you designed your life to be the subject of
an action-comedy movie, and being a former pro-wrestler
turned used-car salesman wasn’t enough… try
adding Hollywood Pitch Man to the list of exploits.
Except this isn’t a movie, it’s reality.
Stewart of Deerfield Illinois is living this
life, and can tell you first hand “anything
is possible if you’re willing to take calculated
risks, and apply dedicated passion”.
As a Writer and member of
The Television Writers Vault ( www.tvwritersvault.com
), Jon is the latest to have his project chosen
for review and picked up by a major television
studio (Fox TV Studios) after being contacted
by one of it’s senior executives who read his
project that was archived in The TV Writers
Vault. The executive is now President of a global
production shingle and has since purchased the
project for packaging to produce.
thrilled at the tremendous reception Jon has
received with his project, and our own Scott
Manville took this opportunity to sit down with
the renaissance man to chat about his experiences
breaking into the industry.
of Stewart’s project cannot be disclosed to
protect and respect the confidentiality of the
project developments between Stewart and production
Scott Manville: First
off, congratulation on your success. You’ve
got quite an interesting story, tell us a bit
about your background and how you came to writing
concepts for television?
I've been a professional wrestler for 20 years
(on and off) and because of that occupation,
have always dealt with TV people; agents, producers,
etc. of all shapes and sizes. With that
being said, I always knew that TV people are
always looking for hot ideas for TV shows, and
I knew that if a person can squeeze through
the door with a great pitch....they might be
able to sell it.
did you first decide to make the bold choice
of marketing an idea for a TV show? Was this
a long time in the making, or a new venture
all together for you?
Jon Stewart: I
saw the reality show arena starting to struggle
and I realized that my specific angle was hot,
and that's when I decided to pitch my story.
It really wasn't a long time from conception
to selling the idea.
Did you have any previous experience or success
at contacting Networks and Production companies
to pitch projects?
I've been in the process of selling a script
for about 6 years, so I'm well versed in dealing
with studios and producers.
Your concept is clearly humorous, and a subject
close to home for you- When did you first believe
that it could translate well into a television
program, and what do you think makes it a great
Jon Stewart: I
truly believed that we had a possible reality
show when time after time people kept telling
me that my business needed to be on television.....it
was like a weird karma-type event. What
makes our show a great show is that it shows
real life. Unlike many reality shows where they
live in Hollywood mansions, have unlimited money
and time, our show is about the struggles of
a family and running a retail family business....which
is brutally tough.
Scott Manville: What
made you decide to join the TV Writers Vault
for direct marketing of your project to buyers?
Jon Stewart: I
thought that TVWritersVault.com was an economical
and unique avenue to get an idea out to producers.
Your project has obviously gotten the attention
it deserves. How long was your project listed
in The TV Writers Vault before the Studio requested
to contact you?
Our project was listed for six months on TV
Writers Vault .com when we got a call.
What was it like to have a major television
studio calling Jon Alan Stewart of Deerfield,
Well, I ran for US Congress and with my years
in wrestling, I wasn't overwhelmed or giddy,
but I was really relieved that someone thought
about my project the same way I did. And the
FOX executive who called me at that time was
and still is one of the nicest people I have
Do the folks in your hometown believe what’s
going on with you, or do they say, “Pro wrester….
Used-car salesman….. Hollywood Pitch Man…. Of
Many people in my life are excited. I’ve
actually played voice mails from the TV executive,
and that really made people in my life believe
that something is in the works. (laughs)
Do you have other projects in the works, or
is this a one-time deal for you?
Jon Stewart: I
have talked with the TV exec about three other
ideas that are hysterical.
In discussing your project with the Studio Executive,
did you feel out of your element, or uninformed
in any way?
The Studio Executive I am dealing with is a
very non-traditional "Hollywood" type
person. He is patient, honest and very
optimistic. He does not have the typical
"negative, guarded" personality that
I have come to see in most people in Hollywood.
All of my family members are grateful that a
"human" being is spear-heading our
How do you feel The TV Writers Vault and Scott
Manville handled the mediating of the studio
contacting you? Was it a simple process?
Jon Stewart: It
was an effortless process......many thanks to
Scott and his assistants.
What advice can you give to new writers who
want to create and market their projects to
the television industry?
My advice is simple. Are you 100% positive
that your idea is good, funny, interesting,
original? I always tell people, ask your
family and friends what they think? Try
to find someone, on the periphery of TV (local
TV producer, film college graduate or teacher,
cameraman, etc. and ask their opinion of
your project. Believe it or not, I've
found that people love to give you their "expertise"...so
take advantage of it. If you look hard
enough, you can find someone who is willing
to give you 5 or 10 minutes of their precious
Aside from getting your project picked up by
leading production companies or studios, what
feature do you like best about our service at
The TV Writers Vault?
Like I said before, I like the cost compared
to what a person can make on their project.
What can we do to better serve writers marketing
Jon Stewart: I
would like to see TVWV have a convention between
writers and producers. Kind of like a
How was it dealing with Scott Manville, founder
of The Television Writers Vault?
First of all, Scott is a gentleman. Secondly,
I am here to say that there are now 2 normal
people in the entertainment industry of Hollywood....one
of them is Scott. Thirdly, Scott has
been invaluable as my "go to" guy
for questions and advice. By far, Scott
is the most valuable commodity.
Scott Manville: We're
very happy to have been a part of your break
into the industry, and look forward to "tuning
in". Thanks for your time and talent.