I’m with the Band

IWTB_PosterStatus: Development

Language: English

Rights: US – Available, International – Available

Writer: Pamela Des Barres

Producer: Gabriel Gornell

The acclaimed New York Times best selling rock & roll memoir is finally coming to the screen in this scripted feature adaptation.  As a young girl growing up in Los Angeles during the late 60s and early 70s, Pamela Des Barres (the “real life” Penny Lane from Almost Famous) followed, dated, loved, and genuinely beguiled the likes of Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, Waylon Jennings, Jimmy Page, Gram Parsons, Keith Moon, and Frank Zappa to name a few.

This is the rollercoaster biopic of her life—written by Miss Pamela herself.  This rock & roll dramedy is a humorous, loving, and intoxicating Coming-of-Age story that takes place up and down the Sunset Strip—with the soundtrack of a lifetime, appealing to every age group. In the spirit of Walk the Line, Almost Famous, and The Doors, this kiss-and-tell-all will stand out as the perfect chronicle of rock ‘n’ roll’s most thrilling era.

Of the memoir that this film is based, perhaps the Led Zeppelin front man said it best. “I couldn’t have done it better myself. I will always love you, Miss Pamela, and again a thousand apologies for the premature ejaculation.” —Robert Plant

Your art is just a product?

Originally Published to Linkedin Here:

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140617010040-15233163-your-art-is-just-a-product?trk=prof-post

 

DoIReallyHow creatively involved do you really want your business-minded producers to be?

A few weeks ago a colleague who I’ve done business with for years said something that I found shocking. I’ll refer to this colleague as Lana.
To put things in context, we’re soon to begin packaging a feature film based on a script from an interesting writer—and there are already some exciting elements attached. I’m wearing the hat of creative-producer and Lana is wearing the hat of business-producer. After a few weeks, I asked Lana if she’s read the script. Boom. I put it out there. Basically… Are you into this or not? To my dismay, Lana responded… “Nope. Have not read it. I’m not the creative producer. To me, it’s a product. I will read it soon however.”
It got me to thinking… a product?

Has Lana lost her sense of direction? Her sense of purpose? Has she forgotten why we do this for a living? Or, and even more troubling… did Lana maintain the perfect level of indifference so not to be emotionally driven in business-based decisions? After all… I’m dedicated to the creative, and perhaps Lana knows that I’ve got it covered.

Then I asked myself for the truth: As the creative producer, do I really want creative comments from Lana anyway? Or do I just want her to dig-into tax law, international compliance, and identifying the equity folks. Focus on what you’re good at Lana! I’ve got a whole circle of artists who I can discuss the creative with. Let’s be honest, Lana is not a creative person. And that’s why we love her!

Full circle. Hmmm.

Realization: Am I dwelling on this because Lana referred to the script as just “a product” to me? Holy shit. It’s my creative ego, isn’t it? How can something I’m a part of simply be “a product” in Lana’s mind? I thought we all agreed I was an artiste? Maybe this is my hang-up after all—and it has got nothing to do with whether or not Lana should or shouldn’t read the script.
So here are questions raised: How creatively involved do you really want your business-minded producers to be? And is your answer to that question driven by practicality or ego?

While nobody likes to hear that their art is just a product—Maybe that’s okay.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Mipcom, Oct 7-10—Cannes

We’re excited to be back to Mipcom with some amazing new titles in both the scripted and unscripted space.  To schedule a meeting, please email us at MIP@LocoDistro.com and we’ll respond promptly.

EDM_Poster The first new property in development from LocoDistro is the ‘First Annual EDM Awards’ slated for a Halloween 2014 live-to-tape telecast. The event looks to be a who’s who of EDM capturing both once in a lifetime performances as well as the audience experience.  Award categories and nominees to be announced June 2014.  Presentation deck available upon request.

Another property that we’re excited to bring to Mipcom is the L4e_poster_Amp_v02result of LocoDistro’s partnership with the editors of Live4ever—the preeminent source of Brit Rock music and culture.  Dubbed ‘Live4ever the series’ this is a 12 episode series that combines “Storytellers” with “Behind The Music” in a half-hour format with each episode featuring a different Brit Rock Band.  12 bands in 12 episodes representing the biggest names in Brit Rock culture.  Coinciding with BritWeek, ‘Live4ever the series’ will be shooting live to tape in Spring of 2014.  Stay tuned as bookings.  Presentation deck available upon request.

St_Seb_smallIn scripted, we’re ‘thrilled about our thriller’ and we’re excited to announce that screeners are available for the pilot episode of ‘St. Sebastians’ from director Danny DeVito.  LocoDistro will be selling St. Sebastians as an 8 x 60 horror/thriller series at Mipcom.  Screeners of the 60 Minute Pilot are available!

Coming Soon
Coming Soon

In action, you’ve seen the trailer—now read the finished script! We’re proud the share the feature-length script for the boys/action CGI epic ‘Tunnel Riders’ at Mipcom.  Stay tuned on this one cause we’ll also be announcing some exciting talent attachments for Tunnel Riders at Mipcom.  Contact us to review script!

IWTB_PosterLastly, we’re excited to share the completed script for the feature-film adaptation of New York Times Bestseller ‘I’m With The Band’ by Pamela Des Barres.  The famous ‘rock & roll memoir’ from the woman who dated the likes of Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Page, and Keith Moon comes to life in the spirit on Almost Famous, Walk The Line, and The Doors.  This is a rock & roll fantasy brought to life!

Come see us at Mipcom!  We’re accepting meetings over Coffee, Cocktails, or Karaoke.

Kenny Rogers 1st 50 Years

From Executive Producer Gabriel Gornell, Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years is a striking look back at an incomparable career that has landed Kenny Rogers in the pop and country charts every single decade for the past fifty years, a feat no other artist has matched. This multi-artist spectacular features performers that Rogers has both befriended and inspired, including Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Tim McGraw, Wynonna, Oak Ridge Boys, Sheena Easton, Alison Krauss, Billy Currington, Chris Isaak, Darius Rucker, Smokey Robinson, and the original members of the First Edition…all singing songs from Rogers’ remarkable catalogue of hits. Rogers also performs legendary classics, such as “The Gambler” and “Islands In The Stream.” From the looks of things, he’s just getting started on the next 50 years!

You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Kills You

An action packed hip hop horror from Executive Producer Spike Lee. It’s the gritty story of two New York City homicide detectives that are forced into the high-stakes world of the hip hop music business. A complex web of murder, sex, money & music unfolds as the homicide detectives track a serial killer with an appetite for some of hip hop’s biggest stars.  Language: English Rights: US – Grindstone/Lionsgate, International – Available

Little Spirit

When a friendly cabbie tells two young sisters the story of a boy named Leo who moved to Manhattan with his family, a magical adventure begins in this holiday animated adventure. While adjusting to the big city and enjoying the days leading up to Christmas, Leo accidentally loses his dog Ramona in Central Park. Leo is devastated by his loss until a magical creature named Little Spirit appears and takes him on a quest to find Ramona. Leo and Little Spirit venture out on the journey of a lifetime, taking in the festive surroundings of the city and meeting people from all walks of life. By the time Leo is reunited with Ramona, he has an eclectic group of friends that make the strange city seem like home.

Language: English & Spanish

Rights: US – Starz, International – Available

For Greater Glory

From: New Land Films Language: English

What price would you pay for freedom? In this exhilarating action epic, an impassioned group of men and women have to make the decision to risk it all for family, faith and the very future of their country, as the film’s adventure unfolds against the long- hidden, true story of the 1920’s Cristero War (1926-1929), the daring people’s revolt that rocked a 20th Century North America.

Rights: US – Arc Entertainment, Mexico – Fox,

International – LocoDistro 2011-2014

 

Cable TV: What’s watched. What’s actually produced. And Why.

Written by Gabriel Gornell

Looking at the Cable TV Ratings last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see the all the scripted content that made the list since we so often associate Cable TV with reality & unscripted programming.

It got me thinking…why does cable TV, the entertainment category that delivers the best that entertainment has to offer (think Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead, Phineas & Ferb, etc.), also delivers such crap?  Here’s is another question: Why is it that Cable TV Producers so often sit in pitch meetings with network execs who profess to know it all (from their brand to their audience) while those same networks continue to deliver primetime shows with under a 1.0 despite a reach of 100 million homes?!

The answers to these questions are not the fault of one position or department at any cable network. The answers are tied to a cyclical process of cause and effect.

Common financial wisdom says cable networks require (1) inexpensive unscripted shows with (2) loud characters that will maintain viewership despite a lack of production value in order to (3) maximize profits.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 8.39.43 PMThis is the result of downward pressure on budgets from the bean counters having more influence than the upward pressure of solid creative from the programmers. What ensues is not that different from one common result of the “Walmart Effect” at retail in which the cable networks then place the entire burden of this downward financial budget pressure on the suppliers. In this case, the immediate casualty of the financial pressure is the producers’ creative rates and fees.

Guess what happens next? No longer able to make money from the creative fees, most unscripted Cable TV Producers are then forced to treat their business like glorified rental shops—because the only place they can make money is from renting their own production or post-production equipment on the shows.

Outside of the business, most people don’t realize that things like equipment rental and post production services has largely been brought in-house by the cable TV producers because it’s the only place they can continue to charge the networks and still make some money. Not too long ago, the business of renting cameras, lighting, and grip went to rental houses—and the business of post-production services went to dedicated post houses. But no longer. Now the quality of the final master tapes that get telecast has surely been compromised because most cable TV producers simply don’t own the same high-fidelity equipment as the old-school dedicated suppliers—but nobody on the network side is complaining too loudly because they are getting away with no longer paying creative fees.

And C’mon people. Nobody is fooled by the joint efforts of the network & producers as they attempt to offset the perception of the “equipment-rental business model” by putting more up-front energy into reality talent casting. The downward pressure has created a production model of “equipment rental & casting services” versus a model rooted in creative development. And this ultimately creates what I call the “Big Mac Effect.”

The resulting unscripted television is like a Big Mac and here’s why: I love the smell of a Big Mac. And if you put a Big Mac in front of me, you can be damn sure I’m going to eat it. And let’s face it—during the moment of eating—a Big Mac delicious. But given a few minutes to think about it… They’re not good for me, they’re not as inexpensive as I thought, and I usually don’t feel that good after I eat it. I’m not snobby enough to deny that Big Macs near me don’t get eaten. But if you ask me what I want for dinner, my first choice is Italian or Steak—not Big Macs. The same goes for most unscripted cable television.

Over a short period of time, much of the unscripted Cable TV landscape has become filled with “Rental House & Casting Agent” production companies that sling Big Macs versus quality programming. Oddly, I’m now in the mood for a Big Mac. And sharing this craving is likely counter-productive to the point I’m trying to make!

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 8.28.41 PMA Cable TV Proucer’s business-model that’s rooted “equipment rental” and who’s sales force is focused only on “casting” will eventually compromise the actual creative—which is why we’re here to begin with. This is the unfortunate truth for the cable networks that created this cycle to begin with. And this idealist believes that soon the audiences with migrate back to quality.

QUESTION:
Last week on Cable TV—what percentage of viewers do you think watched scripted versus unscripted programming?

SURPRISING ANSWER:
73% of all Cable TV viewers watched scripted programming while only 27% watched unscripted programming. So the migration towards quality seems to already be happening. Check out the infographic below.

To figure this out I looked at the ratings of the top 40 shows on cable TV last week, and then analyzed them against a few different cumulative measures. Again, check out the Infographic. Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 8.31.17 PM

The really interesting thing is that unscripted shows (reality, etc.) aren’t that cheap to produce when you consider the cumulative production dollars that networks collectively spend to make many more shows that ultimately attract fewer viewers than cable TV’s scripted programming. What’s also amazing is the ratings success of categories like sports entertainment in which there is just one player—WWE.

What is sports entertainment you ask? It’s event-based scripted sports-theater with zero competition since we lost the WCW and XFL, both after 2001. Remember the XFL? Amazingly, the first game of the one-season XFL had over 14 Million viewers on NBC before quickly being considered a failure. 14 Million viewers is a failure? My times have changed.

During the same week ending on 11/25/2012 I then looked at the primetime schedules of the top 85 cable networks, and analyzed their programming hours against the same cumulative measures that I looked at for ratings. I did this to see if scripted programming was simply programmed more than I thought in order to have this 73% market share over unscripted programming. It’s not. Wow!

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 8.35.27 PMHere’s the net net
66% of the total unscripted programming hours on cable TV are arguably only getting 27% of the audience.  Did we learn nothing from broadcaster NBC’s misstep in moving Jay Leno to 10pm simply cause it’s cheaper than producing scripted dramas?

Now take a look at the Purple and Blue bar-chart above. Any category where Purple is higher than Blue is possibly a programming opportunity. Anything where blue is higher than purple is arguably saturated. Interestingly, sports is the only cable TV entertainment category that seems even close to its sweet spot of programming hours versus actual ratings. For the record and for the purpose of this blog—we classified sports as unscripted programming.

The cycle needs to break and the programming challenge needs to shift from (a) finding the loudest reality star in order to command a bigger piece of the pie, to (b) developing excellent creative programming in order to create a bigger pie.  Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 8.37.33 PM

Ending this article on a positive note—kudos to AMC, USA, Nick, TBS, Disney, TNT, Cartoon Network, Hub, FX, HBO, Showtime, TV Land, We, Lifetime, Hallmark and a few others (from a long list of 75 cable TV networks) for concentrating on creative quality instead of Big Macs.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 8.41.00 PM

Written by Gabriel Gornell