Bad news for my writing partner. Apparently, an intimate knowledge of the Home and Garden network line-up and/or those various storage locker reality shows ISN’T going to offer much traction in our upcoming L.A. meetings. According to my agent, one of the first things an executive will ask us will be: “So, what do you watch?”. Me? Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, True Detective, The Walking Dead, Les Revenants, Sherlock, Downton Abbey. My writing partner? Those shows where people redecorate your house. Also, almost all of the tattoo parlour-related offerings. Hmmm. The answer is supposed to offer insight into our personal t.v. tastes and philosophies, in addition to giving those in attendance the opportunity to bond over shared interests. It can also, presumably, as was the case when I was talking to my agent this morning, have just the opposite effect. Hey, don’t get me wrong. I thought Broadchurch was a fine series – but “great”? He didn’t use his powers of deductive reasoning to solve anything! The murderer simply gave himself up! How is that dramatically satisfying?!
Okay, granted, I do tend to get worked up over such trifles as story and logic – which makes for great party debates but perhaps, in the long run, far less successful meetings with the network executives whose favorite show you happen to be eviscerating. Even more awkward if it happens to be a show on his/her network. I’ll never forget the time I met the then President of MGM Television who was visiting the Stargate offices for the day. After chatting with me for a few minutes, he checked his watch and informed me he had to catch a cab back to the hotel so he could watch the premiere of the rebooted musical series Fame. I laughed out loud. Heh. Good one. Fame. It turned out he was serious. Shiiiiiooooot. So I did the only thing any level-headed person in my position would have done. I said it was nice meeting him and reminded him who I was, dropping my writing partner’s name instead.
It looks like we have our work cut out for us in the lead-up to our L.A. tour-de-force. He has brush up on some non-reality t.v. while I have to practice self-restraint. There are going to be a tough few weeks ahead for both of us.
Of course all this prep could be for naught if one of our standing projects gets the green light. A decision on A.K.A. will be made sometime this month. Dark Matter is still a possibility as are two other projects we’re in contention on. But in the event none of these pan out, then we have to start thinking about L.A., either staffing on a network show in April, or going down to pitch May/June with an eye to landing on a cable series. Ideally, I want to run my own show, but I’m not willing to sacrifice another year to make it happen. So, in addition to practicing self-restraint and making travel plans, I’ve got to come up with some new material. We’ve got three original pilots completed – Dark Matter, Damnation, and A.K.A. – and I’m about to put the finishing touches on the Southern Gothic script I co-write with the delightfully acerbic Tara Yelland. I’ve started work on an over-the-top SF actioneer and just started thinking about a DARK drama to round things off. I figure that if things don’t pan out, I’ll just go ahead and program my own network with my stack of scripts.
So, out of curiosity, what is the one show out there that everyone you know LOVES that you absolutely HATE? And why?