December LA Event TBA; Consulting Packages


I’m proud to share that a December reality seminar/workshop will soon be announced by the same genius promoter who’s handled me with the TV Writers Summit events these past few years.

While Ellen Sandler, Jen Grisanti and Chad Gervich — see tvwriterssummit.com — take the NYC by storm December 6-7, I’ll be spending the holidays in Merry Olde LA tying up loose ends and decompressing from a wonderful (and crazy busy) season of DANCING WITH THE STARS while I share this newly structured course perfect for beginners, mid-career pros and execs interested in learning more about crafting great story and making irresistible television.

I’ll also be offering some special consulting packages either for yourself or someone you know who’s interested in developing their reality concepts into viable treatments.  For the month of December only, packages range from $500 for three consult calls up to one hour (usually $200/hr) to $850 for a one hour consult and two revisions of your subsequent treatment draft.  Email me at realitytvtroy[at]gmail.com for more details, and yes, gift certificates are available if you’re playing Santa.

After January 1, consults will return to the regular $200/hr fee and, if this year is like most others, I’ll be heading back to a new show… so jump on it!  There’s no time like the present to get yourself ready for the new year.

By realitytvtroy

I Think (Not)


Working on Dancing With the Stars again has been a real treat, thought it’s certainly keeping me away from the blog.

Just wanted to pop by today and share a neat little thought on interviews courtesy of my pal Dan, another producer on the show.

We were having a conversation about good interview technique this week, and he offered up a great bit of advice that hadn’t occurred to me after a decade and a half of working on interview questions and conducting more than my share of “look at me, not at the camera” sit-downs.

“You know, I really don’t like it when people start a response with I think,” said Dan. He explained that he felt it diluted the certainty and oomph of the statement that followed.

The more I thought about it, the more I agreed.

Look at these two responses:

“I think Carol was at least twenty minutes late.”

“Carol was at least twenty minutes late.”

The second one’s undoubtedly more impactful, because it sounds so darn certain.  The wishy-washy first statement sounds a little unsure, as if it was maybe fifteen or twenty-five minutes.

The only time that “I think” could be useful is if you had some legally hairy content and your subject said something controversial, stating their opinion.  Then “I think” clarifies that it’s their position and not a statement of absolute fact. I’m no attorney, but I imagine that it could help get your powerful personal statement through legal/S&P.

Thanks, Dan!

By realitytvtroy

Podcast Relaunch Date TBA


If you enjoyed the first five Remember, We’re Not Here podcasts, more are in the works, though the series in unlikely to relaunch until some point after Thanksgiving so I can stockpile ‘em and get a new one out every week as I’d originally hoped to.

Thanks to guests Joey Ortega, Andrew Hoagland, Shelly Goldstein, Jon Collins and Carl Hansen for their installments posted so far. The new season kicks off with a joint interview with Eddie Pepitone (comic, actor and participant in Last Comic Standing) and Karen Simmons, story assistant for Basketball Wives and Basketball Wives LA.

Meanwhile, the old shows are still available HERE.

By realitytvtroy

Hollywood Divas, October 8 10/9c on TV One


Along with my return to Dancing With the Stars, I’m pleased to share that my last show, Hollywood Divas, is set to premiere on TV One on October 8 at 10/9c.

Not only did it provide me with the opportunity to work with Basketball Wives alum Andrew Hoagland one more time, it also gave me a chance to work for Carlos King and Todd Tucker, two guys you’ll be hearing a lot from in the future.

By realitytvtroy

Where Have I Been? / On Consulting


Swiping the title of Sid Caesar’s autobiography for a quick second as it seems like forever since I’ve updated the ol’ blogaroo, here.

I’m having a wonderful time finishing up HOLLYWOOD DIVAS, which opens on TV ONE in the fall, and am in talks to head back to a show I haven’t been on for nearly ten years, a surprise I’ll announce later when the ink dries. Meanwhile, though, I’ve been readying a new online webinar for the Writers Store folks on August 11 and revamping my presentations for StoryExpo in September.

The podcast is churning along, too, though taking a brief hiatus as I edit a few shows down so that I can relaunch on track every Sunday as originally intended. Having loads of fun, especially with another informal living room visit with Karen Simmons (Basketball Wives) and Eddie Pepitone (a past participant on Last Comic Standing). This husband/wife team are some of my dearest friends and a real hoot in our hour together.

Thanks for being patient. I’ll be back soon!

On the consulting front, I’ve continued my Saturday morning schedule of consults and have to say that I’ve had a lucky streak of dealing with some very sharp folks lately.

Owing to my longtime disdain for the kind of consultants and coaches who’ll take on anyone with a checkbook, I can be brutally frank and often tell people that there’s nothing I can do for them if their only questions are about access, money, and how to keep networks and production companies from “ruining” their ideas (translation: having any input whatsoever).

And then there’s the email I got this week from somebody who managed to insult me, my work, my style (“silly” suits) and my shows, while imploring me to do something positive for a change and sell his show. That is, if I didn’t just delete the email first “because of [my] huge ego.”

Whoa.

To be clear: I don’t sell shows for my consulting clients. I help you refine what you’ve got and leave it to you to get those meetings and pitch like a pro. Once in a VERY blue moon, if I think there’s a love connection, I’ll quietly pass an idea along to an exec pal or two who might like it, but that’s not a service I render, and if you’re not ready for prime time, no amount of money is going to get me to squander my goodwill capital.

The good ones make it worth doing. I’ll always see myself as a working producer first and a consultant second. It’s the only reason I ever consented to being part of the TV Writers Summit events — EVERYONE on that team has spent time actually doing what they’re showing people how to do.

To close in the proper upbeat tone I was after when I started — thanks to the great consulting clients old and new who make it worth spending my Saturday mornings on the phone.

By realitytvtroy

Dumbth


Just posted my interview with fellow reality producer Jon Collins today and wanted to make special mention of the podcast in that it deals with a situation Jon and I have found to be a sticky one over the years: the nagging presumption that reality television viewers are somehow dumber than people who watch regular scripted programming.

You’re constantly being reminded of things through flashback and repetition that you don’t normally encounter when watching procedurals and other scripted drama, and neither one of us can quite figure out why some people don’t trust the audience to remember things.  Sure, you might get up and go stir the chili at some point, but in the age of the DVR, you can just press “pause.”  Ever stood up in a movie and yelled, “I can’t be expected to remember what happened eleven minutes ago” to anyone?  No?  Shouldn’t happen with TV, either.

Anyway, check it out.  Jon was a great guest.  You can go to the archives and hear the past interviews with Shelly Goldstein (Biography, Behind the Music), Carl Hansen (Shark Tank), Andrew Hoagland (Basketball Wives and the upcoming Hollywood Divas) or Joey Ortega (of Howie Mandel’s Alevy Productions), too.

CLICK HERE for the podcast archives!

A Few Words About the REMEMBER WE’RE NOT HERE PODCAST


Just so you know, the podcast will not be replacing the blog.  Keep coming here for my sporadic posts about varying reality television topics.  The podcast is reserved for interviews and general fun stuff with my various TV friends and acquaintances.

REMEMBER, WE’RE NOT HERE goes live with a new podcast installment every Sunday at noon starting next week, so be sure to subscribe on iTunes (free) or check the blog for each new episode around the same time.

Here’s the first episode, featuring Joey Ortega, Manager of Development for Howie Mandel’s Alevy Productions.

http://rememberwerenothere.libsyn.com

By realitytvtroy

The Post-Mortem: Why It Pays To Write One at the End of the Season


Abstracted

When someone dies, medical professionals sometimes perform a post-mortem (autopsy) on the corpse in order to gain understanding of what went wrong and to evaluate any disease or trauma that might be present.  Post-mortems often lead to academic discovery and become useful in the future treatment of illnesses and injuries.

While there’s a great deal of difference between the medical field and producing a reality television program, I hate to dash out the door at the end of my run on a show without looking back and asking what we might have been able to do better for our “patient,” the series.

When completing a season, I strongly urge producers at the Supervising Producer level and above to write up a simple one or two page post-mortem detailing practices that they feel worked or did not work in all areas of the production.  Sometimes the company or showrunner won’t be interested in them, but even if they’re done just for your own understanding, they’ll help you to avoid missteps and enable you to repeat or improve upon what worked when you’re hired back on either the next season or your next project.

It’s important to approach the post-mortem not as an exercise in placing blame or heaping praise on individuals or departments, but in being able to enter subsequent seasons and other future efforts with greater focus and an understanding of the show’s stumbles and triumphs.

Points to ponder:

  • Were workflow and creative objective clearly outlined from the onset of the show?
  • Were adequate resources made available to production?  Post-production?
  • Were the allotted resources used efficiently?
  • Did the internal review process work?
  • Did the external (network) review process work?
  • Were there any surprises along the way?  Did we deal with them effectively and efficiently?
  • Were there any issues with staff or crew retention?  What were the sources of conflict there in the event of poor retention?
  • Was communication between field and post effective?  How can we improve communication next season?
  • What unique challenges did the show propose?
  • Did we improve or erode our relationship with the cast over the season?  How can we improve our relationship in subsequent seasons?

You know what they say —  those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.  A little navel-gazing at the end of a run will make you a better storyteller and professional.

 

By realitytvtroy

REMEMBER, WE’RE NOT HERE podcast preview episode launches today at 12N PST


RWNH

It’s my pleasure to announce the very first REMEMBER, WE’RE NOT HERE podcast launching today at 12 noon PST.  My inaugural guest is the funny and charming Joey Ortega, Manager of Development at Howie Mandel’s Alevy Productions, the folks behind content like MOBBED and DEAL WITH IT, currently airing on TBS Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30C.  Joey’s an expert on reality competition and game shows, and we had a great time.

The podcast launches in earnest on May 18 (with new episodes each Sunday at noon) and will feature various reality and game pro guests each week.  The title comes from the frequent on-set reminder to reality casts, “Remember, We’re Not Here.”