Developmental As Anything – Part II

 Hello!
When I left off last week, I’d been approached by an executive at a production company to help them with a format for a new 5-night-a-week game show. It was to fill the all-important time-slot of Lead-In To The News. They’d pitched a concept to a network, the network had shown some interest, and now that original concept just needed to be expanded and refined. The production company had engaged me for two development days, I’d been sent the material, and was looking forward to heading into their offices, and brainstorming with their creative team. Now read on…..
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Soon, the day came, and I made my way to their premises. No one at reception or in the office seemed to know who I was, or quite why I was there. So I explained, and then the executive in question showed up. He seemed surprised that I hadn’t brought my laptop, and offered to go and find me one, if I wanted one. I told him I was happy with just my old fashioned pen and paper. He and I went into a rather drab, windowless meeting room.

The meeting room was sort of like this. Only not as nice.

We had a quick chat, ran through the notes he’d sent me, and he showed me where the kitchen and toilet were. He said he had to go to a meeting, but he’d be back soon, and then left me to my own devices. “Go out for a walk if you want – do whatever works for you…”

And then he left.

Right. Not quite what I was expecting, but I got to work. I worked solidly for the next four hours, and when he came back around lunchtime, I was eating (I’d brought lunch from home) and working when he arrived. I presented what I had for him so far. He liked what I’d done. He made a lot of positive noises, but then said “Oh, didn’t I tell you? It needs to be an hour, not a half hour.”

Ah. No, that fact had somehow slipped through the cracks.

Never mind, good to know…. I was able to tweak what I had done, and I found it invaluable to pitch my ideas to him; to bat them back and forth, and really test them. Together, we worked out how and why some ideas worked, and how and why some ideas didn’t. It was fun, there was real progress being made – two heads were most definitely better than one, and we were firing off each other. This was good, really good!

And then he had to go off to another meeting. So I was left alone again. He returned another three or four hours later, and again, I took him through what I’d done. And again, he was happy. Together, we decided that I’d knock off, go home, write up all the notes from today, and email them to him. So that’s what I did.

So, what, exactly, did I do for them, while I was by myself for around 8 hours in that soulless meeting room (without giving away any details, as per the terms of our Non-Disclosure Agreement)?

Well……
– I devised a workable format for the hour-long version of the show
– I devised an overall structure for the series
– I wrote 5 sample questions (with answers) in various, very specific formats and styles
– I provided 3 pages on the finer details of elements of the game (Question categories, casting, etc)
– I supplied 38 suggestions for a title for the show
– I supplied 8 suggestions for hosts for the show, and
– I supplied 51 suggestions for co-hosts for the show
I wrote up my notes, emailed them to the executive, he thanked me, and sounded me out about which days I was free next week, for the second development day. But I couldn’t see what more there was to cover. What they wanted me to do, I’d done – it simply didn’t require two days. And so, when he sent a response thanking me and signing off with the words “speak soon”, I knew that we wouldn’t.
And indeed, we haven’t. So, what happened next?
Well, I haven’t heard a thing since then. ALTHOUGH, a couple of weeks ago, I did read an interview with the head of that particular network, in which she said that they were looking for something to fill that all-important time-slot of Lead-In To The News. Which makes me suspect that they’ve passed on this particular project.
Or maybe they haven’t – what do I know?
Anyway, watch this space, and I’ll keep you appraised if there are any further… well, developments.

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