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.