The Prettiest Girl at the Dance

Journal Entry. Hot Docs.
April 26th, 2008.

It's been one of those weeks where the world has been turned upside down.

After years of going to industry festivals where I lived on the cheap, made elevator pitches ad nauseum, and enviously watched commissioning editors booze, schmooze, and scarf expensive food on someone else's tab -- I finally had a few days of living large.

And yes, someone else paid for it. Sweet.

I took about 30 pitches most of which were well conceived from the PRODUCER's standpoint but didn't really work for me. Why ? Because the pitchers weren't thinking like catchers.

The trick is to see things from my perspective. Who is my audience? What is my business model? Where do my priorities lie? Too many doc producers pitch ideas rather than television programs.

It's show business, right ?

My approach was to be open and clear. The week ended with most producers feeling pretty good about our conversations; promising to get back to me. Me ? I was exhausted.

But I'm not complaining. I all-too-clearly remember my time as a morlock.

At the Science Producer's conference in the UK a Comm Ed cancelled on me at the last minute due to a "family emergency". Fifteen minutes later she was swilling white wine with the Wall-to-Wall gang.

At the Banff TV Festival a Comm Ed confided in me that they never commission anything at Banff, they simply come for the golf.

At the History Conference in Boston a Comm Ed called my room just after midnight asking if I want to come over, drink some wine, and talk about my project. When I took a pass she took a pass on any future meetings with me.

It's nice to run with the Eloi for a change. But I've read my H.G. Wells too; I know what happens if you fall asleep in the afternoon sun.

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