While I am semi-embroiled in a feud of economic proportions; battling for payment for services rendered to an idiot who’d rather hold my money hostage and deprive my kids of an awesome Christmas than admit he was wrong and blew a high five-figure TV deal, I’ll take this time to catch my breath and reflect on some happier moments of 2015 and the previous years of pitching and developing ideas for TV.
I have to admit, I’ve been lucky. Despite the underlying emotion of my last 3 or 4 blog posts I’ve been extremely blessed. I have a connection that few people have. I’ve been able to do — multiple times — what some people never do. And in the midst of it I’ve earned some cash and met some awesome people.
This blog is about the awesome people.
None have been more grateful nor sung more loudly the praises of yours truly that my dear friend and sister-from-another-mister, Ramona (@RamonaMaramonte). Out there in the entertainment industry you’ll see people preach ad nauseum how great another writer or producer is even though that person has done nada for them, yet they become as quiet as a church mouse for others who’ve actually done a thing or two to help them aspire towards their dreams.
Bar none, I have not stood across the desk of a network TV exec more times than with I have with Ramona. We’ve pitched reality like crazy — and some scripted — and breached the walls of a helluva lot of networks. I fondly remember pitching to NBC Alternative Programming with Ramona, and although I knew five minutes in that our Project would get a “Pass” from the network, we were in that office shooting the shit with the big dawg (SVP) for 45 minutes. That is unheard of. Ramona and I always, always always have fun, laugh, get nervous and get over it…together.
And what’s super awesome is, from time to time Ramona will surprise me with an unsolicited random #AF email saying, “Thank you for the opportunity you’ve given me to achieve my dreams.” Such gratefulness is rare in this industry and deeply appreciated. Cool thing about working with Ramona is that when she comes down from Northern California to attend a pitch in LA her husband Tony always comes with her. That type of spousal support is super rare in this industry (trust me, I know!) and definitely enviable.
Lastly, when I was in the hospital for most of December 2014, Ramona texted or called me every day. Every. Day. EVERY. DAY.
There’s one other couple I know who have made the trek together: the Hedges. Justin and Laura from Arizona have driven down to LA from Arizona multiple times to attend multiple pitch meetings. I went to my first pitch meeting with Justin. It was with NBC and it was the scariest thing I think we both ever experienced up until that point. Still, it was an unforgettable experience. Laura was the person who called or texted me the second-most times when I was in the hospital and it was super appreciated.
In 2015 I had the opportunity to work with Dionna from Atlanta. Dionna and I met in 2014 during the Great American Pitchfest. She was going through a very tough family crisis at the time, but made the trek to LA and pitched an idea to me. We worked on the idea over 6-9 months and finally I submitted it to the network. We got called in to pitch. We basically spent the whole afternoon together driving from Beverly Hills to Miracle Mile and then to LAX. We stopped in Playa del Rey for drinks and she learned how strong a Manhattan really is. I laughed. Dionna is real (WYSIWYG) and I appreciate that. We also can commiserate over issues in the TV business as well as over relationships-gone-bad. We’ve gone through the same things and she’s been a steady listener for those times I needed to vent like a madman. She has become a trusted confidante. Thank you Dionna!
Then there is someone whom I’ve never met in person. Michael C. Cordell. We “met” on Twitter and then Facebook. Michael has read some of my scripts before anyone has, in their rawest form. He is always authentic, professional and honest in his critiques. I’m going to owe him a heap of money for script reading services soon. He’s always supportive and vocal about it. That’s the thing, if you support someone, it means little if you do so in secret. Michael is always first to RT, share my posts and updates and take other very generous actions as well. Lastly, we used to share the same friendship with a bat-shit crazy female friend who went ape-shit on us for no reason. If that’s not a bonding moment I don’t know what is.
Then there is Aaron in Canada. Fucking Canada! There have been times that I’ve needed super fast turn-arounds on reads of my outlines, ideas, brainstorms etc and Aaron is ALWAYS first to volunteer. Not only is he first to volunteer but he’s a volunteer who ALWAYS comes through. Aaron never stops coming up with ideas and I can be honest with him. We are honest with each other in fact. Many times our raw concepts have sucked to the nth degree and Aaron and I are comfortable telling each other the truth, “That idea sucks,” and we move on, no feelings hurt. I’m gonna hire his ass when I get my first network show.
Last but not least, there are my four children who offer me wide-eyed, unconditional love and acceptance. Wanting more for them compels me to do more, go longer, push harder. Without a doubt, I maintain the struggle for them. They deserve it. I owe it to them. I see them growing into productive, responsible, compassionate members of society and I am pleased, and I want to ensure they have everything they need to thrive.
There are many others who have been instrumental in my longevity. I thank them all. The above-mentioned folks stand out because in 2015 I’ve called on them the most. See, while it may have looked like Angelo had it going on, this year, there have been some super low points when I felt like I was spinning my wheels…and doing so alone. These folks helped me get through it.
And I am grateful for the eightful.