to the head of the network, a development exec, and the head of development. It was very nerve-wracking to say the least. Keith and I were prepared. We knew this inside and out. Knew the characters, the plotlines, the episodes. We were ready. And then the questions hit. What makes this show different? Yeah but THEN what happens? What is the main character’s motivation? Those type of questions.

Most of them, we nailed but for some reason, I got caught up on one question. I can’t even remember what the exact question was. I just remember my inside voice panicking. I could hear my mouth saying words but they weren’t coherent. Another voice in my head started yelling at me to shut up. That wasn’t working. Then another voice was yelling at Keith to have him stop me. That wasn’t working either. None of those voices were heard. Only the one spouting off nonsense.

To no avail, that nonsense really didn’t matter. They loved the show. Thought it was inventive and fun. The characters had a unique voice and the look of the show was great. The problem was, the main character wasn’t a kid. Was NOT a kid. So they passed.

We thought for sure this wasn’t happening. The show was super funny. We had hillbilly aliens!

A few of the guys wanted to change things but I wasn’t ready to give up on Red Acres. We pitched it to Cartoon Network, Kids WB and Disney. All passed.

So we regrouped and said that instead of our main character, Carl and Sheen steal Jimmy’s rocket and they go to a planet of dumb aliens. We had a Nick exec work with us who said it shouldn’t be Carl and Sheen.  Just Sheen. We protested. How can you have only one? It’s like Abbot without Costello. Laurel without Hardy. The Three Stooges without Shemp! It couldn’t be!

So I said “Ok, Sheen meets an alien that looks exactly like Carl and talks exactly like Carl but Sheen has no clue.” They loved it.doppy_large

And so Planet Sheen was born.

We ended up pitching that to the execs in LA at the Nickelodeon Studio. We literally had the execs bouncing up and down in their seats, they loved the show that much. They wanted to get to work on it immediately. We got an awesome writer, the uber talented Steven Banks, to help develop it.

And then wait for FIVE YEARS!

I could go on and on about the ups and downs of production and why I thought the show didn’t live up to that original pitch of Red Acres but that’s for another time.

The moral is that good things CAN happen through perseverance. It all started with a crazy what if idea. Got sprinkled with fried pickles and ended up on a television network.

Lighting will strike again. The storm is coming. Just wait for it. I promise.Trial-by-jerry-2

Day 274 – Pitching in H’wood

Posted: 29th May 2015 by Mike Gasaway in agents, pitching

I was asked the other day, “How’s the movie coming along?” to which I answered, “Which one?”

For those of us in this insane field of making films, we never have just one project going on at once. There’s the finished go scripts, the in progress scripts, the development scripts, and don’t even mention the treatments and ideas bouncing around inside the noggin. (By the way, you don’t want to be up there – not too much room and a whole lot of schizophrenia going on). Not to mention the projects that are actually “in negotiation”.

Those are the ones that really suck.

What does “in negotiation” mean? Actually, it means not much. You may have heard it as it’s brother term “in development”.  That just means that someone else, besides yourself, is actually interested in your project. Doesn’t necessarily mean money is involved, however; just that they are interested. My agent used to send me on so many meetings where people were interested and wanted to work with me. That’s like saying that you want to win the lottery. Sure it would be nice but the odds are it isn’t going to happen.

peteeeOn one occasion, I took this silly little show called, Pete the Gay Praying Mantis to a producer. Pete is very off the wall and something I did as a goof to myself. I thought it was funny that the poor male praying mantis usually got his head bitten off by his female partner after coitus. What a bummer! So I thought it would be funny if one mantis decided to act gay so he could have a long meaningful, yet false, life. He wasn’t really but just acted like it around the ladies. I ended up writing, recording and animating it all myself. Silly show. No intention of taking it anywhere. My agent loved it (he was gay, by the way and thought it was hysterical) so he wanted to pitch it around. We went to several places that did other off the wall projects. This one producer, though, was interesting and it says a lot about Hollywood.

I showed it to this person and he laughed out loud. Said he loved it. Watched the second episode as well and laughed more. Said that he had to see more. I pitched him the arc of the series (the episodes are only 2 minutes long) explaining what the other 10 shows could be and he was very into it. Then we started talking specifics. I had put the first few episodes on Youtube and the returns were meager. I had zero marketing and hadn’t really told too many people about it. The animation was poor on purpose and quite honestly, it was done just to make me laugh. I could care less if anyone else found it funny or offensive. Still, the first episode had over 20k hits. The second, only a few hundred (so much for longevity).hqdefault

The producer said that although he really liked it, he wanted me to come back to him after I had a couple hundred THOUSAND hits. COUPLE HUNDRED. Not one hundred but a couple. I don’t remember exactly the rule of what a couple is but I think it’s over one.

This is the thing that makes me crazy. He literally was laughing and replaying parts he thought was funny. He wanted to watch more and even discussed the series but when it came down to pulling the trigger to actually make a commitment, he balked and wanted to wait for more views. What I didn’t understand was that if he did wait and I did get those “couple hundred” thousand views, the price would go up. He could make an investment before and assure more profits.

But the risk was more so he passed.

And so it goes in the land of make believe. I have no idea how people survive day to day when very few of them take chances. They would rather wait for something to already be proven to then pay more for it. Great for those of us who know how to make such things. It’s just a long depressing road.

One with many stops. And many projects. Most “in development”.

Need any more encouragement or depression? Read about another pitch that almost made it the whole way.

Or check out episodes of Pete starting with the first one.