Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pitching Hopjockey: Part 2

So it's been a couple of months since I mentioned what's happening with Hopjockey. The last update -- which you can catch up on here -- had us waiting to hear back from the genre network. We finally heard back, and it was a pass. According to the Agent, the Exec we pitched thought there really was something special about the show ... but (and there's always a but) they already had a competing project in development that targets a similar audience. Ah, well.
[Quick note: I still can't disclose who exactly is involved. But the major players on our team are the Heavy (Emmy-award-winning producer) and the Agent (the Heavy's representation). They're how we're getting the meetings.]

Still looking for a home.

So, yeah, that was a let down. But we shouldn't be discouraged, the Agent assured us. Because we had another pitch coming up, at the strangest of places: An animation network. A channel that specializes entirely in cartoons -- a "cartoon network," one might say. All right, another pitch! Though we weren't exactly sure how our show would fit in there. Our show is a live action one-hour. But a pitch is a pitch, and we wouldn't even be getting a meeting if the project wasn't a potential fit. And the show would work animated ...

Now, I'll be honest. I didn't expect anything to come of this. I've watched the network in question -- some of my favorite shows air on it -- and there's really nothing like Hopjockey in their lineup. I didn't see how it could fit, but maybe they would. Then, the day before we pitched, the Agent filled us in. The animation network is looking to produce some live-action shows, to bridge the gap between age demographics between their daytime and nighttime programming. And our show fits right into the niche they're looking to fill.

The pitch itself went pretty damn well. The humor was there, and the ease of interplay between us and the execs. Maybe it was that the guys we were pitching spoke sci-fi and instinctively understood what we were pitching -- I was able to use terms like dimensional rift and Cthulhuian without explaining them. Maybe it was that I still really didn't expect anything, so I was more relaxed than usual (the lack of an earthquake helped). But about halfway through the presentation, when they started asking us questions you don't ask unless you're interested, I started to think "hang on, this might just catch."

They asked what the toys were the hopjockeys got to play with, the equivalent of the Ghostbusters' proton packs. Potential merchandising? They asked whether the show could work in a high school setting instead of college. Yes, of course. It would fit perfectly into an Exeter-like private school. "I see," they said, "like a sci-fi Harry Potter?" "Of course," we answered, "what an astute and clever observation. You are by far the most knowledgable and -- dare I say it -- sexiest executives we've ever met."

So it went well. Better than the big network pitch, and definitely better than I expected. And so we sat back to play the Waiting Game, whish is played in two- to four-week intervals, the shortest measures of time Hollywood uses. Sure enough, two weeks after the pitch, we heard from the Agent. The Exec we'd pitched had read my sample piece -- the pilot for Fred, Prince of Darkness -- and wanted to read a longer one. So the agent sent him Pwned. As he put it, "Seems like [the network] is interested and still vetting the writing first."

So where is Hopjockey right now? Pretty much exactly where I left you last time -- waiting to hear back from the network, while said network considers my writing. It's the strangest feeling knowing you're being evaluated on something you completed months ago. Like being quizzed when you're not in the room. Or auditioning in a sensory deprivation chamber. I don't care for it much. I keep second-guessing myself, wondering if the samples are strong enough. And they were both strong enough to get optioned, so that bodes well. And at least they're reading them. And it's also been about two weeks since we last heard from the Agent, so maybe will be coming soon.


Brie said...

Holy cow!
We're waiting on pins and needles to hear what's next!


You're a superstar. It's only a matter of time until the rest of the world acknowledges it. Until then, at least we will. And we'll find a way to mock you for it besides. =D To the waiting game......