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January 31, 2004

tv executive for a day

so owen works with the people who made the french connection all those years ago. they're a very reputable production and development company, and they were invited today to "the great american pitch fest," an event where a boatload of writers try and pitch their ideas for film and television to a bunch of executives.
that's where i came in.
owen had wrangled me a spot, so we went over to the l.a. convention center around noon, had a bitch of a time parking, and finally wandered upstairs to the pitch room. there were all sorts of writers milling about, and we located the table for his company and took a seat.
every 5 minutes, a cowbell would ring, and a human wave of writers would swarm to the tables. owen said the content offered was of lower quality then previous festival, and in truth the ideas we heard were generally pretty crappy. here's a few examples:

a reality show about a man who goes to russia to pick out a russian mail order bride. it would have an elimation phase, after which i suggested that the losers be gifted with a bag of potatoes and a bottle of cheap vodka. owen says this prize should go to the runners up. man i wanted to tell the guy that, but refrained until after he'd slimed away.

there was a woman who'd actually written a book about pets contacting their owners from the grave, via psychics. check out her webpage, and especially scroll down to the picture of her at the bottom with the rat on her shoulder. classic. she had recorded more then 1000 interviews with other weirdos who'd been visited by their pets, and suprising as it sounds, this was the pitch that was deemed one of the two most viable of the day.

another lady wanted to make a movie of the week about a retarded boy who was framed with the murder of a cop, and who'd mother struggled to clear his name. this sounded all well and good, until she mentioned that the same boy was arrested shortly after his release for selling cocaine right down the block from his house. we told her that the whole cocaine thing kinda nixed any simpathy the public would have for the young boy with a 56 iq. she still insisted she would continue with her book about the story. good luck.

one woman wanted to do a reality show about decorating houses by dumpster diving. no one does that kind of stuff, that's crazy.

possibly my favorite was a woman from oklahoma who rapid fire thrusted a stack of inkjet printed publicity posters at us. such future hits included "Jurassic Christmas," "Invasion of Eagle Creek (a rural town is invaded by inner-city kids)," and this amazing gem, "Toby and Sal." here's the description from the webpage:

LOG LINE:(A thirty minute TV sit/com pilot) It's a real odd couple when a statuesque Mom and her vertically challenged husband try to raise three sons. SYNOPSIS: A situation comedy about the adventures of a hip Father and Mother, Toby and Sally Hagen who are the parents of three strapping boys their lovingly refer to as there troops. Sal is the CEO of Tip Top Toy Company. The pilot episode involves a supercilious toy executive from a major toy company, a "65" T-Bird and a pilot named Captain Zemo complicates Toby and Sal's 16th wedding anniversary. The screwball high jinks fail to outmatch the wit and common sense of Sal, a savvy Mom, and Toby her private detective husband.

i underlined their to point out that it was a typo they had made.

anyways, many times during the day it as all i could do to not laugh out loud at what was being spewed at us. owen was much better, maintaining excellent composure and asking probing questions such as "do you already have a midget actor selected?" owen likens the experience to viewing antiques roadshow. Owen says his personal favorite pitch ever came last november, entitled "rockstars in space." he's gonna try and get hold of a treatment.

after several hours we completely lost interest and snuck away, driving down to malibu. zuma beach was killer, the sunset was great and got me excited for sunsets going down over the med. sea.
i fly out tomorrow at 2:25, wishing i would have studied the hebrew harder but i'll be fine. it's been good down here, my flight back from l.a. to reno is on the 22nd in the afternoon, i might show up a day or so early from israel to hang out with owen some more.

Posted by bendan at January 31, 2004 07:44 PM

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