UnGuides:Being an American Television Producer
“I'm scared of Americans.”
- – Noël Coward on American television
A brutal fact of life is that we all want to be producers of something. It allows us to be in the background when people play the blame game in the foreground when the kudos come a callin'. This guide tells you how to articulate your "talent" and use this guide to Being an American Television Producer.
You'll get to be the coolest person on the planet. However, the profession has become increasingly complex as those Ivy League writers seek to downplay your "ideas" (evil schemes) and brutal moneymaking plans that you have. Your only weapon is a mobile phone and the largest say on how the cash is spent. Some of your time will go towards wooing investors and verbally annihilating your studio acolytes.
Getting in character
The most important thing is to get your look down, as the amount of pusillanimous fat arses that will come to your desk means you will have to make an impression. Remember no matter what that you're the balls - and no motherfucker should get in the way of that. Think of God when he split the seas for Moses and his posse - that’s you, God, kicking ass for the Red Sea pedestrians.
Dress smartly and expensively, but not in a faggoty British way. Also, put on a little weight to fill out your suits. A well-fed pig is one with rashes of ripe opportunity as is said in the business. That extra weight will also make a bigger impact on video phones as you dish out "advice" (abuse) on how to complete projects or announce the sending of yet more hideous advertising stooges for the leading actors to prostitute themselves for money.
Your taste and intelligence will always be judged. Remember, you have nothing on these arsehole Brit "intellectuals" who have flooded the country. They'll replace you if you are not careful; these pesky Brits can hold an argument with you even though they're all washed up geopolitically and they retain their sneering pride.
When you got into this you thought it was about television. It isn't; it’s about advertising. You are not here to serve a higher good, you are here to market a product - so you effectively use the creative talent of others to sell it, not the other way around. Think of this part as being like your earlier jobs when you used to do vicious telemarketing scams, or that time when you used to go door-to-door selling cosmetics as a transvestite.
Always work on popular projects. These are always ones that initially start good, but dwindle into advertising and "Time Travel" plots; this is ideal for you. A good example by an anonymous executive in 2008 is the kind of platform you should think of:
|“||Boston Legal would work well as a spin-off using archive footage of William Shatner as Kirk and the legal sitcom of the 21st century - a classy idea that will attract attention to both franchises simultaneously. The ethos of sell, sell, sell is a good one and should be the rule which producers and executives live by.||”|
You will have a number of competitors, and these producers are a number beyond reckoning who will compete on ideas and provide a staunch challenge to your authority. They will either be "cold and ruthless" or "ruthless and Jewish". This goes for the executives who will seek to undermine your efforts and try to cut the funding you unscrupulously managed to get hold of.
The programmes you produce could be varied as could the title which you appoint yourself. Executive Producer will put you in the firing line - however you get to be like the other execs and do even less (other than claim a huge amount of credit as the underlings get killed via stunts or drug abuse).
A key thing to remember is that novelty value will always gradually alienate, but as it does people will buy into the ailing franchise more to keep it from being a detached part of their lives. The first seasons of a show, no matter how fantastic the setting, will always have characters that audiences identify with. This always has to go in exchange for more profitable storylines to avoid having the show become financially obsolete. You want deeper market penetration and the main aim of television is to get to as many people as possible.
Sorting out "Arty Types"
The sad fact is that some will frequently come up with ideas long after the first season is over...what, pray tell, can be done with these high brow arses? It’s important to always drum in the conflict of profit vs. even more profit.
A major issue is the harsh reality of those genius sorts who seem to work ahead of their time. They bring little, if any, immediate returns. This is a key factor in the business, and despite the critical accolades they attain they must be capped as much as possible. You'll lose out in the long run with these faggots, as ego will eventually wreak their talents and spiral out of control.
The reality is that no series can go on indefinitely. Sometimes as the whole thing goes nova there will be opportunities; often feature length episodes or spinoffs accrue a great deal of money and broaden interest for future franchises. It’s a boon for some shows, as it draws audiences back in long after the interest has died off leaving a hardcore nerd fan base.
“Your role is not to encourage creativity, but to barge in on these Ivy League fast food junkies and yellow toothed Brits and make a fuss... always be the last to leave, even if you've been irrational.”
As stated before: 'Don't create programmes that connect with audiences, or if you do, wean this out of them as they progress'. A step toward ensuing this happens is to refer your cast to adverting firms, "Because they're worth it."
The major bonus of having all the stars grouped in like this is that as viewers watch the shows, they will aspire to be like them. Then the products will effectively embed themselves in the icons on-screen - cheap ads which corporations will pay for - and recognize you for being so effective at your job.
This method of control means that as the seasons progress, you’ll have a great time watching as the main characters become advertisings in themselves. One good example is Lost, where Jack's absence of crow’s feet proves that not only does being an Ivy League Major on a tropical island make him better than you, but also that his skin creams have gotten him to such a stratospheric level of success which the viewer should strive to attain.
Dealing with Cocaine
You will fall into this trap. Don't worry, all the greats have. Plus you can play out a rockstar persona with groupies. A major issue is that you'll start to be hated, not so much for your excesses but your general unpleasantness towards your fellow human beings. This is a downside and it will have far reaching repercussions involving the cast and crew who will despise you.
As you start to work a bit like your favourite drug dealer there can be a benefits to this unique viewpoint. Remember profit and supply and demand are all good business practices. Sex sells as does mediocre storylines that appeal to your fellow Americans who will pay the most.
No matter your success, you will always be producing material that someone else has done before; your challenge then is to do the same thing again, but better over and over again. This is what you need to be scouting for. Your career depends on your ability to get the right kinds of originality and pastiche to make a good series. A good ratio is a quotient of 5% original material and 95% rehash. Television audiences, no matter the budget, do not like to be surprised.
3/4 season blues
Everyone is going to feel that they have sold out not only their careers but also their souls at this point. That hot actress who threatened to barf all over you at the beginning is eyeing up your powder and possible further scripts. Being a cokehead is not so bad after all.
Of course. like Marcello at the end of La Dolce Vita, you'll have a serious problem as the orgies spiral out of control. Remember that staying in the same mix for a time gives rise to odd fascist/conservative views which spill over onto the shows, or personal debauchery in the public eye.
Around this time, you will need to open her out a little. Rev up for more hyperbolic rants to the underlings; they deserve this unqualified cruelty from you. This is how you will override the dissent. It's also the time when you will end up on other projects and this is when things can get difficult. As you spend more and more time with these hippies you will start you develop an affinity. Some humanity might creep though the grotesque armour that you have encased yourself in.
Coping with Strikes
|“||The writers' strike of 2008 showed that execs and producers lay under a new spectre: the spectre of fat-ass writers hungry for more cash and fast food.||”|
The yardstick of wages can backfire; some grad students living in LA garbage gazebos might start to fight back on the meager salary you have allocated them. The writers’ strike in 2008 told us all what these long haired dweebs were about. Remember that if they're not writing you'll need to hire from the distinctly "working class" east coast, which is also filled with Jews - infested even.
Lying to avert strikes then sorting it out through lawyers is an advised option. Remember that the last thing you need is writers who don't write. Writers are pretty invaluable as they actually create the worlds which the advertisers can inhabit; however, they are the most difficult group to deal with as the talentless actors will be lost. Sadly, the writers are aware of this and without their masterful prose and existential insights in the repetitive storylines of House MD, your shows will end up defunct.
Also bear in mind that the actors will actively support strikes just to get back at you, especially the actresses that performed oral sex on you to get their parts. This can turn out to be a nasty mix of personal life spilling over into your professional life as a “playa”. These wash outs will rebel against you and side with the dweeb writers. A chilling thought. Thankfully there’s always other projects which you can produce on other networks. You might even consider going to Canada. However this lot are difficult, what with 'cabin fever' and such. Still, it’s a place to hide out whilst the animosity and mutual contempt die down.
- Don't worry if you are not American, just try to act less intelligent and focus into middle distance.
- Only if you are successful.
- It is something that will make you sick, but their talent is vital to your production as they'll do just about anything to avoid going back their craphole Island.
- Ideally, franchises like Star Trek, or something with an acceptable level of novelty, such as re-imaginings (Battlestar Galactica) or strange dichotomies and scenarios (Lost, Ugly Betty)
- Most consumers struggle to have an IQ over 100, so bear that in mind when making your shows.
- This is often the case as the shows become too random/inconsistent and commercial.
- Particularly if these nancy boys are heroic and the actresses sexually attractive.
- Jewish sorts are a real mine field for any producers, plus the Jews on the east coast are the bitter ones that were purged from the studios when Sony took over.
- Which is soon to be merged with Scrubs for a new super franchise.
- Not as chilling as the idea that there are twice as many feet as there are people.
- Producing Television - "The Hard Stiffy of Truth", David Niven, 2000, Prostate Publishing
- Working with Drama Queens, Tony Visconti, 1999, Fannybaws Publishing