In the past few weeks, our Australian Shepherd, Buffy, has taken up a new habit: She puts her foot in her bowl when she’s hungry. She stands there for a few minutes and, if we don’t feed her, she starts to slowly raise and lower her paw in her bowl. If that doesn’t work, she begins to make little insistent sounds, as if to say, “We each have our jobs and yours is to feed me.” In short, Buffy is direct. She knows what she wants and she’s good at asking for it.
I, on the other hand, tend to do a lot of hemming and hawing. Rather than making decisions using logic (or something like it), I tend to follow a slower and more intuitive path. If, for instance, I am drawn to a show idea, I simply trust that there’s a reason I’m drawn to it and, eventually, that reason becomes clear to me. In other words, I take a very long time to do anything and, when I finally do it, I find it difficult to explain why. In this way, I am not unlike many of the broadcasters I know.
Broadcasters, I find, typically fall into three categories, with the majority of them falling into the same category that I’m in: Slow, indecisive, and inarticulate. Perhaps because I identify with them (and the churnings of their Byzantine gears) I no longer get upset when they take two, three or even ten months to respond to a pitch. I simply wait patiently and sometimes I even forget that I pitched them at all. On those occasions, I am quite pleasantly surprised when I do finally hear back from them, particularly if their answer is something other than “no.”
So, what are the two other categories? Well, the worst for me are the broadcasters who simply don’t follow up at all after you pitch them. They don’t write to you, they don’t reply to your e-mails, and they don’t take your calls. It’s as if your bible has been sucked into a black hole with nothing at the other end except perhaps a bored intern who uses your pitch to even out the legs of a wobbly table. I’m sure there’s a reason these broadcasters behave the way they do but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is.
But the best broadcasters are the ones who are the most like Buffy. They know exactly what they want and, when it comes to your show, they either put their foot in the bowl or they don’t. It isn’t necessary for them to consult with 30 people before telling you that your show is right for their channel or not. Like Buffy, they are clear about their needs so you can go ahead and feed them or get on with your life. In my view, these broadcasters are the most merciful.