Pitch #1: “Runway Reality”

Morris psyches himself up for his first pitch in over a year. Taking a deep breath, fighting back anxiety, he takes the plunge and punches up Noreen’s number. But no matter what level of self-motivation, the results stay largely the same. Nearly getting his head bit off the moment his sister picks up – what else is new? – Morris continues to distinguish himself in less-than-glowing terms. He haltingly pitches the lamest thing that Noreen has heard since probably the last time he pitched her. Just like all the other times in the past, she gives him a rude pass. But not all is lost. Verona Kendermants enters the Pitch Palace with a new blend of soap – peanut butter, grape jelly, garlic and patchouli oil Suddenly, all is well in Pitch Paradise – so much so that Morris wants to hop back on his Pitch Palomino and go another round . . .

Pitch #1: “Runway Reality”

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Second Thoughts about First Impressions

Morris Crimpanfortis figures it’s high time to get back in the saddle and start pitching up a storm again. Realizing it’s been over a year since he last pitched Noreen, he contemplates some allowance for rust. He thinks about one of the shows he pitched in Burbank that featured camel races at Las Alamitos. He wonders if he can dust off this pitch and substitute ostriches for camels. They, by the way, were the camels with one hump, not two. He wonders if the hemorrhoid cream company that agreed to sponsor the camel races will be amenable to other sponsorship opportunities. But what if Noreen turns him down, like she always does? Has he learned anything from his year in exile? Does he now have the stones to stand up to her? Time will tell . . . 

TO: Morris Crimpanfortis V

FROM: Morris Crimpanfortis V

RE: Second Thoughts about First Impressions


When you’re Pitching Noreen, Timing is Everything

I check the digital display on my flip phone. Thankfully the satellite is up and running today and I have a signal. It is going on 4:00 PM EST, well past lunch hour in the Windy City. I take a deep breath, putting my feet on my littered desk, listening to something crunch beneath my heel–and not caring what it is.

I pause before I dial. It’s been over a year since the last time I did this. Do I actually think I’ll be able to pick it back up again like riding a bike? What’s the other one they talk about? Oh yeah falling off a log. I guess if you’ve ever done something one time, your muscle memory is supposed to toggle into place and everything will take over from there. Right? Isn’t that what they always say?

Pitching with Purpose: Only One Bite of the Apple at a Time

It becomes glaringly apparent that I don’t even know what I want to pitch. I don’t especially want to open with a really good one. I don’t want to waste it on a practice run. See, I get only one bite at the apple. I never get to come back for a second try. That’s just the way it is. Those are the rules I must play by.

The other tough part about his whole thing is the circumstances involving my last pitch in Burbank a year ago. I do my best to shut it out, but usually end up reliving the night when everyone was in my face, getting all hot and bothered about me having disparaged the family name with such an ill-begotten production. The lesson learned was this: doing an infomercial for a body cleanse product is one thing. You follow the old adage, “Just the facts, ma’am.” My problem came when I took matters into my own hands and made a game show out of it, including the disastrous decision to go live without a safety net.

Noreen had been riding herd on me the whole time I was in Burbank, doing a credible job of shutting me down with all my pitches. But secretly I think she enjoyed fielding them because bits and pieces appeared in her own productions. For instance, how can her reality show about the water treatment plant have ever gotten off the ground unless I hadn’t originally pitched the same show as a sitcom? Just sayin’…you don’t need to dig too far to realize Noreen is a Class-A rip-off artist. I’ve thought about suing her, but Daddy would probably raise a stink. Do you think I should do it anyway?

What’s there not to Love about this Show?

I think about the game show I pitched to Noreen in Burbank where contestants, mounted on camels, race around the track at Santa Anita. The contestant who gets the most correct answers during the Q & A round gets the fastest camel and the inside lane. The contestants who blow chunks in the Q & A mount lesser competitive camels. And no, don’t get me started on one hump two–that’s the argument that doomed the whole production in the first place.

Changing Up the Camels for Ostriches

I think twice about repackaging this show and pitching it again to Noreen. Maybe instead of racing around Las Alamitos on camels, contestants could race on the backs of ostriches around some abandoned racetrack back here in coal country. I wondered if changing it from camels to ostriches would be enough to disguise the fact that this was basically the same pitch as the one I gave her in Burbank.

I sigh deeply. This is not getting any better with age. What if she shuts me down? Then my whole dream will be dashed upon the rocks. Oh well, I’d better at least try. If she denies me an audience, then I might have to go directly to Daddy. But that will defeat the purpose and get me exactly nowhere.

See . . . Daddy is way too busy to take pitches.

Oh, before I forget: the sponsor for the camel racing show was a company that markets hemorrhoid cream. Maybe they’ll want to sponsor some of the shows I’m pitching now.

Ya think?

Like Riding a Bicycle – with One Training Wheel

Morris Crimpanfotis V is getting all worked up about the first pitch he’s going to make in over a year. He figures it’s just like riding a bicycle. Once you get the hang of it, you never forget. But if his pitches were anything like riding a bicycle, he’d be pretty much scraped and bloodied and the bicycle would have bent tire rims from him falling over so much. His sister Noreen is the gatekeeper for all the pitches, and she rules with an iron fist. Morris will not be denied, though. His secret weapon is the bar of soap his assistant, Verona Kendermants, just handed him. It is scented with garlic, peanut butter and, of course, patchouli oil. Taking a deep whiff transports Morris to another world, and his sister suddenly seems a lot less threatening.

Revving Up the Ol’ Pitch Engine

Nothing Like Patchouli Oil to Fire up the Creative Juices

A full moon radiates through the turgid, swirling veil of snow. It is late winter and spring is right around the corner, but you’d never guess it. I try to envision Burbank right now. It’s probably in the eighties and everyone is busy getting ready for one production or another. And did I mention it’s three hours earlier there? Three hours can really make a difference when you’re producing world-class content.

Visions of Burbank and bustling sets draw into focus my overriding purpose in life: to create television programming. This is my raison d’etre, and in order to make up for lost time I must pitch like a maniac. It’s the least I can do; it’s what is expected of me.

Like Smelling Salts for My Creative Juices

I hustle inside, dusting off snowflakes. I can’t get enough of this garlic-scented hand soap that Verona Kendermants just pulled from the commercial kitchen of the opera house. I jam the odoriferous package under my nose and take a deep whiff. This is like smelling salts for my creative juices. I can’t believe the euphoria that bursts upon me. It has been over a year since I made my last pitch to Noreen. I don’t even remember what it was; all that is about it change. Once again, it’s open season for pitches.

I drop the block of soap atop my cluttered desk and wrestle from my top coat. It’s been so long now; I try to remember how to pitch Noreen. She is the gatekeeper, the one I have to go through to get my pitches listened to and ultimately produced as viable TV shows. Straightening my tie, I formulate a game plan, strategizing the best way to pitch Noreen. As always, I have to make her feel as though she’s in the driver’s seat.

TV Concept Comes like a Bolt out of the Blue

The process goes like this: I come up with the concept for a TV show or movie. A lot of times it just hits me like a bolt out of the blue. I immediately pick up the phone and pitch Noreen. Ideally, I would take my time massaging all the nuances and ramifications of birthing a show, starting with a couple sentences on paper then expanding it to a one-sheet followed by a three-page treatment. But that’s a perfect world scenario, and we all know, we’re not living in a perfect world. So like I say, most of the time I get impatient and just pick up the phone.

I rely on spontaneity in my pitches which for me can be a real liability because people tell me I’m not all that swift on my feet. One big thing when pitching Princess No (and everyone needs to be mindful of this when pitching her): you always need to factor in the one-hour time difference–Central vs. East Coast–so you’re not bugging her during lunch. Sometimes I get her when she’s having her nails done.  No sweat, if it’s anything like the past, she’ll shoot me down no matter what the venue. It’s always the same old same old: nothing I pitch is ever good enough.

Still, it’s better than being on the West Coast, when you have the two-hour time difference that goes the other way.

Greenlighting It Because She Can

Of course, Noreen has already green-lighted one of her own shows: a group of convenience store clerks from the San Fernando Valley sit around commenting on celebrities who visited their establishments during the previous week.

There was a question about reenacting the interludes with celebrity stunt doubles and lookalikes. Then the decision was made to actually have the celebrities themselves reenact the interlude.

So far, in requests made to agents, PR firms and management companies, there have been no takers.

Go figure.