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Agents and Pitch Advice?

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by mupcollector1, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    I was wondering if anyone here knew or tried to get TV or movie pitches and scripts out to agencies? I've sent lots of quarry letters and getting no response and I write them in the formal format too. Just curious if anyone ever tried getting some original work out there, if any one succeed or have any advice for a young filmmaker / artist who wants to create some TV and Film ideas.

    I'm not sure if this is the right place on the forum to ask but since my projects are mostly adult puppetry, adult animation and slapsticky Mel Brooks / Zucker kind of movies I figure I give it a try.
  2. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    What do you want to be, ideally? A writer? A director? A writer/director? I've been lucky enough to have a few pitches/projects optioned in the past few years (none have been produced yet though) and my experience is that generally the industry wants to be able to slot you in to a nice little niche that they can understand. Doing three different things in three different genres makes you harder to classify and more difficult for an agent to represent until you have established yourself.

    Most agencies will not accept unsolicited original pitches or scripts from writers, even if you follow the established format(s) for query letters. Some do though, you really have to read and follow their submission guidelines.

    Probably your best bet these days is to create your own work and post it on YouTube. If it attracts a large audience, you won't have trouble getting representation. The industry seems to like things that have a proven track record.
  3. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member


    Personally I don't like YouTube, I don't think it works with all the internet memes and such. I do mostly film festivals and had some films shown in California. But one of the things that I'm starting to notice in the industry is that it seems like people have organized where certain people go and how things are made where everything conforms to this system. Which is hard for me to believe as an artist because well Jim Henson is my hero and Jim did everything with his work and I sort of want to do the same. Not same as his work but how he did things in terms of business, battling for creative freedom, etc.
  4. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    There is a system and I think there always has been unfortunately. I'm sure the system is a little different now compared to how it was when the Muppet Show was made, but I'm sure it was just as frustrating and probably even more difficult then.

    I was at a Jim Henson Legacy panel discussion in New York several years ago and someone in the audience asked why there wasn't another Muppet Show because it seemed like such an obvious thing to do. Jane Henson answered and explained that most people don't understand how difficult it was to sell the Muppet Show in the first place (I think Jim Henson was activity pitching it for a decade) and what a huge undertaking it was.
  5. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    True, but Jim always loved challenges, and was kind of like "Oh really that's how it is, I don't think so." (quote from Jane on The World of Jim Henson)

    You know what's interesting was The Muppet Show was hugely successful but The Jim Henson Hour and Muppets Tonight weren't as successful.

    Is that why The Muppets have been doing more TV Movies and Movies lately instead of a TV series?
  6. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Also I kind of wonder what if Jim Henson was still alive, what would he say about the Hollywood system today as well as how TV has become reality TV hungry and such. And what kind of things he would do to get art back into the mainstream.

    It seems like art struggles more and more in the industry today and is rarely released in it's full creator driven force and unaltered by executives.
  7. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind though that it took awhile for TMS to be successful and take off. Didn't really happen til season two. The fact that it was syndicated kept it from what could have been the same fate as JHH & MT had it been on a network (which is ironic because at first Jim thought syndication was a step down and wasn't totally thrilled with the idea but it ended up keeping the show going til it found its feet)

    Also to add to what BB said, not only did Jim spend years pitching TMS and being rejected, but the Muppets had been around for about 20 years before he got that chance. Not only did he have to wait and pay his dues - but those two decades gave him a lot of time to be building and creating puppets instead of starting from scratch at the beginning of TMS.
  8. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    True, but the problem I guess from my end is that building puppets are very expensive. I remember talking to a puppet builder online and he told me that a Muppet Style puppet would cost close to a thousand. Which blew my mind because I used to spend only $100 worth of materials each month and build that way. Unfortunatly I found out that I could draw better than build puppets. Plus sculpt with clay better so I wanted to get into the liquid foam molding sort of thing but not only is it health hazardous but it's way more expensive plus I don't have a clay / latex oven that can go up to 100 c within 3 hours. I'd be kicked out of my apartment if I ever tried to attempt that. lol
    Anyway I have a forum some where under the Puppet Building part called "Trying to get back into puppetry". I figure I mention it so I don't get into trouble for talking about the same thing in two threads. lol

    Although I am kind of looking at motion capture puppetry and autodesk mudbox as an alternative. It's almost accomplishing the same thing but the puppet is a graphic and a mocap foam puppet.
    It's a bit complicated and about a few thousand dollars but I think it might be a way to save budget a bit because within animation and graphics there's no limit except for disk space. Headcases once said that it was expensive and they only made 60 characters which I don't understand but perhaps it's in the matter of working hard with a team in terms of a due date, I don't know.
    Anyway It would have been kind of hard to get into the spotlight today because reality TV kind of took place of comedy variety shows and the commercial world doesn't seem too creative driven. I wonder how Jim fought for creative freedom in terms of making commercials and making deals in contracts.
    Plus also no one wanted The Muppets in America and it wasn't until Lord Lew Grade in the UK was interested. Though I wonder how the copyright thing was settled because if you look at the original ending credits it says that the show was copyrighted ITN (I think that's Grade's company) but the characters (c) Henson Associates. That's really rare to find, I think George Lucas was like that with Star Wars on how he owns the characters and Fox owned the movies. I wonder how you do that in terms of contract deals.
  9. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Sorry about the long replies. It's like a battle in my head digital puppetry vs actual puppetry. Part of me just wishes that puppet budgets weren't so expensive but I just can't let budget get to me because creativity is unlimited.

    Anyway for me to get back on subject, anyone ever heard of the Hollywood Directory books? If so, are they any good? I know one is out of print now and they are very expensive, especially for a book.
  10. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I would suspect there was probably some sort of contractual arrangement that reverted the rights to TMS to Henson after a set period of time or that Henson bought the show back at some point.


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