Renaissance Man Sells Idea for TV
The TV Writers Vault congratulates Writer/Member
Stephen Reichel of Brooklyn Center,
MN. on the sale of his reality series concept to
Buck Productions, Inc. In his multi-faceted life of
unique professions and talents, it only makes sense
that he would add "selling a tv show" to his list of
accomplishments. Stephen is a musician, actor,
bodyguard, investigator, and can now add
"Writer-Producer" to the list. He shares with us
some of his experiences at the TV Writers Vault, and
the process of selling his project to Producers.
[Details of the project will be shared once it is
cleared of current confidentiality restrictions.]
From the Interview...
"As in life, to be successful in this business
you must have a plan of action- a clear view of your
goals, and an effective vehicle to make that happen
for you. The TV Writers Vault IS that vehicle."
UPDATE : Reichel enters
into deal with Neon Television with
project now under consideration at Discovery
Channel. Previously he has sold pitches to
Fremantle Media and Buck Productions via the TV
Scott Manville: Stephen,
congratulations on the recognition and deal you have
at hand with your projects. You must be excited.
Stephen Reichel: Thanks Scott! I really am excited.
This has been a great experience for me. Writing and
creating is a real passion, and I am grateful
everyday be able to grow and learn as a writer. This
is a process that continues to evolve with time. I
have found that it’s ok to fall down from time to
time, as long as you pick yourself back up again and
SM: Absolutely. You've been a member of the TV
Writers Vault for about 6 months and suddenly you're
being contacted by Producers pursuing your projects,
and you have a contract on the way for one. What do
you think made the difference for you to finally
find some success? Did you submit new projects? Were
these new companies that hadn't reviewed your work
in the past?
SR: The difference is consistency, just keep working
and putting your work out there. So many writers may
build their first idea, and it doesn’t get off the
ground so they get discouraged and quit. The key is
DON’T QUIT! You have to take the hit and keep going.
For me, I just kept writing along with my Wife,
Mara, who is a great researcher and creative element
to this process. If I feel that a project has merit,
I place it with the TV Writers Vault and let it
roll. I know it’s in good hands! New ideas should be
in play at all times!
SM: How many projects do you currently have archived
for review at TVWritersVault.com?
SR: I believe I have 5 or 6 currently but I am ready
to place a few new ones soon!
SM: What was the activity like on the projects? Did
you get reviews and requests on all of them?
SR: It took some time to get the reviews started. As
soon as I gained some momentum, good things started
to happen. This goes back to what I was talking
about earlier, you have to have patience and
understand that this is a very competitive industry,
so you must not lose focus.
SM: So you've got a contract on the way from one
Production company, and you're in discussions on a
few others. Did you ever think it was possible?
SR: That’s a great question Scott, I really didn’t
know for sure. I knew I loved the process and was
determined to keep writing no matter what. There was
a small voice in me that kept whispering in my ear
saying “This will happen, this will happen” and to
my surprise it DID!
SM: If I remember correctly, we did some
consulting/development work on one of the projects.
How was that experience for you?
SR: That was a really awesome experience Scott. I
was honored to work with you on that project and
hey- that’s the project that just got the deal!
Whaddaya know man, you ARE good! But seriously, you
offer so much through your consulting/development
process that I think everyone should take advantage
of it, and often. With your experience in this
industry it is a MUST, especially for new writers to
work with you. I know I have a new one that needs to
be “Manvillized!” Call you next week?
SM: Thank you. It is a fun process when its a good
project. On the marketing/pitching side, can you
share with us a few things you may have learned
going through this process- about the Industry, or
how to approach projects?
SR: The one thing that really jumps out at me when
you ask me this question is “Don’t be afraid of a
little rejection”. Not everything you write is a
masterpiece. I know this may sound harsh but MAN!
Some of my early attempts were really bad!! And of
course I thought I had something that would have
made Aaron Spelling green with envy…ummm- not so
much. My Wife Mara is a great proof reader for me,
she is a no nonsense Italian girl from Chicago that
does not mix her words., it’s either good or
terrible, fix it. No middle ground. I found this to
be really helpful on many levels.
What I have found with the industry was interesting.
Some producers are jaded and hard to pitch and
others are very approachable. If you have true
passion for your project and it comes through in
your pitch, you stand a much better chance of having
that individual listen to you longer and not
shutting down on you. I call this “Pitch for your
SM: What do you think makes one project or concept
stand out among the many that don't go the distance?
SR: I think it starts with HOW you write. Is the
treatment written well? Is the structure correct?
Can you read it and quickly visualize the idea in
your head? I believe it to be like writing copy for
a product, if you don’t capture their attention in
the first 10 to 15 seconds then they will pass on
the remaining text and move on to something else.
I also believe that you must do your homework
especially in reality TV writing. If you don’t know
what is current, what the trends are and what’s hot
and what’s not on TV, then how can you create
something timely that will sell? Producers keep
their finger on the pulse of everything. Like
Stephen King said; “If you don’t read all the time,
how are you going to be a good writer?” In our case,
if you don’t pay attention to TV trends, how are you
going to be current?
SM: When conceiving ideas, how do you think and what
do you look for?
SR: Well, here is a typical session in the Reichel
household; My Wife and I sit around tossing ideas
back and fourth writing everything down as we go.
After some high level negotiations (And a few
bribes) We usually have a handful of possible ideas
that we feel will work. We then go to the computers
to do research to see if there were any similar
ideas in the past or to find relatable content that
will help give us perspective. After the research is
finished, I go to work putting it all together.
That is our “Systematic” way to create a treatment,
there is another way however that I am fond of as
well … I call it the “Jack Kerouac”, and that is me
and my computer or note pad just writing whatever
leaks into my brain. Sometimes it is all nonsense
and I can’t use any of it and other times it’s ok
and I can start to filter from there.
I look for what is NOT being done on TV, or what
needs to be done BETTER.
SM: If you could share any insight with Writers and
Concept creators who haven't used the TV Writers
Vault to pitch projects, what could you tell them?
SR: I would tell them that as in life, to be
successful in this business you must have a plan of
action, a clear view of your goals and an effective
vehicle to make that happen for you. TV Writers
Vault IS that vehicle. Unless you have well
established contacts and have had prior
success…well, even then, people don’t stay in place,
you need exposure to as many decision makers as
possible and TV Writers Vault is the place for that.
SM: And what would you tell the naysayers... those
who don't believe its possible?
SR: “Aww Yes, the naysayers” I am so glad you asked
me this, I have a strong position on this subject,
let me jump right in if I may….
Any time someone makes a bold statement either by
their words or their actions, it creates a situation
to where others can (and will) criticize you. If you
are in business and are going for that promotion,
others will try to hold you back- at the very least
talk about you behind your back. The same is true in
this business as well. For me it was even more
pronounced because there is no one in my family or
circle of friends who have EVER attempted to write
for TV…ever! When I told people about my first
project and how it was picked up for a development
deal the reaction I got was “Frosty”. People were
kind of dismissive and would change the subject
right away. Most of the people I know just don’t get
it- and that’s ok.
I will tell you this about me, the people who gave
me a hard time about this are no longer in my circle
of friends, I have learned a long time ago to only
surround yourself with people who can help you,
teach you and will love you for YOU, all others need
to hit the bricks as far as I am concerned. Life is
too short and I plan on making this second half of
my life as good as possible.
SM: What have you enjoyed most about what the TV
Writers Vault has to offer?
SR: Scott, there are so many things my friend. For
starters, the site is really user friendly, I found
that the process was a piece of cake to set up. The
other thing that is to me the most obvious is how
professional it is and how well it delivers results.
The informational emails you send out are awesome,
especially the interviews you have been doing with
the TV execs, really great stuff! These people are
giving writers a blue print and saying; “Ok, now you
know what we want, go out and write something!”
SM: You've been a member for quite a while, and have
experienced every facet of our service. Give us an
idea of how we can make it even better? How would
you like to see us expand or refine our services?
SR: Well, it’s hard to improve on this Scott, it
works so well. I would say to just keep the decision
makers inspired to stay on the site and to keep
reviewing work. I like everything about it!
SM: Well, it sounds like you're going to have an
exciting summer. Keep us up to speed and let us know
when the Network pushes the button! Thanks again for
your dedication to your projects, and the TV Writers
SR: Thanks very much Scott, I really am honored to
have done this interview with you, I am humbled
everyday by the level of talent there is out here
and to be able to position myself to win is amazing
to me. I am grateful for everything you do. Thanks
and keep up the great work!