YouTube link added 02.09.09
2:45 PM, Monday, December 8th, 2003:
Heh, that picture is priceless. It's actually just me reacting to how nervous I am as I was being transferred to Mr. Garis, but the reaction will fit in just about every section of this entry. I shall do away with any semblance of story-telling as there's so much to document before it leaves my brain forever.
Had a difficult time sleeping last night for sure. Got the phone tape recorder all set-up in the morning, and a video-camera to splice it all together later. Again, $175 for a 30 minute phone call - better get the most out of it. At 9:34 his assistant (and wife I believe) calls, and hooks us up.
So he says he reviewed the DVDs, felt they were creative, unique - and wanted to know what I had in mind. I explained roughly what I said in the letter. A focused period of hitting up the media with a string of shows booked in advance hoping that the buzz from those shows throughout the period leads to something lucrative.
The coversation turned into a myriad of pieces of advice. He said if he were to take me on as a client he'd suggest a "launch party" with some sort of hook, that will make it newsworthy to the media outlets - and not just being straight up promotion. He gave an example of a "Child Abuse" foundation that hired his agency. They took pictures they had of the effects of child abuse (whip marks and what not) and blew them up into huge posters and rented out the Hilton downtown and put on an art exhibit. Had guys at the doors, checking passes just like regular art shows. His agency hit up all the art outlets in the city all for this shock. This shock of them walking in thinking they're seeing art and having this thrown in their face. What happened was CNN covered it, and it became a newsworthy event - garnering the foundation millions of dollars in free advertising. A stunt, yes - but publicity for sure.
We talked about with the Trinitrons that you can hype them as a real band. Get that hype going, and get the buzz going and then when they come out they see that these guys can't stand each other long enough to get through a song - and the whole show is fighting and what not. So we basically brainstormed those little ideas. Nothing at all concrete, just giving "types" of ideas for things.
He then said, knowing a celebrity is worth their weight in gold. He said you'll see fashion people throw a media event, and there'll be celebrities sitting in the front row. They're usually paid. Going rate for middle-of-the-road celebrities to attend events is $2500. Heh. He said if perchance I got say...Justin Timberlake to come to a Trinitrons show and get interviewed by Entertainment Tonight saying it was awesome - it's priceless. He also mentioned he couldn't imagine with his stature that that would happen - but he was throwing out examples.
15 minutes in, I was starting to get antsy. Nothing was being said. The man can talk, and I started to think he was just gonna fill my 30 minutes with anecdotes of the publicity world and that would be it. So I started asking specific questions about the act. He said that it's such a visual concept that anything other than television is almost a wash. You just can't describe this on radio or newspaper. So he's specifically targeting the morning shows on TV, local, national - entertainment shows. That route. Of course then came the mini-bomb. I say mini because I've always known this - but I somehow thought the order would be different... I knew I would never do THIS Trinitrons show on The Tonight Show, but if there was interest, I'd put together a specific bit FOR them. Without the language or length of the original show. Well, that ain't the way it works - and if I had thought about it for more than a few minutes I guess I would've thought of it:
I have to have a PG show if I want to even be considered for this big of a spotlight. Period.
It has to be obvious to the media outlets - exactly what they're getting or it will never get on. What was once the edge, is now limiting...because now the target is different. For what I was doing with Charlotte - it was dead-on. The Comedy Clubs, the adult edgy-crowd used to that. But now I want as much press as possible to see my talents. We're talking a much bigger scale here. And it's honestly a change I have no problem making. It doesn't even feel that different to me as I've done all sorts of comedy before from the days of The Boyles to now. It's just a different audience. And I'm also intelligent enough to make the jokes "Say it" without actually "saying it". A technique all the great ones used, and it's basically just knowing your audience and being able to look at topics from a bunch of angles - to get your point across.
I have to say before I go on, and I mentioned this to him as well...because The Trinitrons is a character piece - it wasn't as if I was one-guy telling jokes and I chose the "easy" route. When you decide to do a character like "G" you either commit to it or you don't do it. G says Fuck. That's who he is. And as an actor/writer of that persona - I nailed it. So I don't at all feel The Trinitrons is taking the easy way out by making dick jokes. It was written within an environment that needed that. If/when the environment changes, so can I.
The potential is limitless with the more family oriented type of show. He said other publicists may say "don't change a thing" and be able to help me in other ways - but for his media contacts (from the producers of Oprah Winfrey, to the Today Show, to the Tonight Show, to Larry King) it's obviously a different audience, and on top of just what they feel - there's advertisers. He talked about an independent political party expert he had awhile back that wanted to slam the 2 party system - but it was during the election. A local morning talk show in Oregon isn't going to piss off their advertisers that buy the most time during an election: the 2 parties. So you have to think of everything. Biggest advertiser right now is Disney, so you do the math.
Now whereas some artists would say "I'm not selling out..." I will be the first to say "Where do I sign, oh please let me sell out". Again, I don't feel anything involved with 4tvs is SERIOUS enough to be tarnished. You know? The Trinitrons could sell Mcdonalds for all I care. I mean it's like Justin Timberlake doing McDonalds now. How can you sell out when you were in N 'Sync? You can't. It's pop music. And 4tvs is a way to show off characters and singing and laughing. So if I get a bigger audience by changing the content - well of course I do it.
I of course brought up the current show, and what to do in the meantime - and he said that's my choice. He can get write-ups on a smaller scale and what not - but you run the risk of pigeon-holing yourself...or just being old news by the time you come out with what you really want to be known for. I certainly don't want to do that - so I guess that means (gulp) the show as it is now will never be seen publicly again? (sigh)
Then there's also cross-promotion. He said you'd be amazed at the amount of publicity you can get for a show/product - anything by being an "expert" on something else. You'll see people going on shows giving tips on how to lose weight, to how to make it in the industry, to how to get started in modelling - whatever. Stuff that morning shows like "Today" need most of all, say around the holidays. Well if you're well versed, you can get all over the place while at the same time promoting your gig. Those experts that are telling you the top ten ways to (insert human need here) - are almost always just promoting their book, their show - whatever. He said for me, something with a comic spin to it would work wonders. Something around the holiday of Valentine's Day for example. He said to give him as many things I could think of that I felt I could talk about in an "expert" fashion. This is of course where my Talk Show training comes into play immesely - because basically you just act like you're an expert on everything. And I'm pretty varied in subjects I can talk about. I assume I'll be able to give him a list of 20 things easily. He said he'd then pick the ones he thought were most useable, and then have me write up a couple paragraphs on each - and go from there - getting me on shows accordingly. He says the agency is to the point now where nationwide they get up to 25 requests from the media per DAY. Simply because of his repuatation of providing great talent for the outlets in the past.
So am I a client? What makes him think I'm one of those people? He said as far as the act goes, the talent is obvious. From my timing onstage, to my presence as the characters, to simply talking to me - he mentioned saavy often. That I seemed creative/intelligent and show a huge potential of becoming a "brand-name". He said I should shoot him an email with the topics for the cross-promotion and we'd go from there. If he thought there was something he could work with, to get us going immediately, he would fax over the contract and we'd start asap. Even when all I'd have to "plug" would be a website to garner email addresses - or just general buzz for me. Then of course comes the question. The barrier. What makes the world go round - what seperates the men from the boys - what pretty much takes the wind out of everything I've just typed, for the past hour. How much:
Since I'm a newbie, he went the low route...$2000 a month.
6 month contract, first and last months up front, for him to represent me to the national broadcast media. And what's funny? He was proud of this offer as he said there's no hidden fees, and no percentages. Dude - PERCENT me mofo. Take all my fuggin money I could possibly make in the next 6 months. I don't give a shit...but $12,000? Who the hell can afford that unless you're already famous...and that of course begs the question...what would you need him for then!!??!?!?! (sigh) - He did mention he doesn't charge for calls, faxes all that crap. And to his credit - we talked for 90 minutes. That's 3 times longer than he had to...but $2000 a month is just unbelieveable. Granted if I were doing a bunch of national show spots, you do get paid for that. But could he guarantee anything? (sigh).
There are of course the backers, but how can I even come to them with this figure? I'm sure they want assurances. Hell they keep asking me when I actually get to sit DOWN with him, and it just doesn't seem like that would happen. The agency is located in San Marcos, about 2 hours south of here near San Diego, and I don't see where or why that would be necessary. It's all done through email/phone calls these days. From looking at the site, and the fact that every goddamn search I do on publicists garners his name, I feel more than assured. Jess and I have talked about simply taking out a loan. It's funny how being in debt just makes you shrug your shoulders at more debt. But another $12,000? That would cost $15-$20,000 to pay back? But you just know he can make things happen. The outlets alone that his clients have been on recently are staggering:
Larry King - CNN Business
Oprah - Entertainment Tonight
20/20 - Good Housekeeping
New York Times - American Idol
Maury Povich - Style Network
The View - E-News Daily
Cosmopolitan - The O'Reilly Factor
Sally Jessy Raphael - Fox News
Dateline NBC - Los Angeles Times
Inside Edition - Self Magazine
Newsweek - True Hollywood Story
Tonight Show - Z-100 New York
Us Magazine - KABC Los Angeles
Crossfire - Wall Street Journal
People Magazine - WLUP Chicago
Montel Williams - Seventeen
Today Show - Redbook
Success Magazine - Playboy
USA Today - E-Entertainment TV
Neil Cavuto - Robb Report
The Other Half - Jenny Jones
CNBC News - Newsweek
In Touch Magazine - Discovery
Good Morning America - Extra
KISS FM - CBS Early Show
It shows just how connected the firm is. The website is filled with information about what they provide, and who they've provided it for. But more important to me is where he can get a no-name like me. It's great that he represented Kim Basinger, but she could do quite a bit on her own. More impressive to me are the no-name authors that he's been able to cross-promote to get their product out there.
But therein lies a bit of a rub - what the hell is my product now? I mean at this exact moment, going his route - I have to start from absolute scratch. You know? If you look at his site, it's obvious what he can get: Broadcast and Print interviews. And he can guarantee those if you're a client. Which is why I assume he's going the "Cross-promotion" route with me. But for $2000 a month, it almost seems silly without having something to sell. I don't even have a show. You know? It would seem wasteful to get these opportunities to promote, and then make a big mailing list. Not even have DVDs for sale since what I have now is R Rated. And how fast can I put a new show together?
As well, no one yet understand what it takes to put a show together. And new material is the life blood of any routine. So what we're looking at now is coming up with a group of characters that I can do immediately at any time. Something where one weekend I could write a 2-3 minute skit, and produce it the following week. Hair, costumes, props - all of it. No waiting for hair to grow - just ready on demand. That's some serious, serious rehauling...and something that could easily take every bit of 2-3 months. In the meantime I what...go on Goodmorning America and talk about "The Top Ten Best Anti-Valentines you can send someone"... to then plug a website (even if reworked) that could only focus on Pictures of characters and small video clips of a show no one can see, or a DVD I can't promote because it's too adult?
Then again, if I wait until this "new" show is done, whew - months start to pass, and before you know it you're back to not knowing your direction. If I went with him now - it would be in the spotlight constantly and I would get it done. I'm gonna stumble up on $12,000 anytime soon.
Then he says, talk to other publicists. He said treat it like a disease and get many opinions. He was very fair about that...but WHERE THE HELL are they? LOL. I've looked. Everything I ever find is incredibly specialized. From athletes to known actors - there seems to be no in between. So I don't even know where to start or who to talk to.
If I don't go with him, what if anything do I take from this? Do I quit everything and make a new show that's PG? I mean I was planning on doing other shows anyway - but does "The Trinitrons" as is, actually have NO pull as an act? It can't get me ANYWHERE without tarnishing my reputation? (sigh)...
You know, it comes down to who I want to impress. Industry, or Media. Those don't always go hand in hand. He has the media contacts. Obviously. He can do wonders for my career in that sense. But would that exposure lead to anything in the industry if my show is "Vanilla"? Granted, I have personally been embarrassed by some things in the show because they are a bit over the top - and have no problem toning it down, but they don't seem out of place for the characters. So you rewrite the characters...make up new ones - and basically start over from scratch? That's a tough one to swallow. That's where my heart starts telling me this may not be the right choice....
...then again - you take out the $12,000 price tag and I'm all for it. That's what makes this hard to swallow. On top of all the changes - I give the man $2000 a month. Holy horseshit.
I guess what I also feel is him catering me to his strengths, as opposed to my strengths. It's something Charlotte did. Charlotte had a goal in mind for her career, and we catered me to it. That can work out, but can also lead to how things ended with her. In this case, he has specific contacts for getting media outlets great interviews. Which is especially great for people selling books. That's his bag. From authors to experts to newmakers of the moment (Tonya Harding) - he provides that list of contacts above with what they need. In order for me to be a client, I have to fit that mold. So he talks about cross-promotion as an avenue...only because that's what he can deliver.
But what else can I expect? If I'm looking for a guy who's made a one man show with televisions famous, it may be awhile. LOL. There's always gonna be compromise - and in a sense, publicity is publicity. Fuck it, here's what I'm gonna do:
I'll make the list for him, just to see where I stand. We'll bounce of the ideas and see what he feels. Hell it may be he thinks he couldn't do it with the topics I give him. If that's the case, then this is all moot. I assume there will be a lot to work with, cause if I can say anything confidently, it's that I can talk ad infinitum, intelligently, on such an outrageous myriad of subjects - that merged with my with my twisted comedy mind - would work perfectly with what he provides for the media outlets. At which point he'd fax over a contract and then we'd have to cross that bridge. That much is where I stand right now.
Beyond that, no matter what, I have to, have to, have to - come up with short vignettes (as I've said for the past 2 years) that showcase the characters, that are clean, that would work on television. 2 to 3 minutes in length. Funny, musical - everything in the smallest amount of time. This would be something I could set up anywhere to make a quick impression. A Star Search - a morning show....anywhere. I also have to come up with a way to do the current Trinitrons characters at any moment. Yes, that means a wig for Dewey. And I believe you can pull of cornrows with the amount of hair I have now. Or of course I make up new characters - but either way - 4 characters that have to be as quick as possible. I have no other excuses since I'm doing the taping, the editing, the writing, so I need to not have the excuse of HAIR length. If I take anything from this it's that direction...
..of course what it does do is pretty much slaughter the current avenue. Again, much in the same way meeting Charlotte obliterated 4tvs at the time. After just the first meeting with Charlotte I realized I could never go back to what I thought the correct path was just the day before. Once you even hear what you think the correct direction is, you can't keep pushing something that is against that. If I don't want to be seen as a raunchy act, then it actually hurts me to continue to perform, or promote myself as such. So I have to cease doing it. Whew.
This is a lot to undertake. Right now my head is absolutely spinning. I know at some point I'll be able to concentrate on the "launch party" he spoke of and incorporating music and the band infighting in a PG fashion. Basically remaking Trinitrons Part 1. Somewhat the same set-up, but with slight differences. In fact as I'm typing I'm seeing all sorts of things that can be done.
But that needs to be written and performed ASAP. Gotta find a Dewey wig, and see if I can pull of Cornrows with this amount of hair... THAT point, I believe I go back to Garis and show him the show - and go from there. Don't you all think that sounds somewhat more reasonable? Man I'm really gonna have to do the rewrite of all rewrites. I have to make Trinitrons 1 funnier than the original, to a PG audience. But you know what? That's the challenge. In fact - I bet y'all think I can't do a love song from Spencer to Adam without it being raunchy? Heh. I bet you I could do it so that a 10 year old would laugh as much as a 30 year old - yet both for different reasons. I know I can do'll just take some time.
And that's the focus, that's the direction, with or without The Garis Agency - I want mainstream success. I believe I have the chops for it. I believe I have the intelligence, the personality, and the talent for it - and there's no way I'm gonna be held back by the F-word. I want the biggest audience imaginable. That is my goal, my direction, and my future for 2004 and beyond....
Yeah, that's what I say in this entry, but just wait until my annual drinking video at the end of the year when the truth REALLY comes out. But man, I knew this call would be monumental. I knew it was a turning point, and I knew it was what defined this year. It was by all means the direction I needed - and I'm embracing it. The challenge alone of pulling off those 4 characters, realistically and true to form, in a PG setting - with music and laughs - is extraordinary and one I want to tackle. On top of that, the smaller vignettes for TV, now that I see there's someone who can GET me that exposure, is a more realized dream. After talking with him, I don't doubt that with the right type of show - he can get me all over this country with a few phone calls. He talked specifically of an AM talk show on an ABC affiliate in the northwest that he's put many of his clients on. These places are hungry for a different type of entertainment. I can easily be that person.
And you know what's funny, this is only a monumental overhaul because of the design of 4tvs. Had I just been a stand-up, he'd just say to clean it up a bit and we'll go forward. For me however, that's not a few days of writing. It's a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge undertaking. But I've always done 10 times the work of other artists to do my art, so this time will be no different.
Anyway, I must stop typing. I must get ready to go talk to the backers, and more than anything - right at this moment, I want to take out my first Trinitrons script and start the rewrite. I bet I can have it done by the end of the week. I'm feelin' the wheels turning again...which is why I can write over 4100 words on the subject.
Ok, very excited now, more than I was at the start of the entry. I'll let you know how things are going later in the week. I've got some work to do...