This is a very interesting segment on the Santa Monica NPR station, KCRW, for their show The Business with Kim Masters, who's an excellent long-time reporter and book author on Hollywood. In this interview, she talks with comedian Rob Schneider who has a new TV series he's trying to sell, Real Rob. But there's something unique about how he's doing it.
First of all, rather than just pitch the idea, or shoot a pilot -- Schneider made all eight episodes. They're completed.
Second, the shows aren't 22-minute episodes for a half-hour timeslot. These are about 45 minutes each, that work out to an hour slot. ("Why can't a comedy be an hour?" he asks. "As long as it's funny.")
And third -- he largely broke the cardinal rule of show biz: Never use Your Own Money. Though he did get some investment, much of this has been done with his own money. It certainly was a far-bigger risk, but it meant he had full creative control. (He directed all the shows and co-wrote them with his wife, who plays his wife in the series.) So, he's trying to find a distribution outlet.
Interestingly, by virtue of having the entire series shot, it's made it much easier to sell overseas, and so he already has commitments there, meaning some of the money is already scheduled to be coming in.
His model on this is Louis C.K and John Cleese with Fawfty Towers (all the more apt since Cleese wrote and co-starred in the show with his then-wife, Connie Booth).
I liked Schneider's answer when asked why he didn't do this as a Kickstarter project and get money there from his fans. "My fans have already paid for this," he says, explaining that he means the money he's made during his career and is therefore lucky enough to try something like like that.
Unfortunately, I can't embed the broadcast. To listen to the 12-minute segment, click here. Then look on the right side of the "Real Rob" black banner, and click on the white right-arrow sitting on a light blue background.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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