PITCH ELEVATOR IS BACK!!
First off, we need to thank everyone for being so patient. When we started the Pitch Elevator initiative last October, we had planned to have it completed in early 2017. However, once we launched the first round of voting something really cool happened--we started getting interest in the show. What had begun as a fun booth activation at Stan Lee's Los Angeles Comic Con had turned into a treatment (which you can see here) that we were pitching to online distributors and network television executives. We hit "pause" on the voting while we worked to see if we could find distribution and sponsors.
I'm happy to report that we've had significant progress on that front. We've got some great sponsors and distribution partners interested launching a second season of Pitch Elevator in early 2018. Which means we've got a golden opportunity to use the current season to further develop the show.
INNOVATION = RISK
If you've read the pitch elevator treatment, you know that it is unlike any other show out there. We're using a well-established reality competition structure, but adding a completely novel social gamification layer. It's American Idol meets March Madness. If successful, we believe there is potential to create an entirely new category of show. But as with all innovation, there is risk. When something's never been done before, there's no way to know for certain it will work.
That sort of risk is problematic in Hollywood. It's very expensive to create a show, and you only get one shot to get it right. The network television execs we pitched really liked the concept, but there's no evidence we could point to that PROVES the show will work. There have been other Hollywood competition shows (e.g. Project Greenlight, Stephen Spielberg's "On the Lot," etc) but none of them have been very successful. Our show is different of course, and we believe it can succeed where others have failed. But at the end of the day that is simply an opinion. For us to level up with Pitch Elevator, we need to DEMONSTRATE that it works.
SILICON VALLEY vs. HOLLYWOOD
The process for greenlighting shows in Hollywood is a lot like the waterfall process of software development. You get all the smartest/most experienced people in the room and agree on all the major decisions. Once the stakeholders have bought in and the format/script is locked, the show is green-lit. Money is spent, the show is produced and released to the world. It's sink or swim--if the audience tunes in, the show goes on. If not it, everyone walks away and moves on to the next project.
Paul and I are Silicon Valley guys. What's interesting about the process described above is that it's the exact same way most software was developed 20 years ago. Today, no self-respecting startup would spend all their money on a single release! Instead, they go to market with a barebones version of their product and get real data from real customers. Armed with these learnings, they double down on what's working, cut bait on what isn't, and nimbly evolve the product. The process repeats itself in relentless pursuit of perfection.
That's what makes this first season of Pitch Elevator so special. We've got a chance to take a page out of the Silicon Valley playbook, and use agile development methods to create our show. We're treating Season 1 of Pitch Elevator as our barebones version (or minimum viable product, for those in the know). We're not spending money on big, fancy sets or expensive production crews. Instead, we're focusing all our energy (scrappy startup style) on the show's most critical questions. Does the format work? Do the game mechanics work? Is the whole thing fun to watch?
We'll experiment, takes some risks, and try some things that are out of the box. In the end, everything we learn with our Season 1 MVP will inform our approach for Season 2. And if things go well, hopefully that will be a springboard for something even larger in Season 3...
So, with that said, we're pleased to officially announce the new and improved Pitch Elevator schedule for Season 1:
10/6 Round 1 voting reopens VOTE NOW!
10/30 Round 1 voting closes
11/10 Semifinal Group 1 Voting
11/17 Semifinal Group 2 Voting
11/24 Semifinal Group 3 Voting
12/1 Semifinal Group 4 Voting
Final Panel TBD (Target Dec or Jan)
Note that (as always) this schedule is subject to change. As I mentioned, we plan to experiment, and expect to tweak things as we go along. We also expect to have some fun ways for members of the Legion to contribute to the show. Stay tuned for further information in the member's only private Facebook group, as well as the Pitch Elevator section in the Backlot of the forum.
ROUND 1 VOTING IS NOW OPEN!
If you haven't already, please take a moment to login to Media Mogul and vote in Round 1. If you don't already have a Media Mogul account (note that this account is not linked to SCOUT or anything else), you can easily create one here. The votes from this round will determine the 32 pitches (from out of 400 submitted!) that move on to the semifinals and make the historic first season of Pitch Elevator.
To all of our pitchers, GOOD LUCK! To all of our budding media moguls, HAVE FUN!