Leesa Dean: Adventures of a Web Series Newbie – Chapter 13

lelecoverhnsYou Have to be THIS Big to Ride
by Leesa Dean

So first: big news this week, the HNS cover finally went live! It really is thrilling to see your work on the cover of a magazine for the first time. The issue will be live soon and when it is, I’ll post the full article.

Been running around to a tons of meetings and workshops. Did another great workshop at YouTube with Chris Chan Roberson. It’s getting very exciting cause in about a month, I’m finally starting production on the collaborations and the workshops address using the lighting and equipment in the studios. A lot to absorb, but very very cool. Unfortunately, the workshop was the same night as Big Screen Little Screen, so couldn’t attend, but I’ll be going back next month.

Also, was interviewed on Da Flava Radio. They asked me to do a monthly Lele segment on their show. They air in Atlanta and Gambia in Africa! Pretty cool. They’re also picking up Lele’s 60 Second Wrap-Up so, starting late June it’ll officially be on three radio stations!

And then there was the Rollo meeting. The first tip-off: we met in a restaurant. Not an office. Not a network. At a tiny hipster joint in the East Village with dim lighting, cushy, low-to-the-ground chairs and tables, an old Das Racist mix on the speakers. At this point my I’m Officially Skeptical Meter was binging through the roof. But hey, this is Rollo World.

Rollo’s hookup, the guy from the network, is short with exceptionally pretentious eyeglass frames, early thirties, clears his throat a lot and orders a craft beer. I instantly dislike him. I’ll call him “Pete.”

He and Rollo schmooze like crazy, which, essentially, is like attending the world’s biggest name dropping festival. It’s awful. The first thing he says to me, ten minutes later, is, “I hope the chairs aren’t too low.”

When I was starting out, I flew out to LA for a meeting with a mid-sized production company. It was the second script I’d ever written. A pilot. I didn’t have a clue about how things worked in Hollywood and a friend of friend had made a call. I sat down in a room with the two women who ran the company and one said, “You know Leesa, the chair you’re sitting in is lower than the chairs we’re sitting in. If you’d prefer to sit in a chair that’s on OUR level, I can have my assistant bring one in.” And I said, ” You know [name redacted], I’m on a mission to sell this script. If I sell it to you, cool. If not, that’s ok, because I will sell it. So I don’t really care how high the chair I’m sitting in is, I just wanna pitch.” Call it huge cojones, call it being oblivious, either way, they offered me a deal two hours later. FYI, I wistfully refer to those few hours as “My hotshot years.”

I did not repeat that speech to Pete, mainly cause I was pretty convinced by that point he couldn’t get me a deal.  Or if he could, it certainly wasn’t the deal I wanted.  Instead, I said, “Nah. I’m cool.”

Pete goes into his spiel. [Tiny network no one’s ever heard of] is really blowing up.  He loves Chilltown and wants me to pitch it to his boss, who also has a boss (or two.)  I ask him about the network.  What other shows do they have?  What type of financing do they typically do?   He skates around and doesn’t really answer but says they have financing for shows.  He wants to set up a second meeting. Something more formal. I’m thinking, “Perhaps in a Chinese restaurant next time?”

My I’m Officially Skeptical Meter has morphed in a full-fledged Bullshit Meter and it’s really going crazy.  I already know this Pete situation is a deal that’s not going to happen–if this is step one for a network that nobody’s ever heard of, it’s just, well, a really bad idea.  But I’m also a little pissed.  I knew it was gonna be a bad.  Just didn’t think it would be this far off the mark.  I guess I felt I owed it to Rollo to at least take this meeting.  And I genuinely feel sorry for him.  I know he’s not a liar.  He’s just…desperate now, I guess.

I told Pete I’d get back to him. Rollo looked crestfallen.

Author: ChilltownTV

I'm primarily a writer. Sold a few series to tv networks and production companies but never had anything get on the air. So I taught myself how to animate and completed 3 digital series, launching two. The first, Chilltown has been named one of "Five Web Series That Should Be on Your Radar" by ABCNews/Univision and a "Show to Watch" by Tubefilter. The second, Lele's Ratchet Advice Show, garnered a fanatic cult following. As a result, I now do Lele's 60 Second Wrap Up, a weekly comedic entertainment report (which I write & perform) that airs on urban radio stations Rhythm 105.9fm and the Just Wake Up Morning Show on WWRNfm.