It’s the same old story. You dream up an idea for a half hour show, you write all 6 episodes, shoot it in your garage and then the day it premieres on the web, it’s watched by Mark Cuban who makes you an offer the next day.
It’s absolutely crazy – trust me, no one was more knocked off their socks than myself – but the first time I ever set about doing my own half-hour comedy has already landed a TV deal here in the US and Canada? Crazy!!!
It wasn’t without its hurdles. I had a full time temp job that began the very day we started shooting. The budget was ultra-low-shoestring so if we discovered later that there was an audio problem it was too late to do anything. Oh, and you’ll like this; on one shoot, a guest actress decided not to show up but took it one step further and didn’t even bother telling me until I called her asking where she was! When I realized we were a person down, we had 45 minutes to all scramble into action and find an actor to take over the role (the amazing Austin Grehan, Ep4).
While we were editing the first few shows, we got our first bit of good news. Zodiak Rights, the third largest TV production company and distribution agency in the world, saw some early edits and wanted to grab the rights and sell it to TV (I know some people over there because they’d taken an interest in my work a couple of years ago). So that was nice – I mean we hadn’t even debuted on the web yet. But no one could have predicted what happened next. I am not making this up.
We debuted on Hulu on April 25th, 2011 and apparently Mark Cuban was watching. Not sure why. Pure chance, I think. And the man with very expensive taste – and very good taste, (hah!) – decided he wanted the show for his cable/satellite network HDnet. He had his people contact me the very next morning at 9am on April 26th, 2011 asking if they could acquire the series. And that’s kinda how it went down.
I sent him a Facebook friend request with a note saying “Hey, thanks for digging Goodnight Burbank” partially because I couldn’t believe it. But he accepted within minutes and emailed me back asking me how many episodes there were. Surreal, I know.
So never having written a half-hour show before – let alone 6 – and also never having produced a half hour series before, oh, and never having co-starred in a half-hour comedy before – let’s not forget that – I was rather amazed that this little creation blew up within a day. And should you be wondering, I do NOT have an agent NOR do I have a manager. No agents have wanted to rep me (well, that’s not entirely true; I have turned a couple down).
So what next? You can see Season One on HDnet and Hulu. Pretty soon we’ll be offering the option to purchase each episode and an accompanying outtakes package that will be made available to people around the world. Zodiak are hoping to sell the series worldwide to more TV networks so our fingers are crossed. We’re developing an iPad/iPhone/Android app that delivers the best headlines/punchlines fresh every day from our twitter account (@goodniteburbank). I’m trying to work in some time to dream up Season Two. And I’m wondering if I should Facebook Mr. Cuban to see if he wants to do drinks now. Hope he pays.
Mark Cuban was interviewed yesterday on Shira Lazar’s “What’s Trending” and you can hear him talk about GNB and picking it up at 2:28 in!
And here is the announcement in the Hollywood Reporter!