Reminder: FREE Reality TV Seminar at the Writers Store August 13! RSVP now!

Yes, I’ve resorted to exclamation points!  Pass it on if you know any media students or writing pros who want to know more about how reality works!


One thought on “Reminder: FREE Reality TV Seminar at the Writers Store August 13! RSVP now!

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  1. Post-mortem:

    Great group Saturday… full house and sold all books on hand. Great questions were asked and most folks seemed to have a decent time.

    Have to confess that I was massively thrown off by the guy shooting unauthorized video in the back of the room even after he’d been asked not to. I’ve been in Reality TV long enough to know what can happen when content is taken out of context, and it’s hard to be ultra-candid and comfortable when that’s going on.

    More than a few people in attendance seemed to be laser-focused on creating and selling their own original shows. I’ll never tell you what you can and can’t do (as people break through in many ways), but the reality of the situation is that selling reality shows is less about creating something ex-nihilo that entertains you than coming up with something that has a likely broadcast home. I also shared, based on real experience, that a new creator has little chance of meeting at the network level and is unlikely to be showered with money and EP credits fresh from the gate. Finally, I advised that newbies need to seek out production companies to partner with on their ideas, and related a host of other unpleasant truths that run contrary to the fantasy version of selling a reality show that usually looks like this:

    “Hello, Mr ____, what brings you here to our network?”

    “Well, I have an idea for a reality show about penguins who type.”

    “Brilliant! Despite your lack of knowledge of the arena or what my network actually carries, I am prepared to offer you two million dollars based on that logline. You do know how to make a reality show, don’t you?”

    “Actually, no!”

    “Oh! No worries! I’m sure you’ll figure out how to cast, crew, produce, post and deliver something in the next three months. Please drop by the front desk where my receptionist can cut you a check or pay you in bullion.”

    I was even brutally straightforward (as I am in the book) about not having sold any original shows myself despite a few years’ worth of strategic partnerships with some reputable, well-credentialed producers and production companies. I wonder if the people who found that shocking would be surprised by the number of successful film and tv writers whose entire careers have been spent working on assignment or how much development work I’ve actually participated in for shows that DID sell.

    Okay, okay. I’m getting harsh. But it’s because I want people to succeed, and it’s sometimes hard to get anyone to understand that the top is the least likely place to start. I always devote the bulk of my lectures to the actual process behind reality shows, my favorite analogy being that if you want to be a mechanic, you should know how to do more than run the credit card machine and charge people for the repairs. Writers who are more focused on getting paid than learning their craft should devote their time and resources to playing the lottery.

    If you buy the book and/or come to see me (maybe even at the FUTURE OF STORY CONFERENCE on August 27), just know that I’m more about giving you useful advice than cashing in by giving you utterly useless generalized cheerleading.

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