Producing a TV show …

A few months ago, I pitched Rogers TV with the idea of doing a TV series about authors during the Ottawa International Writers Festival. I thought there would be some interest in the capital for the show, given the scope and popularity of the festival. And I figured there would be some of my author friends in town for it who I could interview.

Rogers TV liked the idea, so we’re going ahead (yayy!) but like most things, I often come up with an idea and forget how much work will be involved.

Initially, I had hoped to film this in a bookstore. Rogers said, sure – find us one and bring us some photographs of it. And a synopsis. And some names for the new show.

Now, the producer had in mind a set with a big wall of books and two  comfy leather chairs. But the bookstores I went to didn’t have big comfy leather chairs, which meant trying to source a furniture company that would loan us some with free delivery. Then one of the authors I contacted, Brad Smith, wanted to tape his interview in a pub. Off I went again, trying to find a pub that we could use off-hours when it was quiet.

After two weeks of trying to find the perfect venue, I finally gave up. I suggested we tape the series in my living room, which has two wing chairs and a great fireplace. That lets us control the environment and make sure it’s quiet. (Well, except for my crazy, hyper spaniel ,who I will probably have to farm out for the day, and a friendly cat that is likely to wander on-set and jump on someone’s lap.) And I still have to figure out how to get people in and out of the house in 30 minute intervals without someone ringing the doorbell while we’re taping.

The biggest problem we’ve had, however, has been around the name of the show. I had no idea how hard it is to name a TV series. We submitted a long list of names to the lawyers for a review; all taken. Novel Ideas, the name we liked the best, can’t be used because “Novel City” has already been copyrighted and it’s considered too risky.

So as of last night, we were on the hunt again. Fingers crossed that we can use something from the most recent brainstorming session. And a big shout-out to my pals on Facebook and Twitter for coming up with such great ideas.

Of course, putting together a TV show means developing a taping schedule, too. But with out-of-town guests,  coming up with something that worked for all of them  wasn’t easy. People have other plans when they’re visiting and festival sessions they want to attend while they’re here. And the producer/cameraman has other commitments as well.

We finally got most things sorted out yesterday and it looks like we’re good to go. I have to figure out transportation for a few guests, and may end up with one crashing at my place. At some point, I’ll have to write up a little blurb for each 30 minute episode. And I’ll have to pull together some other stuff, like the 90 second book reviews we plan to use instead of commercials. (The bookstore I wanted to do these  never got around to confirming  their availability for taping, so it looks like I’ll do them myself. We’ll use them as promos for the show as well as for breaks.)

But as of today, these wonderful mystery/crime/thriller authors will be joining me on what I will tentatively call Author2Author: Barbara Fradkin, Mary Jane Maffini, Linda Wiken, Gail Bowen, Shelagh Rogers (I know, she’s not an author, but she is a passionate book promoter!), Rick Mofina, CB Forrest, Brad Smith, Robert Pobi, and Cathy Astolfo.

They’ll talk about their books but also their interests, lives, inspirations and pets. Which means I have to get photographs of those, and copies of their most recent books, and read all of them between now and the 28th when we start taping. (And we’re in the middle of the busy season in real estate!)

Somehow, it will all come together. Stay tuned – it should be fun!

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6 Responses to Producing a TV show …

  1. Anonymous says:

    Peggy, congratulations! My background is in television news, and I currently do documentary style productions in marketing and for personal history projects for my clients. (Which really gets in the way of my writing.) I admire your tenacity with a full appreciation of the many details that have to be organized in this kind of work. You seem to be a very accommodating person with a lot of drive and a sincere interest in helping authors gain profile and reach new audiences. BRAVO! Wishing you every success! I look forward to hearing the updates, and hope that the program will be available as a podcast on line so I won’t miss it.

    Best regards,
    Sandi Altner
    Author of Ravenscraig


  2. ldsword says:

    How about Novel Voices for a name?

    L. Deborah Sword 403 862 1923


  3. Peggy Blair says:

    Unfortunately, looks like any title with the word “Novel” in it won’t fly, as “Novel City” has been copyrighted and the lawyers found “Novel Ideas” too risky. But thanks for the suggestion, Deborah!


  4. Wow! what a lineup! And, having spent time with most of them, I must say, you’re a very brave woman, having them into your home.Heck, I’m not sure if I’ve ever even seen Brad Smith outside of a pub…


    • Peggy Blair says:

      He only agreed to come when I told him I had four cases of beer left over from my launch :-). A few of them are planning on staying overnight at my place. I’m sure it will be a night to remember.


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