The point of going to L.A. was to pitch some of the projects I’ve been developing over the past little while.  Originally, I’d intended to go out with three pitches, but that was eventually trimmed to two, and finally cut down to one.  According to my manager, pitching multiple projects would be detrimental to all of them.  Best to focus on one.  And so, after careful consideration, I decided to – for this trip – move forward with the one that was most pitch-ready: Little Heaven.  

The plan was to go in for a full week of meetings, some pitches, some generals.  In the end, I ended up doing eight – slightly more than half of what I wanted.  Chalk it up to schedule shifting, 11th hour cancellations, sickness, and the fact that the project I was pitching (the serialized series adaptation of a visceral horror novel) had maybe a half dozen possible landing spots.  So, all things considered, it was a fine slate of meetings.

Author Craig Davidson (aka Nick Cutter) and I crafted our pitch in a way that allowed us to continually hand off and cover different sections.  I started by assuring the execs they’d be sitting down to an approximately twenty minute pitch (leaving plenty of time for Laverne’s late afternoon birthday sing-song and cake), then intro’d my discovery of the material.  Craig followed up with a brief overview of the types of horror he enjoys writing: Promethean (Frankenstein!  The Fly!) vs The Crucible (The Walking Dead!  The Mist!  The Thing!).  Then, we rolled into the pitch proper: a fairly detailed Tease, the World of Little Heaven, our Characters, a broadstroke overview of the pilot, then our plan for the show’s second and third season.  I capped off the pitch with the reasons why we are uniquely positioned to deliver this amazing series, and finally opened the floor up for questions. 

Our first pitch was…fine.  We read mostly, fielded a few questions at the end after which our stonefaced executive thanked us for coming and left.  The second pitch was a lot more relaxed.  At that point, we had a pretty firm grasp of the material and bounced off each other quite nicely.  The execs on this one were delightful.  By the third pitch, we were pretty much off-book, only consulting our notes occasionally.  Our executive this time seemed genuinely intrigued.  Craig had the best feeling about this one.  So, of course, it should come as no surprise that he was the first one to inform him they were passing.  Apparently, it was too close to one of their other shows.  It’s not, really, but I suppose they needed a reason to say no.  Finally, it was time for the fourth pitch.  By this point in the week, Craig had left town meaning I’d have to pitch alone and I wasn’t so sure about this one, but I went in guns blazing and nailed it.  Completely off book.  No consulting my notes.  The executive I pitched was terrific.  Having said all that, I think this last one is most unlikely. 

We’ll be following up on those we pitched, and those we missed, with series overviews detailing our creative game plan, and signed copies of the novel.   

If my trips to L.A. have taught me anything, it’s that I should be making more trips to L.A. in order to stay on everyone’s radar.  So, aiming for (hopefully) mid to late November to be back in town with another pitch.

Hopefully, it won’t take that long to find out the results from this latest tour.

The general meetings were great – as were the various meals we enjoyed.  Like a positively amazing dinner with the equally amazing Melissa O’Neil:

Finally, it wouldn’t be a trip to L.A. without the various celebrities in passing you happen to almost share a meal with – or elevator ride down: Weird Al Yankovic, Emilia Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Lenny Kravitz, Charlize Theron, and Taryn Manning.  Of course the highlight for me was spotting Jennie from Blackpink sitting in our hotel lobby.  Even though it turned out it wasn’t her, it WAS still the highlight.

8 thoughts on “September 30, 2019: L.A. Mission Debrief!

  1. Well, it sounds like it was an interesting week. It’s a shame that those folks have passed on the idea – their loss, I guess! I’m still really looking forward to how you guys bring LH to the screen.

    I love that you were able to meet up with Melissa – I’m glad the the DM alumni have managed to find some pretty cool gigs, but I still would like to see them all back together again.

    After a fun weekend in NH this past few days, I gotta get packing for the big move. Then next week, TO!

  2. Thanks for the update!
    The waiting for answer is painful … as usual.
    More trips to LA? Hmm … Still the epicenter of showbiz powerplay it seems. Necessary evil? 🥺

  3. Well at least that one executive had the guts to tell you “no” to your face right away and not leave you hanging… or waiting around for a minute.

    Emilia Clarke? Wow. I recently saw her in that movie where she was a caregiver. (I don’t have HBO and never saw Game of Thorns) She was mesmerizing as that caregiver.

    @gforce – I missed it. Why are you moving? You just had that house built for you not long ago. I thought it was a very nice house.

  4. Thanks for the look into the process. Given that it is so convoluted I have to shake my head on what ends up approved, and what doesn’t get a fair shake or a decent run.

    Off tangent ramble: I have Los Angeles roots, my dad’s father moved there after losing a leg in WWI and was an extra in silent films. He did end up in talkies, but passed away in 1941. I’ve seen him in Captain Blood with Errol Flynn, and pretty sure I spotted him as an extra in the silent Last of the Mohicans.
    My mother’s father moved the family to L.A. and opened a fruit stand in the famous Farmer’s Market. I used to have a postcard with him on it from there, but someone in the family took it while I was away in the Navy. Mom worked in the stand as a teenager, and had stories about being frightened by Boris Karloff, because his voice was scary in real life; how Gene Kelly’s wife would buy kumquats to make marmalade for him, and how Jack Benny once gave my grandfather a gold watch. He played cheap but she says he was truly nice and generous in person. Dad apprenticed with a Hollywood photographer, who knows what he would have done if he hadn’t enlisted in the Navy during the war. Dad was born in L.A., I was born in Oakland, I am a Californian at heart….

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