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Episode 78:
Kim Rome
Notes: Released Dec 15, 2014
Kim Rome drops by to talk about growing up in NOLA, getting in and out of politics and her recent first big break as a writer being hired on the hit CBS show Scorpion as a Staff Writer. Awesome episode!!!

GO AFTER IT

Fri Dec 05, 2014

This has been an incredible year and there’s still a month left. Episode 76 of #TMBS dropped Monday. I was fortunate enough to work on both Chicago Fire and Chicago PD as a Consulting Producer. My comedy album Mick Betancourt Live at Blackout Diaries dropped a few months back and I just recently sold a one-hour drama to FOX based on the Boom Comic,  The Rinse.

TheRinse_01_CVR_A

This is the third network sale I’ve had since 2006 and for which I am extremely grateful. Why am I writing this? Two reasons.

One: I want to publicly thank all the people who have been kind and supportive with their time and knowledge.

Second: I want to share with anybody who is interested, the actual work I’m putting in to make these things happen.

When I moved to LA I didn’t know anybody and more importantly knew nothing of how the actual business of making television or movies worked.

I will start with how The Rinse came together and write about the comedy album and upcoming book in future posts.

For the past five years, I couldn’t develop. What does that mean? It means I was locked into exclusive contracts with shows which didn’t allow me to go out and pitch original ideas. This was bittersweet because any time I get a job writing I always feel like I hit the lottery, always so grateful and excited to be a part of a new or existing show, becoming a part of their team and seeing what I can contribute.

But there is always a voice in my head saying: “Come up with some ideas on your own and pitch them (or) “what if you could develop some already existing piece of content into a TV show?”

I couldn’t shake the voice so I decided I would roll the dice and invest in myself.

Instead of staffing up on a show full time and locking myself into one of those exclusive contracts, Chicago Fire and PD was kind enough to offer me a Consulting Producer position so I could go out and pitch my own shows.

Here’s how it went down.

I came up with 5 original pitches. They ranged from gritty cop shows to a fantasy space version of Game of Thrones. I went out and pitched those ideas and nobody wanted them. That’s when the voice in my head said “You are the dumbest, worst writer ever. Why didn’t you take the steady gig like I told you.” And I said “What! You were the one who told me to roll the dice and invest in myself.”

“I never said that” replied the voice.

Once again, I was reminded when to listen and when to not.

Even though there were people who did not like my ideas, they liked my previous writing and my ability to produce. They set up meetings with people that they were in the IP (Intellectual Property) business with. They had optioned stories, comic books and video games. I was to meet these people, hear the stories they had and see if I had a “take” on them, if I could find a way to tell these stories week in and week out as a television show. When I met Ross Ritchie and Stephen Christy at Boom and they showed me The Rinse, I knew it was something special.

We talked about it for an hour then I went home and read it. I called them the second I was done and told them if they wanted to work together I was down!

What next?

We had to bring our take on the material into the studio to see if we were all on the same page. They liked my take on it and we decided we were going to “take it out.” Showbiz talk for go pitch it to buyers i.e. The Networks.

A pitch is a sales document. It is not your philosophy on the television business, the world at large or how you think writing should be. It is a sales document to sell the show you created. If it’s anything else, you will get anything else but a sale.

A pitch should be around 15 minutes. Any longer and people’s eyes start glazing over. 15 minutes is about 8-9 pages of written material.

I practice pitched to Boom. Got notes. Then we went into the studio. Practice pitched there. Got notes. Then got ready to go into the network.

You must believe!

I was not concerned with selling it. I wanted to for sure, but that is not where all my energy went. As a matter of fact, that is a black hole of energy and the real thief of any confidence.

I took the notes from really smart people. I did all the work that I could do. The last thing is to be of service to the project. Make it sing. Make it pop. Have fun. I tell stories for a living. It should be fun. If it’s not, I AM THE ONE WHO IS DOING SOMETHING WRONG and must figure out what actions to take to fix it.

So I practiced the pitch on my own. Recorded it. Listened to it on walks to prepare going into the network and pitching it live.

The day of the pitch.

We went to the network lot. It was the Boom folks and the folks from the studio. We went into a conference room and in walked the folks from the network.

The voice in your head will tell you that they have heard hundreds of pitches this year. All the hard work you did was for nothing. You will fail. They don’t want to hear this. It is, after all, nothing but a cruel joke to bring you this far so that you will land flat on your face….

Or…

Smile and let’s do this!

I jumped in and started talking. 15 minutes went by. I felt good about how it went. The folks at the network seemed to like it. It would be great to work with them. They are both super smart, have a great sense of story and really want to get adventurous in the way they tell stories. All things I want to do as well. We shake hands and say we’ll talk soon. It was 5pm.

Nothing that night.

The next morning I headed in to my office on the Universal lot for Chicago PD. The phone rang at 10am. It was the people from Boom and the studio.

They bought it. They want to do the show.

I always tear up when I hear those words. Haven’t heard them a ton but every time I do it is magical. It is a gift.

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. It happened. It took me over a decade of hustling, learning and grinding to turn a real corner but it was worth it.

That is what the podcast is about. Going after it. That is what the book is going to be about. Going after it.

There is something inside you, in your heart, that is demanding your attention. Listen to it, move toward it, let it grow louder and see what it has to say.

It may take awhile to realize. It may take a lot of work. It may break your heart REPEATEDLY.

But it is worth it.

Stay on your grind!

Mick


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Two podcasts to check out!

Mon Oct 20, 2014

No #TMBS this week so I wanted to offer some links to some podcasts you may not have heard about yet but should check out. Here they are –

Hilliard Guess’s Screenwriter Rant Room. Great real talk about writing. Here is the link – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/screenwriters-rant-room-2

Kevin Hates Hip Hop – a great look into the world of hip hop from the creative and business side. Here is the link – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/kevin-hates-hiphop-3

Two great guys. Two great podcasts. Give them a listen. You’ll be glad you did.

Ian Bagg is on an all new episode of #TMBS next week. It is really funny and well worth the wait! Mick


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So proud of the #TMBS guests!

Thu Oct 09, 2014

What an amazing year it’s been for the podcast! So many of the guests have had such incredible things happen that I wanted to take a moment and give them the props they deserve for all their hard work and hustle!

Jack McGee is starring on the new CBS show The McCarthys. You can hear his episode here – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mick-betancourt/the-mick-betancourt-show/e/episode-3-jack-mcgee-25247323

Joe Schilling is fighting Melvin Manhoef in Bellator 131. Check his episode out here – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mick-betancourt/the-mick-betancourt-show/e/episode-55-joe-schilling-34442354 or buy tickets to the fight here –  http://www.bellator.com/fight-card/bellator-131

Nikki Toscano went through a tough divorce only to rise up and shoot her own pilot, as well as sell two more shows to networks! Listen to her episode here - http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mick-betancourt/the-mick-betancourt-show/e/episode-22-nikki-toscano-30023183

Nick Santora went on to create the new hit CBS show Scorpion. Listen to his episode here – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mick-betancourt/the-mick-betancourt-show/e/episode-33-nick-santora-31659244

Tony Cavalero just got cast as the lead in Nickelodeon’s TV version of School of Rock. Here his awesome episode here – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mick-betancourt/the-mick-betancourt-show/e/episode-34-tony-cavalero-31842970

David Rodriguez just added network TV shows to his director resume. Listen to his amazing story here – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mick-betancourt/the-mick-betancourt-show/e/episode-34-tony-cavalero-31842970

Jeffrey Leiber is the new showrunner of the CSI: Cyber – his awesome take on being a writer can be heard here – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mick-betancourt/the-mick-betancourt-show/e/episode-14-jeffrey-lieber-28639090

This is actually a snapshot of the people who came on and have hustled and hustled to make their dreams come true, some for the first time and others creating and realizing even bigger dreams. I am so happy to call these people friends. I hope you can get some inspiration and motivation out of their stories. That is the whole point of this podcast! Hope you are doing awesome, Mick

 

 

 


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Something Beautiful For You…

Thu Sep 04, 2014

A Mind Rich with Innocence

Truth, the real God- the real God, not the God that man has made- does not want a mind that has been destroyed, petty, shallow, narrow, limited. It needs a healthy mind to appreciate it; it needs a rich mind -rich, not with knowledge but with innocence- a mind upon which there has never been a scratch of experience, a mind that is free from time. The gods that you have invented for your own comforts accept torture; they accept a mind that is being made dull. But the real thing does not want it; it wants a total, complete human being whose heart is full, rich, clear, capable of intense feeling, capable of seeing the beauty of a tree, the smile of a child, and the agony of a woman who has never had a full meal.
You have to have this extraordinary feeling, this sensitivity to everything -to the animal, to the cat that walks across the wall, to the squalor, the dirt, the filth of human beings in poverty, in despair. You have to be sensitive -which is to feel intensely, not in any particular direction, which is not an emotion which comes and goes, but which is to be sensitive with your nerves, with your eyes, with your body, with your ears, with your voice. You have to be sensitive completely all the time. Unless you are so completely sensitive, there is no intelligence. Intelligence comes with sensitivity and observation.

The Book of Life

JKrishnamurti


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Money Mayweather Can’t Read

Sat Aug 23, 2014

That was the title of a video I saw on the front page of YouTube today. Here is the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vskxj22-1c -

Now, let me first say my feelings about Mayweather range from admiration to confusion.  He has taken some cheap shots in fights (after cheap shots were taken at him) even threatened to beat up Larry Merchant after that fight, the list could go on and on for the negative. I think it is hard, even for him, to separate the image he created to sell fights from the man he really is. But at the end of the day, none of that is any of my business.

That being said, the truth is he is a self made millionaire and one of the most successful athletes alive today. And people want giving him shit because he struggled to read radio copy.

When I was 30 years old, I had a one-year-old son and was working at Starbucks. I was lost. I thought things would be different by the time I was 30 but the weight of my poor reality got heavier and heavier every day. The store I worked at was just off Mulholland Drive in the Bel Air Hills. You wouldn’t even know it existed unless you were super rich and lived up there. It just happened to be the store I got assigned to when I applied at a job fair.

I got pretty close to a couple customers up there as they seemed to know what the fuck was going on with this thing called life. It wasn’t just the fact that they were wealthy, but they were content, they knew how to make their money make money, they had confidence. All the shit I lacked during that time in my life.

One day I was sitting across from this 80 year old guy who always wore paint covered khakis and a ragged t-shirt. I thought he was a construction foreman. There were always construction guys coming in, taking a break from working on the multi-million dollar estates that pepper those hills. But he was not a construction foreman. He was a billionaire. He made his money in real-estate and still worked on the houses and buildings he bought himself.

One day I was sharing a coffee with  him while I was on break. I hate to say it but I was bitching and moaning about my current situation, broke, baby, no hope, no options.

“What do you wish was different?” he said.

I’m a writer and a comedian and I don’t think those skills will get me very far. I wish I knew how to do something else but I feel like it’s too late to learn anything, I whined.

He laughed and asked me if I ever heard about the story about the Temple Shamus?

I hadn’t. And that’s when he told me a story that changed my life.

A man walked into the temple and asked the Rabbi if he had any jobs. The man was poor and willing to take any work he could get. The Rabbi said that he was looking for a Temple Shamus, a man who would fix things up around the Temple, take the trash out and do odd jobs.

I’ll take it, said the man.

The next day he came in early excited to work. The Rabbi had the man clean all the windows, take out the trash, then straighten up the office. When he was through, he asked the Rabbi if there was anything else he could do?

Yes, said the Rabbi, I need you to read some notes I took and write them into a document.

The Man’s head fell. Ashamed, he admitted that he didn’t know how to read or write.

The Rabbi said he needed somebody who could read and write so he fired him.

The Man thanked him for the opportunity nonetheless and went home brokenhearted. He was still broke and without options. While going through his sofa looking for change, he found some buttons. He had an idea. He remembered his grandmother had given a small box of buttons that he stored in in the closet. He took all the buttons and went down to the corner.

Anybody that walked by, he told them about the buttons. He hustled so hard, by the end of the day, he sold all the buttons. The next day, he found a wholesaler and took the money he made and bought all the buttons he could.

He set up a small table on the corner and within months, was knows as the “Button Man.” Within a year, he had a small storefront shop and within 2 years he had four more.

Finally, he decided to open a bank account and possibly buy the places he was renting from.

He went into the bank with a suitcase full of money. The Banker was so impressed with all the good business the man was doing he offered The Man loans for any amount he needed. He slide the loan agreements across the table for The Man to sign.

The Man smiled and said, I’m sorry but I don’t know how to read or write.

Oh, my god, said the banker, imagine what you would be doing if you could read and write.

I’d be a Temple Shamus, The Man replied.

When I heard that story, I realized two things. Use what you have and hustle until dreams come true. And that’s exactly what Mayweather did/done/keeps on doing.

 

 

 


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