How To Get Your Own TV Series

Ahhhhhh, wouldn’t you like to know (insert evil laugh here) With the proliferation of TV shows out there-propelled no doubt by the presence and growth of different streaming networks-and the need for content that is quickly consumed, it should be easy to land a TV series in this day and age.

So I will give you the answer on how to land your own TV series deal. As you may or may not know, Chasing The George is about the journey I’m on to create and carve out the career that I see and want for myself. And along the way, I share my advice, my wins, my losses which become lessons, etc…so that you can be inspired in the pursuit of your own dreams. It’s important to share my journey so that people can see that there is no such thing as an overnight success. That it takes a sustained effort.

So the answer to landing a TV series deal with Netflix or HBO or Showtime is……..I don’t know! NOW HERE’S WHERE YOU WILL PROBABLY STOP READING. Please don’t. This is a process. This is a journey. If you decide to keep reading, you will see what I’ve been doing to get my newest series picked up.

I’ve been down this road before with another TV series I created a few years ago. With that series, I had a literary agent. I had producers attached. I pitched my series to CBS, Showtime, Youtube, Logo and HERE! My series was pitched and submitted to different production companies. I independently shot the pilot episode and submitted to film festivals.

With my new TV series, this is what I’ve done so far. Hopefully this helps or inspires you. The idea first came to me in 2015 and I wrote a rough pilot for it. It wasn’t until the fall of 2018 that I decided to pick it up again and devote my energy to it. And since then, this is what I have done to arm myself with tools and resources.

**I studied many half-hour shows on Netflix (the pilot episodes only) to get a sense of the style and tone of each show to see what resonated with the style and tone of my new series. Also, I studied when the main character was introduced, when the other characters were introduced and how quickly the problem for the main character was introduced.

**I rewrote the pilot episode of my series based upon the information I received above.

**I created a spreadsheet that lays out the first eight episodes of season one (I decided that 8 would be my magic number for season one) The spreadsheet lays out important information from the characters to episode titles, etc. In this way, the buyer can get a clear map and picture about the possibilities of season one.

**I wrote the second and third episodes of my series. Again, in this way, the buyer can get a sense of my writing style and also see where the series is going.

**I’ve brought in scenes from all the episodes to read out loud in class to see what works, what flows, what doesn’t make sense, etc. Then, I applied the notes I received and brought the scenes back to class.

**I wrote the TV bible for my series.

**I wrote my pitch. And the biggest part of my pitch was articulating WHY I am telling this story and WHY I’m the only person who can tell this story. The next step is for me to start practicing it out loud to see how it flows, to see if I’m engaged and interested, to see if people get the story, etc. And how I came about writing my pitch was through doing research. There are many different ways to pitch and I made my life sane by choosing one approach that I really liked and sticking with it. If I went down the rabbit hole of looking at the many ways to pitch, I would have driven myself insane. I decided to model my pitch after the way Gloria Calderón Kellett does it (she has a video on Youtube where she breaks down how she likes to pitch her TV shows)

**I’ve met with one my mentors-who is in the industry-for advice and homework. And boy, did he give me a lot of exciting homework each time we met. The homework was designed to not only help me hone in on my voice as a writer, but to hone in on literary managers who will most likely be more receptive to repping me as a writer. Also, he guided me to utilize my relationship map for connections and possibilities. And no, I will not tell you who my mentor is LOL.

**I’ve recently met with a big TV producer (thanks to someone on my relationship map creating an intro for us) to ask questions about their professional journey and to start building a relationship with them. My mentor above encouraged me to ask the producer if I can do “takes”. I asked the producer and they were open to it! And no, I will not tell you who this producer is LOL.

**I’ve recently connected with a TV writer (thanks to someone on my relationship map creating an intro for us) so that I can ask them questions about their professional journey and to start building a relationship with them. And no, I will not tell you who this writer is LOL.

**I need to start reaching out to literary managers from the homework I did. Relationship map? Query letters?

**I will keep listening to the people I admire and respect on social media. Engage in genuine ways. Ask questions. Let them see that I am about it. One of the things on my to do list is to read this thread that a working writer posted where they honestly answered questions they received about submitting scripts to selling them to attaching directors and producers to a project, etc. In this way, I can see a different point of view.

Okay, I’m going to stop here. There are other things I have done this year and there are many other things I still have to do. Thinking inside the box and outside of the box. Tackling from all angles because there is no one way or answer. I think you get the point though.

Maybe this helps you. Maybe it doesn’t. If you have other ideas, please let me know in the comments below. What good moves have been effective for you in getting your series out there? Do I need to rent a plane and spell out a message over Hollywood?

Have a good week!

That First Moment When…

Hello artists! How the heck are you?!?! Wow! It’s been a MINUTE since I last posted a blog entry! My focus over the last few weeks has been on putting the finishing touches on the pitch package I’ve been building for the new TV series I created and developed.

I hope your summer 2019 has been filled with exciting artistic possibilities and opportunities!

As consumed as I have been with my new TV series, I had a moment one day that reminded me of why I entered the entertainment business in the first place: I was a little kid when I first watched Christopher Reeve play the role of Superman. Christopher Reeve played the role of Superman in the 1978 movie.

It was several years later that I would watch this film for the first time…and it changed my life forever. I KNEW right then and there that I wanted to save the planet with my super powers. Every time I watched this version of Superman as a kid, I would tie my baby blanket (which I still have) around my neck and “fly” around my room…visiting places on Earth and beyond…and fighting any bad guys in the process.

I knew that I wanted to be Superman. I wanted to be on screen and fly and save and protect and be a hero. I knew that I didn’t want to be a normal person. I didn’t want to be an anonymous entity. I didn’t want to be ordinary. I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I wanted to be someone. I wanted to stand out. I wanted to be a star. I wanted to fly. Superman represented what I wanted to be and so I started my journey of being an actor…an artist…an entertainer. Superman made a difference in his world………….and I wanted to do the same in mine.

Superman was the moment I knew I wanted to be an artist.

What was THAT MOMENT WHEN YOU KNEW you wanted to be an artist?

I’d love to read your answers in the comments section!!!

See you soon!

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Spending My Summer With Ryan Murphy et al

Hello gang! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.

On June 15th, I met with a mentor of mine for coffee in the Hollywood Hills. As countless luxury cars pulled in and out of the parking lot, I told him that I needed some help and direction in the TV literary world. He’s a literary manager and also a fellow Vassar graduate. I’ve known him (and his wife) for several years now. I’ve been to a few events they’ve hosted from Christmas gift-wrapping parties for needy families to casserole parties to a writers retreat at the Sturtevant Camp in Sierra Madre, CA.

I told him that I needed to navigate the TV literary world with more focus and clarity because I was a little bit all over the place. I also asked him about how to obtain a literary manager. We spoke for a while and he gave me a lot of homework to execute that would help me get more focused in this area, more focused on which literary managers would be best for my writing voice and to discover opportunities for minority writers such as myself.

After taking pages of notes, I was excited to tackle the homework he gave me. One of the homework assignments was to identify 25 TV shows/movies that I would have killed to work on as a writer. He told me to create a spreadsheet and to include different columns of information for this homework assignment.

Side note: At the time of our meeting, I could only identify two TV shows that I would have killed to work on as a writer LOL.

After our meeting, I immediately got to work. I started watching lots of TV shows and movies to find my voice in them. Does this TV show or movie sound like my voice? Does this TV show or movie sound like what I’m interested in writing? I would watch at least two episodes of each TV show to see if I would add it to the list or not. I typed in specific genres that I was interested in. I looked at recommendations from Netflix, Hulu and IMDB (i.e. if you liked “Black Mirror”, then check out….) Next thing I knew, my list of shows started to grow.

When my list grew to 15 shows, I hit a wall. I was like, “There is no way I’m going to find 25 TV shows/movies.” I emailed my mentor and asked, “Is 25 a hard number? Or can I have less than that?” I asked him this question knowing fully well what his answer would be. I knew that 25 was a hard number. And that he gave me 25 TV shows/movies to push myself, to explore and to think outside of the box. He emailed me back and he confirmed everything I already knew. So, I recommitted to hitting the magic number of 25. And I’m glad I did because I didn’t want to take any shortcuts. I wanted to fully comply.

On July 27th, I hit the magic number! When I found my 25th show, I cheered! I was so happy and ecstatic. It took me almost a month and a half, but I got to spend my summer with Ryan Murphy, Ava DuVernay, Steven Canals, Tanya Saracho, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Ryan O’Connell and so many other amazing creators!

I discovered/reconfirmed a few things in this assignment:

*I am interested in the following areas for TV: urban dramedies; stand alone sci-fi episodes; comedies where the lead character is truly an outcast.

*My writing heart resonates with half hour TV shows.

*When it came to identifying movies, urban dramas made the list. Although, I also love comedic apocalyptic films like Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End (both written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg)

*ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! When I saw the amount of creativity in each show, the storylines, the kind of different/dynamic leading characters, etc., I realized that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! There is an audience out there for any show and storyline. There is no way that my own TV series can’t be picked up. All of the shows I watched (whether they made the list or not) reconfirmed that my series has a place on TV. No one can ever tell me that there isn’t an audience for my work after seeing all of the TV shows and movies I’ve seen.

So, ladies and gentleman, here are the 25 TV shows and movies that I would have killed to work on as a writer because they resonate with my writing voice. In no particular order:

  1. Pose
  2. Black Mirror
  3. Pen15
  4. Room 104
  5. Electric Dreams
  6. Weird City
  7. The Twilight Zone (the reboot)
  8. Special
  9. Bonding
  10. Shrill
  11. Difficult People
  12. Schitt’s Creek
  13. Ramy
  14. Barry
  15. Atlanta
  16. Fleabag
  17. Vida
  18. When They See Us
  19. Tales of the City (the reboot)
  20. Looking
  21. Moonlight
  22. Gun Hill Road
  23. Quinceanera
  24. Roxanne, Roxanne
  25. Culture Shock (part of the Into The Dark series on Hulu)

Happy Anniversary!

On July 10th, 2015, I launched my weekly blog, Chasing The George! Happy 4th Anniversary! Wow, what a journey it has been! And I feel like my intention and mission has always remained the same:

Hey everyone! I created this weekly blog on July 10th, 2015 upon the recommendation of one of my mentors, Richard Lawson. I am a working professional actor and writer who works hard and understands the concept of what it means to have a career. So he advised me to create a blog where I would share my advice, my journey, my stories and interests with other artists. A “Hollywood 101” if you will that reveals and shares the sustained effort, work and fun it takes to have a career in this industry.

“Chasing The George” is a play on the phrase “Chasing The Ambulance”. When an ambulance is in emergency mode, they cut through traffic with intention. Nothing gets in their way. Some people will illegally chase after that ambulance because they too can get to their destination faster. While I don’t condone illegal activity, I do love the concept of chasing a career with that same intention and focus. I am the ambulance. Chasing The George is a reflection of my intention and focus to carve out the career I want in Hollywood.

I hope that my advice, my personal stories, my enthusiasm and my sometimes funny and direct approach will inspire you to carve out your own fabulous and exciting career in Hollywood.

So pull up a seat and welcome to Chasing The George.

Thank you to everyone worldwide who has read my blog and who continues to read my blog. I love and appreciate your support!

There are so many more exciting things coming up! I am a working artist who is living the life of a working artist. My wins continue to expand and grow every year. My journey continues to expand and grow every year. My knowledge continues to expand and grow every year. I love being an artist and I will continue being an artist.

Below the picture, I wanted to re-share some of the blog posts from 2019.

Happy 4th Anniversary with fireworks and star

Is This Thing On?????? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fk

Are You A Pain In The Ass? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fq

Part 2: Are You A Pain In The Ass? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fs

Another Day, Another Pilot Written: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FD

How To Break Up With Your Agent: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FI

Table Read Adventures: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FP

How I Booked A National Commercial By Crying: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FT

How I Did 30 Auditions In 30 Days: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FW

Where You At?! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-G1

Celebrate! Then Keep It Moving! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-G6

Celebrate! Then Keep It Moving!

Celebration is a vital part of the journey. Celebration marks the journey. Celebration acknowledges the work you’ve done to achieve a win, a moment, a milestone.

I had a wonderful, blessed past week of artistic wins. I was able to share them with everyone in my universe and beyond. I was able to enjoy the inflow that resulted from my outflow. And I was grateful to understand that my wins are a collective. My wins are connected to my friends, peers, colleagues, teachers, classmates, etc. who have helped me get to where I am today.

I want to recap my wins for the past seven days below and how I celebrated. And now that I have celebrated, it is time to move forward with the next step of career administration. I have celebrated, and now it is time to get back in and administrate the next steps for my career.

Here are my wins from the past week and also my celebration of those wins:

**The Doppelganger, a film I wrote, executive produced and co-starred in will play at the AMC Theater this July in Manhattan as part of the Dominican International Film Festival. More film festivals to come!

**A feature film that I am in, Zombie TV, has finally received DISTRIBUTION! It’s a spoof on zombies and reality television. 8 contestants are locked in a house with zombies. The sole survivor at the end of the night wins one million dollars. Does my character win????? Stay tuned!

**I submitted a self-tape monologue to Twinkie Byrd’s Flip The Script monologue competition. The competition was in conjunction with NBC. Out of the 1,200 submissions received, she sent 64 auditions over to NBC. I was one of the 64!

**I was on the set of the SAG web series, The Rejects, playing the role of Kenny. So much fun!

**I had two commercial auditions!

**I had a wonderful meeting with a fellow Vassar graduate about the literary agent world and they gave me so much homework to do!

**I am finishing up my tweaks on the three episodes, the series bible and the season one chart for me new TV series.

I am an artistic warrior!

And here is how I celebrated:

I bought Madonna’s new album, Madame X, on vinyl. (By the way, fun fact: Madonna earned a #1 album with Madame X on the Billboard 200 albums chart and a #1 song, Medellin, on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart today. She extends her record as the artist with the most #1’s at every Billboard chart combined, with 163 number ones!!!!!!!!!!)

Here’s a video montage of my wins from the past week:

 

And here is how I celebrated:

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Where You At?!

Hey artistic warriors! How the hell are ya?! I’ve been gone for a few weeks and I’ve missed you all so much. So, where you at?! We are halfway through the year (can you EFFING believe it?!?! “She’s a woman!” Thank you Miz Cracker)

That being said, I thought this was a good time to check in and assess the artistic journey so far. What goals have you accomplished that you set for yourself back in January? What goals did you set for yourself back in January that you flinched on? “Flinch” meaning to pull back, back away, shy away, draw back. What goals started off with a bang, but for this reason and that, they/you lost steam and momentum?

What have you accomplished and celebrated? Do you have a list of your wins since January 1st and have you been celebrating along the way? I have five recent wins that I need to celebrate. I’m telling you this so that I am held accountable as well (To celebrate, I really want to buy a record player and some Madonna albums in LP form released from the year 2000 and beyond: Music, American Life, Confessions on a Dance Floor, Hard Candy, MDNA, Rebel Heart, and of course, the new album coming out on June 14th, Madame X…shameless plug and devotion to the Queen of Everything)

So, where you at my fellow artistic warriors?! Let me know in the comments section below.

For me, on the actor side, I need to schedule a new commercial headshot session. I’ve already picked out my wardrobe and will take pictures of myself in them and send to my agent for feedback. Once I solidify the looks, I will book a headshot session. For me, on the actor side, I need to buy a white ascot for a SAG web series pilot shoot that’s coming up. I had an impulse that my character would wear that. I shared my idea with the creator and they loved it. Also, looking at what scene to do in class from my new casting list. And more things to do…

For me, on the writer side, my focus has been on my new half-hour TV series. So far, I have 1) Three episodes written; 2) I have created a spreadsheet for season one that contains the main characters, their A&B storylines, the episode titles and descriptions, etc.; 3) I’ve written a series bible. My goal is to finish all tweaks by the end of June 2019. For me on the writer side, I want to utilize my relationship map for help and guidance. I’ve already begun reaching out to people (Two of whom I flinched on reaching out to for a while and they offered to meet with me!) For me, as a writer, I want to submit the pilot episode to various writing competitions. For me, as a writer, I want to secure literary representation and pitch meetings.

For me, on the writer side, I will continue submitting my film, The Doppelganger, to more film festivals. Good news coming soon in this area. Stay tuned.

For me, on the 360 degrees of my career, I just joined an amazing career administration group that will kick my ass and hold me accountable. I already shared my enthusiasm with the leader of the group and that I’m coming into this group not knowing anything (meaning that I’m willing to listen and learn…that I don’t have to know everything. It’s actually freeing to know that I don’t have to have all the answers. Ask the next question. Then ask the next question.)

For me, on the 360 degrees of my career, making sure I make noise in order to be considered. To show up more in the rooms I am in. To demand of myself that I be considered. To be uncomfortable. To look at where my energy is going because where I place my energy defines me. Thank you Keili Lefkovitz for this paragraph of advice.

Part of my artistic journey, which I call Chasing The George, is that I’m not perfect. That I make mistakes, but I learn from them. That I don’t know everything and that’s okay. That I don’t know everything, but what I DO know, I know it fucking WELL.

So, where you at my fellow artistic warriors?! Let me know in the comments section below.

How I Did 30 Auditions In 30 Days!

On April 4th, 2019, my teacher, Richard Lawson, gave my entire scene study class an assignment to do 30 self-tape auditions in 30 days. He gave us this assignment to keep our auditioning skills sharp. Richard says that actors should practice auditioning every week and not wait until you get an audition to practice. In addition to shooting 30 self-tape auditions in 30 days, he also wanted us to submit the auditions to him every day. He had a fellow student keep track of the audition submissions on a Google spreadsheet to see who was complying with the assignment and who was not.

Once he gave us the assignment, I immediately knew how I wanted to tackle it and set myself up for success. I approached the assignment as if I were a producer setting the production schedule for a film. I looked over the next 30 days and saw them as shoot dates.

Starting with day one, I already had my sides chosen. And on that same day, I logged onto Showfax to start finding sides that I could then distribute over the course of the next 29 days. While looking for sides, I knew that I wanted to focus on my first circle of casting (those characters I can play right now) because if I put my energy into those characters, then that’s what I’ll pull in from the industry.

As I accumulated my sides, I arranged them in terms of which date I wanted to tackle them. I knew that I wanted to have a combination of prepared auditions and cold read auditions (leaning more towards prepared auditions then cold reads) So, I scheduled the prepared auditions further down the week and then decided which date I would start working on them prior to shooting them.

I also cast the people who would be readers in my auditions. I knew that I wanted so and so on this day and so and so on that day. And in turn, I helped some of them with their auditions as well. I also had readers on standby if my first choice had to reschedule for whatever reason.

I also thought ahead in terms of wardrobe for each character I was auditioning for.

So, with this system set in place, I could see the entire 30 days. It became less daunting and more doable. I was at cause. I was in the driver’s seat. I planned ahead and saw everything from beginning to end. I was able to successfully shoot a self-tape audition every single day. I never fell behind. I never flinched from doing them. It was one successful audition after another. And by successful, I mean getting them done, executing them on time, making choices, being off book (unless it was a cold read), etc.

Tackling these auditions like a producer helped me to maintain my sanity.

I even posted a still image from each audition every day on Instagram and Twitter to document the journey. About two weeks into the journey, I also started posting still images on Facebook–starting with the still from the first audition.

When I emailed Richard the link to my 30th audition on May 4th (May the fucking fourth be with you!), I threw my fists in the air and cheered! I felt so good! I felt so accomplished! I felt like an artistic warrior (I am an artistic warrior!) And the most important lesson for me about this assignment was that IT WAS FOR ME. I wasn’t doing these auditions for Richard (that was not the point of the assignment) I was doing it for ME. To stay ready and sharp when it comes to auditioning.

I really don’t think that many people get the enormity of this achievement. This assignment was an event. This assignment was unique and it stood out. This assignment was challenging. To execute 30 self-tape auditions in 30 days was no small feat. It takes a lot of courage, tenacity, energy and excitement to tackle and finish an assignment like this–in addition to all of the other things going on in my life both professionally and personally. I remember being on set for the national commercial I booked right in the middle of this assignment and I was working on my audition sides at 2:30am on set!

Thank you to the following people for being my awesome readers over the last 30 days:

Chris Beber, Maia Modeste, Sayaka Miyatani, Jayne Marin, Angie Padilla, Emily James, Jessica Sade Ward. xoxo