30.9.07

Fired

Journal Entry. Sunday, Nov 4th, 1979

Larry Leblanc got fired on Friday. Dead. Kaput. Gonzo. Larry was the music producer on the show - a gentle geeky guy who picked discs, booked live performances and actually knows who Doug and the Slugs are.

Why whack the music producer ? If the ratings on this show suck it is NOT because of the music.

I think Richard got rid of him as a kind of exercise in TERROR for the rest of us. Richard is a tough Alberta jew - and he's short too, which doesn't help. You can see it in his eyes that he brooks absolutely no fucking weakness and as the "alberta" producer on the show I'd better get smarter fast, after all I'm the first out-of-towner he's hired.

My contract is almost over and I have no idea if it'll be renewed or not. Shit. Shit. Shit. I CAN'T go back to Calgary. The problem is Harron. Trying to get Don to interview on the Alberta / Ottawa oil struggle is like trying to get someone to describe the Great Wall of China from a postcard. He has a vague idea what it's all about - that it's big and important and hard. I prep him as best I can, but then all I can do is sit on the end of the talk back whispering the next question in his ear. If I jump in at the wrong time he loses track of what's being said by both me AND the guest. This week he was interviewing Marc Lalonde and called him Marc LAFLEUR. I could hear every listener in Quebec..."Guy...Guy...Guy."

However he redeemed himself in an interview with two chess players at the World Championships ...we did a 2-on-1 phoner with them ...in his extro Don AD LIBBED...."there you have it....a couple of CHESS NUTS BOASTING IN AN OPEN FOYER". Fucking hilarious.

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Sunday night, September 30th, 2007.

I am writing a pitch for the Slice network - Fat 'n Furry. It's about...fat pets. What else ?

NOTE TO J-SCHOOL STUDENTS -- This is what two Geminis, one US TV Accolade Award, two New York Film Festival Silver Medals, one ACTRA award, one CBC Prix Anix, one book contract with the TLA Agency and twenty five years in the business will get you....Fat 'n Furry. And you'll probably LOOK fat 'n furry when you get to my age too unless you AVOID Guinness.
Stick to Bushmills.

Here's the beginning of the pitch -:

"It’s their eyes. They seduce us. So much so that we literally love them to death."

Somebody either shoot me or hire me soon. Please.

It's actually not quite as goofy as it might first appear (he says desperately grasping for a justification other
than - IT'S WORK).

Slice has re-branded itself as a channel for urban, single women with disposable incomes and I'd bet my last Milk Bone that many of these viewers are -as they say, "Lonely Hearts". Cat women. Dog women. Parrot women (hello Ann Medina). Maybe even a few gerbil owners too. Ooops, er strike that -- Pride TV is coming back in the spring. I'll pitch that to them.

For Slice I've created a show with a cute title which fits into the Bell Expressview menu window (three words or less)...a show that targets the channel demo dead on...a show that advertisers WILL buy into (what are the THREE biggest industries in the USA ?? Sex. Fat. Pets). And most important of all ... the show has portability. "Legs", as they say (insert cheap gag here).

We're trying to get this into "funded development". Which essentially means that the network ponies (sorry) up about 10k which will trigger (stop me, please) another 15 to 20k of Telefilm monies. So, a little two page life-style pitch can quickly turn into real cash dollars.

I've probably had about thirty development deals over the past few years of which I'd say maybe a dozen have moved forward to series. I know producers who LIVE off their development moneys. It's a crappy way to get by but so is working in a cubicle at Newsworld. Yes it is.

Time to stop. I've been slipped a boot-legged copy of Guy Maddin's new home town homage doc -- MY WINNIPEG which I'm going to go watch then post about tomorrow. His distributor is desperately trying to keep copies OFF the street and especially away from the envious eyes of other documentary makers.

Guy got a sweetheart deal from the Doc Channel. I heard it was over 400 grand. Throw in a 20 percent CTF licence and a 45% Manitoba tax credit and the man-who-has-never-made-a-documentary-before had a cash budget of over 600k.

Nice. Hope it's not a .... dog.

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