That’s right, boys and girls — it took us a while to announce it but, here it is:
Break a Leg has been licensed by FOX Italy for play on their internet, mobile and TV channels. At least, theoretically. We have yet to find out where exactly it’ll play, aside from their online space: www.floptv.tv — but we hope that when this is all said and done that our names will be as popular in Italy as… wine and “Tony.”
What does this mean for the show? Well, we hope it means a bigger audience. We hope it means massive success overseas. We hope it means FOX US will get horribly jealous and get us to make it or another show here in the States. But mostly it means the first season of Break a Leg will premiere in Italy, subtitled in Italian, sometime in the coming months.
I also think, at the sake of tooting my own horn (which makes the same sound a singing angel makes), that this is a great deal for web series as a whole. It gives networks a way to test how web series will do overseas with minimal risk and it lends even more credibility to our genre. You hear that, FOX US? Be hip, be cool, get Break a Leg on FOX now.
We’ve been lucky enough to get some press for the event and hope for more in the near future, so, here’s a few write-ups/videos about the story:
My main mode of professional contact is email. Sure, social gatherings are important and nothing quite beats the intimacy of getting a cup of coffee and/or vodka with someone to win them over. But that’s a luxury few can afford in a world where most people are far too busy to waste time doing silly things like sitting and drinking something.
Which means that for communication, email is king.
I recently (yesterday) accidentally sent an email invitation to “See My Photos on Facebook!” to hundreds of people who had ever received or sent an email to me. And while I pondered how many penis-related mailing lists I accidentally signed myself up for with that action, I stumbled upon the thought of how important email really is. And not just email itself but the art of the email.
There are hundreds of books that try and teach you to be charming, hilarious, attractive and socially capable — but none (and I say that with the full power of no research at my back) talk about how to be all those things over email. See, the thing with email is that, unlike meeting someone in person, people can completely ignore your emails. “Hey, want to meet for lunch?” you ask someone — and, in six months, they respond, “Sorry, just got this. Nope.”
Luckily, I’m a neurotic writer, email (there it goes again) fits my personality quite well. I have even arrogantly decided that, throughout the years, I’ve developed my email writing skills enough to declare myself a professional emailer.
Below is a list of tips that I have gone a long way in helping me further my career and, in the process, develop a few new friendships. So, without further ado, here we go…
Leave a Personality Hook
Emails should be professional, yes, but professionals get professional emails all the time. Hundreds of them. It’s dull and it means these people — who are, in fact, people and not corporate drones — have to be their boring, professional selves all day. Even in writing. Even in an art form. So, bring themselves out of themsselves — give them what I always (just thought of this) call, “the personality hook.”
Let’s say you’ve been introduced to someone who can theoretically help you. An agent, the head of a production company, someone you need in short. You send them a professional email, the body of which thanks them for their time, introduces you to them, and generally asks for whatever you were going to ask for. Here’s where the hook comes into play, are you ready? Are you taking notes? Are you rolling your eyes? Okay, good.
After your main paragraph, throw in one quick sentence that’s a very casual joke. It can be about the person who introduced you, it can be about… anything. Self-effacing, poking fun at the topic, whatever it is, just give them a little something. The key is that it should be a comment that begs for a response. An amusing question, perhaps, but it should lure them into biting.
They are the fish, you are the fisherman — what you’re doing is seeing what kind of bait they’re into.
The hope is this: once they read your email, they’ll not only respond to the body but make a joke back. Then, you’re in. What starts happening, if you’re good, funny and can pick up on their sense of humor, is that before you know it, your emails are less professional and more jokey. That seems backwards but it isn’t — people won’t help Random Guy Who Needs My Help as much as they’ll help Guy I Can Joke Around With.
I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous, mildly manipulative and kind of dumb, but in a world where we’re constantly answering emails, it’s how friendships are made. It’s how you can break someone out of their auto-response and get their personality involved.
Brevity is the Soul of Wit
You know who said that? God. No, that’s not true, it was Shakespeare — but it may as well have been God. Don’t expound. Don’t send a 30 page letter from the war. Just write what you need, keep it fast, keep it fun, keep it easy, and send it off. Trust me, you’ll be doing everyone a favor.
Don’t Write Like An Idiot
Remember all those lessons from school? Like how “u” actually has three letters in it? It’s time to use those. It doesn’t matter who you’re emailing, start getting in the habit of spelling correctly and using proper grammar. Sending a poorly written email to a higher-up is a lot like calling them a racial epitaph in person (it’s true), so take some time, proofread, and make sure you don’t write like an idiot.
This also helps for love letters, by the way. “I luv u” is all fine and dandy if you’re 14 and texting, but it’s no way to electronically please a lady.
Gmail, Gmail, Gmail
You know how getting to know someone is important? Gchat is just perfect for it. I love when I email someone I need to meet and they have Gmail. It’s the easiest thing to add them and, after some time, shoot them a quick comment on Gchat. If they bite, you start a conversation. You can really draw someone out, connect, and do the whole personality hook much quicker.
I loves me some Gmail.
Respond a Day Later
Sometimes, really busy people take an irritatingly long time to get back to you. Don’t rush in emailing them back — every email is a reminder to them that they have to get back to you. If you email them three reminders, you get really irritating. So, say they respond to you with, “We’ll get back to you in a couple of days!” Wait a day, maybe even two, and respond to them saying, “Great! Looking forward to it.” Or something in that vein. It’s a reminder camouflaged in a simple response.
Follow-Up, But Don’t Be a Douche
My “Don’t Be a Douch Rule” stretches out to not just email but every facet of life. Yes, follow-up after a week. Yes, check-in. No, don’t bother them. No, don’t expect a response. No, don’t be a douche about it. If they’re not responding, they’re not interested — give it a month, give it a couple of check-ins, if there’s nothing, well then, you don’t need them and they don’t need you.
Chill The Mailing List out
If I emailed you, it doesn’t mean I want to forever be on your mailing list. Please leave me alone, you’re becoming comparable to the guy that keeps talking about my “love hammer.”
Don’t Invite 500 of Them to Your Facebook
It struck me that while I did it by accident, I can see people doing this purposefully. It’s probably not worth it. Partly because it’s really annoying, and partly because you probably don’t want anyone who can maybe hire you in the future to see the photos of you with that prostitute that your friends thought would be totally funny to tag you in.
Finally, Don’t Be A Douche
I’d like to reiterate this. Don’t make friends so that those friends can help you. Don’t email people and play nice until you get ahead — let’s not continue to make the entertainment business a place of faux relationships and backstabbery. Don’t be a douche and good things will happen, really.
That’s all for my email tips. Feel free to add your own to the comments! I’d love to hear your own tips and tricks!
I tried, I really, really tried to update regularly last week but — it’s been hectic and, well, I haven’t.
I’m in the middle of like three blogs that, personally, I think will just rock, so — those will be coming promptly, hopefully.
In the meantime, an update from all the daily going-ons of the web series creator. The wild musings, if you will.
Ready? Here we go:
-I just, purely by accident, invited 540 people from my Gmail to join my Facebook. I did this because Facebook suggested I invite my Gmail friends, and I was like — well, alright, Facebook! So I chose four out of the 540, clicked Send Invites and… well, I can only imagine Facebook said -- you know what, guy? There are 540 people who would KILL at the chance to look at some of your Facebook pictures. Add them too. Yes, even the guy who sent you the email with this subject line: “Your lovestick won’t get tired!”
Which is great, because frankly, I think it’s time me and LoveStick Guy played Farmville together.
UPDATE: Oh, I’m so happy. I think my Facebook invite also applied to what must have been a job email because I just received an email with the subject: “Check out my facebook pictures” and the email body says:
“Thank you for submitting your application. We will review it and get back to you if there are any next steps.
God I hope I get it.
-Our new show, Lovemakers, is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality. I think. We’ve teamed up with a real matchmaking company and we’ve gotten a brilliant Executive Producer who knows his way around the marketing world the way I know my way around sending 540 Facebook invites to my Gmail friends. We’ve got everything we need to make a great show except the money and I’m hoping that’s a hop and a step away.
The whole process has been a lot like gathering an army. If it works, I’ll detail how I did it, step by step, and tell you what I’ve learned. So far, I’ve learned that you’ve just got to try everything, talk to everyone, and have a good idea that people genuinely like. Then just target who you need and work your ass off to get them behind the project.
-We’ve shot around three-four pitches for various big brands while pitching as many to others. We’re at a wall that if we can push through, can make our production company a profitable enterprise. But it’s a damn heavy wall.
-We shot a Pilot for a completely different show — not Lovemakers, not Break a Leg — a new show. We envision it as a side project that can work as a constant branded entertainment commercial as well as a vehicle for what we think is a really fun little product. It stars me and Justin Morrison (Chase Cougar in Break a Leg) and as soon as we’re done with the final cut, I’ll go about trying to make sure you all get to see it.
-My brother and I may be in the midst of writing a textbook on Writing for a Web Series. Isn’t that bizarre and slightly terrifying? Imagine being taught by me… as I invite you to join my Facebook? It’s horrible. I apologize ahead of time.
-I’m going to write at least two more actual blogs this week that aren’t just talking about my life. This I swear. And I mean it this time. So, stay tuned.
Also, if you guys have any questions at all — about writing, about web show makin’, about… well, anything, really, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer.
Okay? Okay. Stay tuned ’till tomorrow or Wednesday for the second blog of the week!
This week is going to be a Blog Week. Which means, I’m going to use this week to post 3-4 blogs and get back in the groove of things. I’ll catch you all up with my life, show you some videos, complain about a few things and even teach you how to email.
This is my plan.
To start it off, I’m going to keep it light — the Temp Life (add them on Facebook too!) has released a new episode and it’s easily my favorite. If you don’t know, the Temp Life was one of the first sponsored shows on the web, started a little after Break a Leg by Wilson Cleveland — a man who just about everyone knows and has been rufied by in the “web series business.”
Mr. Cleveland hired me to write the previous season (which was really just an arc of short episodes) and apparently liked me enough to hire me for the next batch as well (Felicia Day was busy). Wilson, by the way, pays a writer better than just about anyone else — plus, he bought me lunch when I was in NY, which pretty much means I owe him my first born (who will sadly be named Wilson).
Sandeep Parikh of the Guild guest stars in this batch (and I’ll make an appearance too — you just wait and see!) and he’s funny as per usual.
The last season and this one are both being shot by Andrew Park and his company, Tailslating — they created the web series, the Hayley Project, which you should also check out because you love web shows. And by you I mean the royal you. All of you. And the King (“royal you” is a bizarre turn of phrase, isn’t it?)
Anyway, without further ado… Season 4, Episode 9 of the Temp Life.