The final session of 2016’s Realscreen Summit kept the audience laughing and engaged, as six industry execs chatted about and debuted clips from failed series they’d pitched. Some were comedic, some were dramatic, some were cringe-worthy (such as a “Bachelor” spinoff featuring porn stars), but they all had one thing in common—nets didn’t want anything to do with them.
Not only did execs get the chance to get some pent-up frustration off their chests, but they had plenty of advice to provide producers in the room. For one, they all encouraged staying confident. “Good ideas are usually good ideas, sometimes the timing is just wrong,” said Phil Fairclough, Managing Director at Earth Touch USA. Fairclough had pitched a show about animals in warped speeds to Discovery and Animal Planet, thinking he had the next big hit. The audience seemed to agree—at one point they were so distracted by a background clip of a rattlesnake fang injecting venom into a cup that it had to be turned off. The nets weren’t interested at the time, but Fairclough admits he shouldn’t have given up. “Things that get away are your fault partly as well.”
Eric Schotz, President and CEO, LMNO Productions, had similar feelings. He pitched a show featuring an uncensored look into a waxing studio to Lifetime that had the audience gasping for air with laughter. Lifetime didn’t agree. “They looked at me for about 15 minutes before they spoke,” Schotz said. “My last words were, ‘Are you sure?’” However, he said sometimes hearing no is more about the reasoning behind it. “You have to listen to what the no is.”
High Noon Entertainment’s CEO, Jim Berger, summed it up well. He advised, “Believe in your idea, but read the room.”