Larry Brody: Of Cabbages & Kings & PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019

People's Pilot 2019

by Larry Brody

As many of you already know, PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 opened for entries back on June 1st, and fortune smiled upon us.

As the old-time showbiz trade press might’ve put it, we had a boffo opening weekend, the highest-grossing in the history of TVWriter™ and PEOPLE’S PILOT.

Since then, entries have held steady, and we could be heading for our biggest year in the twenty year history of PEOPLE’S PILOT. We’re a boutique competition, so I’m not talking about thousands of competitors here – nowhere near that, in fact – but seeing the curve go up a bit definitely brings a smile to my face.

The whole “boutique competition” thing has always been something I’m proud of. We’ve deliberately kept PEOPLE’S PILOT lowkey – with little outside advertising and no paid advertising as all – because I’ve always believed that regular TVWriter™ visitors should come first.

A few years ago, though, we brought on a new SEO – that’s marketing, in non-interwebspeak – consultant because I got this weird idea that maybe TVWriter™ should try to actually make a little money. Maybe even turn a profit.

Our SEO Lady is a whiz, truly brilliant when it comes to finding ways to turn unexpected things into moolah, and I put my toe in the water of change.

Ms. SEO’s research had showed that a lot of people hadn’t entered PEOPLE’S PILOT in the past because – of course – we hadn’t spread the word all over the web – and also because we hadn’t been charging a high enough entry fee. She said the $40 fee we’d been asking since the year 2000 made TVWriter™ look “penny ante” and cast doubt on the contest’s validity.

She also showed me how many, probably most, writing contests used tier-priced entry fees, increasing the cost of entering as the end of the submission period approached, and how they also used outside entry sites and lots of paid email blasts to get the word out to more potential entrants. And flash sales! My God, that woman loves flash sales.

I knew Ms. SEO was an expert and that not following her advice meant I was wasting an important resource – her – and a lot of time – my time as well as hers. Because we were trading expertise and experience one each other’s projects instead of slapping each other’s bank accounts with that green stuff so many fools are so soon parted with.

I decided to give a few of her suggestions a try.

I started by raising the submission fee to $50 and trading email blasts with some other writing and intellectual property sites and also listing the PP on a few sites that carry such listings. I also added some special discounts.

The email blasts didn’t accomplish much, and neither did the outside listings. The $50, on the other hand, didn’t seem to scare anyone away, so last year I went a little further and added an outside entry site – FilmFreeway – as a secondary entry path for PP 2018. And I did the flash sale thing a few times.

The flash sales were wonderful. They definitely garnered more entries. FilmFreeway was wonderful too. Through FF we not got more PEOPLE’S PILOT entries, we also got a host of new visitors to TVWriter™. (Hi, newbies, glad you’re still here.)

This year I changed the special discounts around a bit and finally went with Ms. SEO’s pet technique, the tier-priced entry fee thing, adding five bucks a month to the submission price, and there’s no sign that we’re taking any kind of hit as a result…

But I just haven’t been feeling right. Instead of concentrating on the entrants’creativity and enjoying what all of us here at TVWriter™ have been doing for them, I’ve been focusing on increasing our income.

And for me, messing with money just ain’t no fun at all. If I wanted to dedicate myself to the symbol of money and that for which those dollars stand, I would have kept writing and showrunning and arguing with execs and agents, and, well, with everybody. (Because that’s what I did back in the day. I wrote a lot, to be sure, but arguing was the biggest part of the job.)

I look out at the world from my little – very little – forest enclave, and I see things crumbling apart. The earth is burning, my fellow Americans are at each other’s throats, the middle class is history, and society and psyches everywhere are shattered.

Sorry, Ms. SEO, but I just can’t take pride in marketing success.

TVWriter™ and PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 and I are here because I got lucky and achieved not just everything I dreamed of, but more than I’d ever had the chutzpah to dream of.

And the reason we’re here is because I want to help others, oh so many others, achieve their dreams too. I want to help as many people as possible attain the personal power and mastery of their creative craft and immerse themselves in lives of joy and fulfillment.

To do that, to increase the impetus, I’m rolling back PEOPLE’S PILOT’s Official Entry Fee price to $40.

Forty fucking bucks, kids, with no tiered pricing, the same price we charged way back in 2000, right around the time so many of you were kids whose dreams hadn’t yet become distorted by reality’s light.

That’s the price I’m putting up on the PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 website right now.

And it’ll be there till PP 2019 closes at Midnight, November 1st, 2019.

No more monthly increases.

No paid-for eblasts or ads on other sites to bring in strangers to our little storytelling campfire here.

But more flash sales. Absolutely.

And, if after PP 2019 is over, we do find ourselves with more entry fee dollars than before, more prize money spread among more top finishers, if not for this year’s contest, then definitely next time around.

Uh-oh, almost forgot. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand. Ms. SEO is a fine person and good friend, and I appreciate all the input she’s given me. In fact, to show my appreciation, I’m using an idea of hers that I’ve been rejecting since we first met.

Never mind that forty buck price. I’m going to practice good old tried and true – and corny as hell – SEO pricing.  As of right this minute, the revised Official Entry Price is…

How many of you know what’s coming?

$39.95 per entry.

A steal, amIright?

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 IS HERE

Sponsored By

MANNER MOVIE LIMITED

 

Stuff on the Web We should’ve Reposted Here But Screwed Up & Didn’t – Part 2

Some recent articles on TV, TV writing, and the TV biz that we regret not posting earlier. But here they are now.

Well, the opening paragraphs anyway:

Rod Serling’s First TV Drama Aired Here 65 Years Ago

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Rod Serling’s first Cincinnati TV drama, “The Keeper of the Chair,” aired on WKRC-TV’s “The Storm” drama series 65 years ago, on July 10, 1951.

Serling was a staff writer at competitor WLW, where he wrote for TV and radio sitcoms, travel shows, documentaries, “Midwestern Hayride” and other lighter programs. So he started writing for “The Storm,” a live weekly drama produced by Taft Broadcasting’s WKRC-TV in the Taft family’s Cincinnati Times-Star newspaper building at 800 Broadway.

Read it all at http://wvxu.org/post/rod-serlings-first-tv-drama-aired-here-65-years-ago#stream/0

Brian Michael Bendis’ Scarlet Series Heads to HBO!

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Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev‘s Icon Comics series is heading to the small screen as Bendis himself revealed today that a Scarlet series is in the works at HBO.

“I do a book called ‘Scarlet’ which is soon to be announced also in our universe of television,” Deadline reports Bendis as having announced today at the ATX Television Festival.“Not announced yet, but HBO.”

Read it all at http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/news/694441-scarlet-series-hbo

Creators of popular media are becoming increasingly wary of their fans

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For the past couple of months, I’ve been up to my ears in death.

This spring saw a huge groundswell of fan outcry over queer women dying on television. In March, The CW’s apocalyptic drama The 100 killed off gay commander Lexa in a disappointingly clichéd way, setting off a chaotic onslaught of furious fans storming social media with passionate pleas for the show’s writers to do better.

Read it all at http://www.vox.com/2016/6/8/11885562/tv-fans-the-100-fandom

‘The Nightly Show’s Robin Thede Calls for Writers’ Room Diversity: “We Must Do Better”

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The Nightly Show writer and performer Robin Thede has an excellent Lenny Letteressay out this week called “On Making the TV Writers’ Rooms More Diverse,” and it should be required reading for anyone interested in writing for television, and even more importantly, the TV writers and producers currently in charge of hiring new talent. Thede wrote the essay in support of a New York tax credit proposed by the Writers Guild of America, which would incentivize shows to hire more women and minorities on their writing staffs

Read it all at http://splitsider.com/2016/06/the-nightly-shows-robin-thede-calls-for-writers-room-diversity-we-must-do-better/

Check ’em out!

Stuff on the Web We should’ve Reposted Here But Screwed Up & Didn’t – Part 1

Some recent articles on TV, TV writing, and the TV biz that we regret not posting earlier. But here they are now.

Well, the opening paragraphs anyway:

HUSBANDS – REDEFINING MARRIAGE

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It’s a familiar tabloid story. Out of nowhere two celebs get married, and the media explodes with speculation and judgement. But what if one of them was an out-and-proud TV star and the other played for the L.A. Dodgers – the first openly gay pro baseball player?

Read it all at http://husbandstheseries.com/

EMMY AWARDS: MAJOR NETWORKS HAVE NO NOMS FOR BEST DRAMA, JUST 2 FOR BEST COMEDY

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You do remember the three major TV networks, right? I wonder if you asked most TV viewers what those were if they would know the answer? ABC, CBS, NBC, and uh FOX– garnered not one Emmy nod for Best Drama, and just two out of the seven for Best Comedy. Those 2 were only on ABC. None for the others, although Fox could claim F/X is theirs somehow. There’s a big difference between Fox and F/X. (Interesting that not even “The X Files” on Fox bore a mention.)

Read it all at http://www.showbiz411.com/2016/07/14/emmy-awards-major-networks-have-no-noms-for-best-drama-just-2-for-best-comedy

UNREAL IS BACK

The second season of UnReal is already off to a good start. Whipclip was watching with fans and caught all of the best moments.

Read it all at http://www.adweek.com/lostremote/unreal-you-cant-make-this-stuff-up/56289

DATING NAKED BECAUSE WHY NOT?

Dating Naked is probably one of the most ridiculous shows on TV, but Whipclip was there for the season premiere and knows what fans were into. Here’s what you miss when you miss VH1’s Dating Naked.

Read it all at http://www.adweek.com/lostremote/dating-naked-because-why-not/56412

Check ’em out!

The Week at TVWriter™ – April 18, 2016

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In case you’ve missed what’s happening at TVWriter™, the most popular blog posts during the week ending yesterday were:

Kelly Jo Brick: The Write Path with Manager Zadoc Angell, Part 1

What to Expect if You Move to LA

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Who is Herbie J Pilato?

Showrunners’ Guide to Effective Apologies (Hi, Jason Rothenberg!)

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

The Teleplay

The Logline

Student Central

Major thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed. re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

The Week at TVWriter™ – April 11, 2016

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In case you’ve missed what’s happening at TVWriter™, the most popular blog posts during the week ending yesterday were:

Peggy Bechko’s World: Writer Not Writing

Peggy Bechko’s World: On The First Draft

Showrunners’ Guide to Effective Apologies (Hi, Jason Rothenberg!)

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Kelly Jo Brick: Highlights from the Los Angeles BinderCon

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

The Logline

The Teleplay

THE BASICS OF TV WRITING: Overview

Major thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed. re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!