Day 522: "The Changing Climate of Television"


It's not just the planet earth that's going through a seismic change in behaviour.

That much is clear for anyone these days I think; whether you think the problems are man made or not is another consideration altogether, but the fact that our weather is changing and no one seems able to predict where it's headed seems, in my opinion, to be an unalterable fact that doesn't lend itself well to debate. 

So too it seems, is the state of television. 

I don't merely say this because of my pseudo pitch yesterday with my network contact, I've commented on this before.

In fact, the pitch itself, for what it was, went quite well yesterday and it was good catching up with the executive in question. I always enjoyed my time with this person and as a result the phone conversation we had yesterday was more in line with two acquaintances catching up briefly then it was an actual pitch. I'm sure that had something to do with the fact the idea isn't necessarily an easily packaged one, and certainly isn't one I have much experience with, so as I said from the get-go, this is an idea that is open to a lot of discussion, and one that I would be open to work on with any other people involved. 

Having said that, due to the fact it would quite literally involve the day to day activities of my life, the 'meat' of the idea wouldn't be something I'd be open to negotiate. So there's no worry about getting your 'characters' all turned upside down and altered by anyone, as the characters are us, and no one turns me upside down unless they're very strong and I have pockets full of change. 

But before we even got to the idea itself my contact was telling me how difficult the television waters are these days due to the fact that people don't seem to be consuming entertainment in the same way as they once did. As a result, the powers that be are having trouble trying to find a way through this dense new fog and things are more than a little up in the air these days. 

I knew this already of course, as I think we all do. There's a whole generation that still consumes their content the old fashioned way, by switching on the boob tube and sitting through all the lovely commercials that feed the creative people who are making the shows you actually watch. My parents are still part of this old guard, though even they find themselves sitting in front of the TV while perusing their Facebook accounts on their phones or laptop. As for my niece and Amy, our babysitter -or, the next generation of consumers- they barely watch TV at all and really don't see the point, when they have a much more intimate connection to their various devices and can easily and freely watch content from all over the world.

Amy in particular is really into a few bands in South Korea and another one in Texas that only has 10 or so friends on their FaceBook page. When I was her age I doubt I even knew where South Korea was. 

As a result the pitch had a little bit of the wind taken out of its sails right away, though the idea itself hasn't whatsoever. It was just very helpful to be reminded of the challenges one will inevitably face if one decides to pursue a way forward where the ground is a little shaky and there's very little light to guide your way inside what is an increasingly thick, dense, forest; vis a vie, the current system. 

Oh, and also, my contact only handles scripted shows, which my idea is most certainly not. So right off the bat we were at a bit of an impasse.

One of the channels I'd considered it a good fit for isn't commissioning any new projects right now, but she did mention another one that it might be a good fit for. I merely have to send her the actual pitch materials, so that she can forward it on to them. 

Cool. That's a good excuse for me to get some of those pitch materials together into a consumable form so that anyone who actually might be interested in helping me would have a good clear idea of what I'm trying to do. It's also a good excuse to try both routes simultaneously. 

You see, if I'm going to be making a pitch for a network, why not also shoot one for the consumers themselves. A straight to market pitch that takes my ideas right to the people who may end up wanting to watch it, or, better yet, to get involved themselves. I'm not saying one phone conversation has taken me away from the idea, I still think if I was able to get some people excited about it, who do these types of shows daily, it would be a very good foundation on which to start launching all my other work.

I merely mean to say that when throwing shit at a wall, it's a good idea to cover as much territory as you can to make sure SOMETHING sticks. 

The big problem I had in setting up my production company, to be honest, is that one word right there in the description that has always gotten under my skin... 'company'. Whether it's a bunch of lawyers setting something up with language no one but they are able to make heads or tails out of, a group of guys in army fatigues trudging through the jungle on the way to kill a bunch of people, or people that stop by your house unannounced and stay for a while chatting about the weather and their trip to Europe, company has always been a word I've recoiled from.

Then I thought of a work around for that idea that immediately takes the stench of company off it and puts it in an entirely new light. The idea remains the same, it just becomes a different project entirely and immediately gives the whole enterprise a different and more welcoming feel. 


Bam. Just like that. A company gets turned into a community and all of a sudden everyone feels they're on an equal footing and that they're part of a group that is looking out for each other, in the true sense of what a community is supposed to be. There will be no shadowy figures sitting behind a board room desk in an expensive suit cutting wages or letting a whole pile of people go. That doesn't happen in a community so it shouldn't happen in a big group of people either, wherever that group happens to get together, and whatever that group is up to. 

So there you go. I did pull a trigger yesterday and throw my idea up against the wall that is the current system, and found the experience to be quite nice, if not fruitless (for now) and all it did was make me reinvest in how I've been operating the last two years anyway. Having said that, I don't see the hurt in creating pitch material to send off to the one network my contact had in mind, and see what happens with that. Meanwhile, I'll continue working on all aspects of the plan myself, delegating none of it until such time as I have the pitch to get people on board. 

We're not there yet kids. But the good news is that the memory work, which in my mind everything else hinges on, is still coming along quite nicely. I'm in full auto-pilot mode now, letting myself do whatever it is I feel I need to do whenever I sit down with it. As it turns out, it's a lot of drawing the same system of images out, in various forms, on paper and white board; a practice that could seem quite tedious to the untrained eye, or even a little monotonous; like Bart Simpson eternally writing on the chalk board at school in the opening credits. 

But how else does one manufacture associations, if not through constant reinvestment in those connections by reviewing them over and over again? If you know a better way I'd love to hear it. Really. I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR IT! 

And so would Jeannette. If I hadn't ripped through a deck of cards the other day, with about 95% accuracy, after a long night of sleep, she would probably have wrapped me up in a white coat with buckled arms and shipped me back to the Americas by now.  

The way I figure it is this: if I can spend three and four hours a night as a kid, shooting pucks into the top corner of a net for no other reason than because I want to score a bunch of goals in a high school hockey game that means nothing, I sure as hell can spend the exact same amount of time and energy on a 'brain fix', as an adult, that will revolutionize the way I consume and recall my own content. And what's more, a system that is fully teachable.

So Good Will Hunting then, is what I'm pitching you -though less dramatic, I can't bench nearly as much as young Will could- if his abilities had been something he'd struggled to obtain, instead of a boon he'd been born with. How interesting is that anyway? People who are born with natural 'gifts'? No thanks. If it can't be passed on through a step by step system that anyone can learn, I'm no longer interested.

Still, that was one of my favourite movies of all time. That and Beautiful Mind. 
Given their subject matter, and what I've now chosen to do with my time, I suppose that's not surprising.  

My wood guy just had to quit for the day. He blew a filter. Jeannette and Amy are out with Blaze. I have the house, and the yard, to myself. 

Time to break out the white board.

Have a good Saturday munks.