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CREATE-FINANCE-PRODUCE: Get that 'damn' show off the ground!

It’s easy to come up with a good idea… making it happen is the hard part.

A creator recently said to me, “You know, it’s easy to come up with a good idea.  Making it happen is the hard part.” In fact, I think both are hard!  But my area of expertise has been the later –making it happen. In this blog, I will talk about projects I am actively pitching and about my experiences taking them across the globe to find financing and get them produced.  Names may be changed to protect the innocent!

The new year is here.   As I shake off the food hangover and jump back into work, The KidScreen Summit this February is the first thing on my “to do” list. KidScreen has become one of the key markets in the kids business, and, with five weeks to go, I have a lot I want to accomplish. High on my list is a show in development from a very successful creator who has had hit shows on both Nickelodeon and Disney.  “Bob” and I are working together on his newest project. Rather than going to the major channels to sell his idea outright, this time he wants to try a new approach that will allow him to retain creative control, a fair amount of ownership, and meaningful back-end participation in the event the show becomes a hit the way his previous two shows did.

The pitch package is already in shape, and the project is pretty much ready to sell.  The mini-bible has all the critical elements in place: a short description of the show and the world, character summaries, five sample episodes, and a variety of illustrations of the characters and the backgrounds. Bob also funded a five-minute animatic on his own and is working on fully animating this piece. It is a very solid pack indeed.

At MIPCOM in October, I sought out interest and now have a verbal commitment from one of the European channels to work with us on co-development and then ideally to co-produce the series. This is great news and a real good foundation to build from as I dive into the pre-production financing scenarios.  One of the challenges with this show is that we have to produce 51% of the project with a European partner because of the Channel’s mandate to the European community. I am currently seeking this European partner now and have strong interest from a studio in Spain.  At KidScreen, I will try to get a commitment from this partner and move into a development deal with the channel.

Also on my list is a project in development with a creator based here in L.A. who has a long list of writing and development credits and a great idea for an animated comedy for the 6- to 11-year-old boy demographic. I like to say that it is a throw to classic animated comedies with a twist: these appear to be normal cartoon characters you may know already, but they are slightly off in a good way! We have been working together on this project for roughly a year. During this time, we have made significant progress and we will meet with a German broadcaster at KidScreen who has been following this project for some time and is keen to consider the project for co-development. She has asked us for two scripts that we are working in now as well as an storyboard from an episode. With this broadcaster in place, we will then be able to secure producing partners quickly and, hopefully, close the funding gaps.

Fingers crossed as I push for KidScreen meetings and prep for the market.  Next week, I will write more about what this involves.

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