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
Discovered at the TV Writers Vault, Master Wood
Sculptor, Steve Blanchard now stars in his own
reality series, "Saw Dogs", on the Discovery
, 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.
Set 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.
: Series has been
sold for broadcast to TV4 Sweden, as well as
's pacific rim
territory. Season 1 (10 episodes) has previously
aired on OLN
, and Discovery Channel
prime-time (U.S.). Back-to-back episodes re-airing
on Discovery Channel.
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 Writerís Vault really provided us
outsiders with a ďno pressureĒ platform to present
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. Itís a hell of a
challenge, especially at my age.
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 Ďpit bullí of a
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.
SM: 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: Iím 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, Iím a
SM: Mike, From what you and Steve created, are you
happy with how it evolved into the actual show
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 yet..
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
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. Youíll 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
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
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 docu-reality
Mike: I have just recently posted another pitch on
the TV Writerís 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 Iím waiting
for the second season nod. It never ends!
Mike: I agree with Steve. The waiting can be
extremely frustrating. Youíre on the networkís clock
and itís 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. Canít beat
that. Even if all we got was a first season, we were
SM: Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with
us, guys. Best of luck with "Saw Dogs". We'll be
Mike: No problem, Scott. Thanks again for providing
an awesome resource to aspiring writers/creators.
Steve: Are we done, I have a carving to finish!
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