Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In which the Deed is Done, Dirt Cheap

Okay, so let's just all review what the expectations are; and pretend that we the putative Talent don't know nothin' about th' normal n customary expecations of teevee shows and teevee show folks, being but poor simple-minded theatre types:

The form of the show will be: an introduction to the movie, a certain number of internal bits or activities determined by the number of commercials sold each week, and a close. That mysterious internal number is going to probably be five, but it could be more; "less" would not be a Good Thing. We will all be in a Happy Place if each segment times out to two minutes, more or less; some could run to three minutes, but that should be the exception rather than the rule. Therefore, we are expected to deliver roughly twenty to twenty-five minutes of wacky improvised host antics weekly. The movies are ninety to a hundred minutes each; so if theyre chopped up into six equal pieces, there will be at least fifteen minutes to come up with the next wacky antic sequence. Plenty of time for a talented improviser to come up with something. We'll take that last under advisement, but we shall as the lawyers say so stipulate.

The show will be live. Audiences love live teevee; it's like watching Evel Knievel go over Niagra Falls in a barrel. The fun is knowing that he might not make it over to the other side. Not so sure we relish the thought of sleeping with the fishes in real time, as long as we're churning that metaphor, but we'll take that one under advisement, too.

WLEX is in for thirteen weeks, beginnning September 13. That will take the show through the all-important fall ratings sweep period. A show's market share is established by the ratings sweeps; the ratings share drives the prices that can be charged for commercial time on the show. The goal is to do better than the period is currently doing; any improvement is good. Improvement means we get to stay and play the next round; status quo or dare we say it decline means going home. Fair enough.

WLEX will pay for a costume, and will provide a set. We will arrange for the costume and will provide for reasonable maintenance of the costume. If we have suggestions or ideas for the set, WLEX will be glad to entertain them. The set will have to be produced from materials on hand, there is no budget for construction. This works.

The show will be broadcast from WLEX's studio facilities, using the available facilities and the existing studio crew. There will be no live remotes or field trips, no bringing in of preferred personnel. The standing news set is not to be touched, shown, hinted at or alluded to; this is entertainment, but news is News. We hear you. Wonder why this is being emphasized? Let's remember this for later.

WLEX will reimburse Barbara for her services as a performer. This will be on a contractor basis, with a single fee-for-service of fifty dollars per show as sole compensation. The engagement can be terminated at WLEX's sole discretion at any time. Okay, "contractor" implies that there will be a contract between Barbara and WLEX. Say, hoss, we'd like to review that there contract before we formally agree to anything. If we learned nothing else from adventures in Ruckus Arenus and the esteemed Headus Rattus therein, it's that a) the contract always favors the issuer and b) everything's theoretically negotiable, but only before you sign.

What about expenses? What is this word you use, "expenses"? We know nothing of such things. Well, there will be certain consumables such as makeup; and there will also be props and other consumable items from time to time. What is this new word you use, "props?" We know nothing of such things, also and additionally. Since the show is supposed to be improvised, that means that Barbara will need constant stimuli -- new things to use, react to, play with, all in the name of keeping the show fresh, interesting and how you say zany. We understand budgets; there is surely some money set aside for contingencies, so this can be a not-to-exceed figure and we're responsible for any overage. We'll have to run the numbers, but we can probably work something out. Score!

We'll all have a camera run-through in the studio Thursday evening, September 4. You will arrive with costume and makeup; the set may not be ready, that's on us and our input to the design process. Agreed. We'll try this approach you suggest. Based on the camera run through, you'll make whatever adjustments necessary to be show-ready September 13. And the crowd goes wild.

We'll send you the list of movies once confirmed. Are the dates confirmed for the movies? Only the first thirteen. Can we suggest some sequences of movies, or some air dates, for movies that don't have confirmed air dates? We'll be glad to consider your suggestions. Getting control of the content here, boss.

So, when can we expect to see the form of contract? Have a good vacation, come back with lots of good ideas, and we'll see you in a couple of weeks.

In retrospect, it would seem that our Chump Detectors probably should have been taken in for some serious alignment after this meeting. But that's only if you look at this as a business deal. As far as we were concerned, we won the most important point: this can be a monster movie show, a teevee show unlike anything else seen on sleepy ol' Lexington teevee. And it won't cost WLEX any more than what they were already willing to spend. We'll just de-onerous that there contract a little, flesh this thing out a little, and we're good to go.

But first, I have a couple of phone calls to make.

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