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"Saw Dogs" Series Creators and Star | TV Writers
When the TV
Writers Vault was created, we set out to promote Writers
and "Idea People"...Artists. But we never thought
we'd have a part in promoting such an extreme artist as
a Chainsaw Sculptor! This
is just how cool TV has gotten, and another reason we
love reality TV.
TV Writers Vault, Master Wood Sculptor, Steve
Blanchard now stars in his own reality series, "Saw
Dogs", on the Discovery Channel,
much thanks to the determination and true collaboration
of his creative/business partner Mike Harris who created
and pitched the project with Blanchard. The show follows
Blanchard teaming up with other super-talented chainsaw
sculptors as they race to deliver mind-blowing works of
art commissioned by high-end clients.
against the breathtaking landscape of British Columbia,
its a refreshing visual escape from other programs and
fun to watch. They've had a full season produced, and
just recently saw back-to-back episodes premiere on
prime-time Discovery Channel, with another run scheduled
to air June 10th. The series has also been sold
globally. We sat down with Mike and Steve to learn about
their experiences creating and producing the show.
Update: Series has been
sold for broadcast to TV4 Sweden, as well as
Discovery International's pacific rim territory. Season
1 (10 episodes) has previously aired on OLN, Discovery's
Velocity Channel, and Discovery Channel prime-time
(U.S.). Back-to-back episodes re-airing on Discovery
Channel June 10, 2012.
Scott Manville: Steve, Mike,
congratulations on bringing "Saw Dogs" to television,
and delivering a really cool show. First, Mike, I'd like
to ask you... Do you have any background in pitching
projects? How did you come to identify Steve's talents
and his world as something ripe for a reality series?
Mike Harris: Thanks, Scott. Steve and I
have been friends since 2003 and we only began
discussing a show about the chainsaw carving industry in
early 2010. So although I was excited by Steve and his
world, a reality show did not immediately come to mind.
And though I have a good amount of sales experience, I
had no familiarity with pitching any media project. The
Writer’s Vault really provided us outsiders with a “no
pressure” platform to present our idea.
SM: Steve, your craft and talent as a
Master Carver and Chainsaw Sculptor is mind blowing!
What you and your team create on the show is very
impressive. You're a true artist, but we also see that
you're a very focused businessman. How has having a
television show documenting your world impacted your
business? Has it been a positive experience?
Steve Blanchard: To be honest it has
been much more difficult than I thought it would be.
Where before I could focus on my job as a wood carver
without distraction, now my mind is being pulled in two
directions; the filming aspect, and the carving aspect.
They are two totally different creative processes
demanding equal attention. Finding a balance is not at
all easy. It’s a hell of a challenge, especially at my
SM: And how long have you been a
chainsaw sculptor? Have you practiced any other methods
of sculpting, or other art mediums?
Steve: About 28 years. I did a little
drawing when I was a kid, but that kind of faded out.
Also played guitar and wrote songs. I still fool around
with that. I had tried carving with chisels and could
not figure out how to make a living at it. But, what I
like to think of as power carving really did fill the
void. I also have always had an entrepreneurial spirit
which surely has had a lot of influence in how my career
has developed. That, and hooking up with Mike who is a
good friend and a ‘pit bull’ of a salesman.
SM: Congratulations on the Discovery
Channel premier. We also understand you had a full
season already produced and aired. With this move to
Discovery, is a second season in the works?
Steve: Negotiations are ongoing.
I'd have to say you and your crew are the furthest thing
from being "Hollywood" as one would hope, and that's a
good thing. Do you get any grief from your buddies for
having a show? Or do you get good support from the guys
who "knew you when"?
Steve: I’m not a real social character.
I have a small group of people that I associate with and
we have fun with the idea. Other than that, I’m a
SM: Mike, From what you and Steve
created, are you happy with how it evolved into the
actual show delivered?
Mike: I am happy with the evolution of
the series. I still watch the show frequently, and I can
honestly say it improved with each episode.
SM: Can you tell us what your life has
been like since creating and selling "Saw Dogs"?
Mike: No major changes in my life as of
Steve: Still waiting for the reality to
kick in. Love the checks!
SM: Ryan is a crack up on the show.
With him having such amazing mentors like yourself and
the others, does he have a future in your field? Is he
really pursuing that?
Steve: Absolutely. Ryan really dove
into the carving world and has really committed himself
to and sure to become the best carver possible. He
carves every day and is just getting better and better.
It was fun to watch him soak up the influence and
mentor-ship of the Saw Dogs. You’ll be amazed by his
progress come next season.
SM: For new writers and creators
pitching concepts for reality-based shows, what advice
can you share with them about the process and
possibilities for success?
Mike: In regards to contracts, invest
in a good lawyer. And never forget, true collaboration
requires compromise from all parties involved.
SM: Would you recommend the TV Writers
Vault for others pitching reality shows and documentary
Steve: Yep. It saves a lot of walking.
The TV Writers Vault was a great idea, and I have a
feeling I will be using it again.
Mike: I would definitely recommend the
TV Writers Vault. Steve and I received a huge return on
our $40 investment!
SM: Well, I also know you both invested
a lot in the production, turning yourselves inside out
to make the show work. Are you inspired to pitch any new
shows? Or is this it for you in the world of
Mike: I have just recently posted
another pitch on the TV Writer’s Vault and will do the
same with a game show I am currently developing.
Steve: This has been quite a ride so
far, a great opportunity, and I have learned an awful
lot. And now that I got my foot in the door I will
certainly take advantage of it. I have a couple of ideas
I would like to develop and I am keeping my eyes open
for the next SAW DOGS! Thanks for all the compliments
Scott, and for the TV WRITERS VAULT.
SM: What has been the most challenging
part of this journey so far?
Steve: Waiting! It seems like I have
been waiting every since this process started. Now I’m
waiting for the second season nod. It never ends!
Mike: I agree with Steve. The waiting
can be extremely frustrating. You’re on the network’s
clock and it’s running far slower than mine.
SM: And what's been the greatest part?
Mike: The satisfaction of being part of
something that for the most part has been embraced by
those who have tuned in.
Steve: I am very grateful to have been
the first in my industry to get a show on the air. Can’t
beat that. Even if all we got was a first season, we
were there first.
SM: Thanks for sharing your time and
thoughts with us, guys. Best of luck with "Saw Dogs".
We'll be tuning in!
Mike: No problem, Scott. Thanks again
for providing an awesome resource to aspiring
Steve: Are we done, I have a carving to
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