Friday, May 23, 2014

Babu Gosha and the adventure of pitching

So I've been working on this idea of creating a universe with food - a story for children - to make them understand conflict through food items.

Although I worried, and still worry that me being an ex writer for Savita Bhabhi will be something that might lead to me being totally lynched for writing something for children. But still I started developing my idea - even accepting the idea of using a pseudonym - and finally came up with a complete story.

The most interesting character in the story was Babu Gosha - who is not a nashpati, and he really doesn't like it much when people call him that.

Babu Gosha, is a silent meek wannabe in the world of gastronomy. he wants to make it and is ready to go to any lengths to do that...

To develop the character the Babu Gosha further, I started making these one page strips - which I shared on Facebook -

So, after writing a final plot, and making these strips, I decided to tell the story from the perspective of Babu Gosha, but still keep the theme of conflict at the backdrop. 

To make children understand the value of grey in a world where everything is presented to them as black and white.

So I wrote to Turner - Cartoon Network to pitch them the idea as an animated show. Now, there are some nuances to pitching an animated show - the biggest of them is cost - everyone who has pitched an animated show knows that. 
My plus was that the whole show was set against a white backdrop and, only line art - color was to be used as a special effect.

 They were kind enough to reply but they sent in this pitching document - which is the most absurd document I've read so far. It has some terms like - 

Translation: Whatever  you send, if we make similar later, you can't do anything. This clause gives us the right to COPY - legally.

Translation: If you have a problem, sue us in Hong Kong. Bloody Hong Kong. Ha hahaha we know you don't have money to buy a ticket to Bhutan, Hong Kong to rehne hi do! (Also the company has substantial presence in India, I mean they have offices in multiple cities for god sake? do their employees sign similar contracts?)

So I refused, but then I felt like, chalo risk le lete hain, and I went ahead and sent them one of the nicest looking pitches I've made - a nice picture book.

I waited for a few weeks, and then I got this reply :-

Besides bad contracts, another fetish of corporates is to reply (when they choose to) -  in lingo and one lines. No engaging anyone. That is the duty of the PR firms they hire.

Now, refusal is part of the game and I understand that well enough, but some of the people I know, people who are pitching cartoon shows - and have had some success in that regard - have come to accept whatever comes on Cartoon Network India as something that needs to be pitched - basically the same thing I heard long back from some TV executives - they used to call it idiot proofing - to basically make everything clear cut simple - because the  audience is stupid.

The Indian audience, or children for that matter are not stupid. People who make three story houses, marry off their children and take care of extended family on laughable salaries are not stupid. They're just tired.

Anyways, the status quo is set.

I'm still working on the concept, adding details to it, and obviously pitching it again, with really no hope of anyone ever picking it up.

Update: Meanwhile, it seems Turner is developing another religion based show.



(haan yaar, sada hua hoon.)


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