Hey Bonnie!

I’ve been reading your articles for some time (even years ago before moving to LA) and we’ve had a couple of exchanges on Twitter but I’ve never written in to you until now. I find your articles informative and empowering — especially the most recent one on webseries and their transition to TV.

The webseries I co-produce and star in got some buzz recently after our second season was released. My partner and I have been encouraged to try and pitch it for TV but we have no idea where to begin. I’m primarily an actor and comedian and he’s primarily a writer so we don’t know the other side of things.

Most recently we got a lead on the Cartoon Network that is supposedly looking for more live action stuff for their Adult Swim programming, but we don’t know how to facilitate that actually happening or if there is a protocol to try and get pitch meetings. Do you have any insight on this? Any info would be most appreciated.

Thank you for your time! 🙂
Heather Horton

Heather, thank you. I love this email, mostly because it’s just filled with the joy of knowing there are opportunities out there — opportunities to launch what you’ve created to the next tier — and you’re looking for ways you can continue to empower yourself with this project. Awesome!

First, think about your Web of Trust (I’m realizing now I’ve never actually written the article that details the Web of Trust, although it’s covered at length in my book; this is a note to myself, to make sure that column gets written, fully) and all the folks with whom you have relationships in this industry. This is where Your Show Bible becomes your best friend. Track not only all the fine folks you’ve worked with, but those with whom you’ve trained, those who have been mentors to you, those with whom you hope to work, going forward. Track their relationships to see who has a direct line to your target buyers for this project.

You’ll spend a lot of time on IMDb-Pro, The Futon Critic’s Devwatch pages, CastingAbout, and It’s on the Grid, so get ready! For research junkies, this is the best part. 😉

For those who prefer the two-martini lunch to the two-week trip down the rabbit hole of research, well, the good news is that the martinis are much smoother if you hit your highest targets. So do the work. You’ll thank me later. (See below.)

As you track who knows whom, you’ll start seeing patterns of influence, pockets of loyalty in industry relationships, places where the saying, “It’s not who you know…” ends with, “it’s who THEY know,” and that starts getting really exciting, because everyone at the higher tiers loves to conspire for others’ successes (because it makes them look like geniuses).

Obviously, most folks who land juicy pitch meetings at major networks get those appointments through agents, and there are a lot of agents out there, keeping an eye on Internet projects with lots of buzz. When they see self-produced works that generate buzz and a fanbase, they pay attention. They know there’s money to be made, potentially, and a good agent’s greatest gift is being able to sign on a future superstar before it’s blatantly obvious that’s his status, before it’s profitable to take the risk.

Part of your Show Bible building needs to include setting up Google Alerts for agents you know rep producers with web content, and who help them shop it to TV. You need to study the playbooks of those who have blazed these trails before you. You need to attend panel discussions put on by all the major web distributors, festivals, and news sources. Your JOB becomes learning from those who’ve done it before. Start by reading everything in Helenna Santos Levy’s rockstar resource list. Hit every networking event you can. Buy successful web-to-TV showrunners cocktails and soak in everything they say about their journey.

If you need to practice your pitch, I’ve written about Pitch Clinic before, of course (check those links, in that piece), but there are also dynamo coaches out there who help creatives refine their scripts and prep their pitches. My favorites are Dyana Valentine, Greg Miller, Larry Brody, and Pilar Alessandra. At the very least, read these two pieces, which were published within the same month. From that last link, a favorite reminder: “Half the battle is selling yourself as a creator of a show.”

Yes, this is a lot of work, and that’s why most folks won’t do it. Congratulations. Hard work doesn’t scare you off and that’s why you’ll be standing on a stage, holding something gold and shiny, thanking voters for believing in your vision (and thanking me for the great advice, all those years earlier), in no time.

Go get yours! I’m excited for you!

bonnie


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001490.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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