I had never done anything like this before. Until I did.
This blog is a bit of a departure from my normal subject matter.
But since what I’m about to tell you I did is a bit of a departure from what I usually do, I figure it’s ok.
You see, a few years ago, I had an idea.
Now, that’s not really breaking news. I come up with a lot of ideas, many of which I talk about here, and most of which are theater related. From my idea for an interactive show set at a Prom in the 1980s (The Awesome 80s Prom) to a musical about a Catholic boy band (Altar Boyz) to a show about a group of 40 year olds who reassemble their high school garage band (Gettin’ The Band back Together) . . . and even a Broadway board game, I’ve come up with a bunch.
In fact, my Great-Grandfather, who was a Ziegfeld wanna-be Producer, Publicist, and Author, used to say that all entrepreneurs are “Idea Engineers.” (He had a business card that said that and everything.)
But this specific idea . . . well, it wasn’t for the stage at all.
It was an idea for a TV show.
It came to me when I was watching Reno 911. You know that show, right? It’s an improv based Cops mockumentary, and it’s hysterical. And because I am such a fan of improv based entertainment, they had me at Episode 1.
And one night, after binge-watching like 16 episodes in a row, I needed a break from belly-laughing so I flipped the channel over to HBO to catch a 2:00 AM episode of a show called Cathouse, a documentary/reality show about folks that work in a real live brothel.
You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?
It took me about 2 seconds of watching the characters on Cathouse to think . . . “What would it be like, if these two shows, Reno 911 and Cathouse,
“It could be called . . . The Bunny Hole, and it would be a mockumentary in the style of Reno 911 about a struggling brothel in Pahrump, Nevada.” (Where you-know-what is legal.)
But I had never produced a TV show before. I did produce a documentary a few years ago. But a TV show? Where would I even begin?
Since I had never done anything like it before, I convinced myself it was impossible.
But the idea just kept popping up. Usually when I was out with friends and we were tossing around crazy ideas. They always responded positively and I kept thinking that I should do something with it.
“But Ken, you don’t know how to make a pilot. Stick to what you know. That’s enough. And hey – it’s not like you’ve produced Hamilton yet anyway.”
I listened to my limiting belief and stuffed the idea deep underneath my blanket of insecurity . . . where it sat for years. Literally years.
And then, for some reason, one day, a couple of years ago, I finally just said . . .
“What the @#$% am I waiting for? So you’ve never made a TV pilot before. So what? It’s a pilot. It’s not brain surgery. No one is going to live or die by what you do. Just start . . . and see what happens.”
So I did.
I started by calling some of the funniest people I know (including many who were involved with those first few shows I mentioned above, including original cast members in The Prom and Altar Boyz), pitching them the idea, and getting them in a room. That was Step 1.
Then we met again. That was Step 2.
And then we met again. And we improvised. Step 3, 4, 5 . . .
And after awhile we had characters, and a backstory about this struggling brothel. And we were ready to shoot.
So I went to Pahrump, Nevada (I thought shooting on location was key to the real-feel of it all) and scouted a house. Step 6.
Then I raised a little money. Step 7.
Then I rented the house. Step 8.
Then I hired a crew. Step 9.
Then we all went to Pahrump. Step 10.
And for seven days we shot about 70 hours of footage. Step 11.
And after many, many more small steps . . . the next thing you knew, I had a pilot!
Bam. And in that moment, I had done what I said I couldn’t do. And like most things, once you get into the doing of it, it’s never as hard as you imagined it would be in your mind.
The small steps continued with entering that pilot into film festivals, and wouldn’t you know, we were selected for a whole bunch and won awards at three of them!
Can you believe it?
After that, we took that pilot and we chopped it up into an 11 episode web series (which is all the digital entertainment rage these days) and . . . insert trumpet sounds here . . . we just released it this morning.
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, duh, of course, I want you to watch it, like it, and tell all your friends to watch it. These things are all about the number of views. So thanks for that in advance.
But the most important reason I’m telling you this story is . . .
I know . . . for a fact . . . and I’d bet money on this . . . that every single one of you reading this has had an idea of something you’ve wanted to do that you haven’t done before. Maybe you’ve got an idea for a play, or a musical, or a TV show, or an app, restaurant, or new fangled fitness routine. But you’ve stopped yourself from doing it, simply because you haven’t done it before.
Unless your idea is actually brain surgery, I suggest you just start doing it . . . small step by small step. And before you know it, it’ll be done. And you won’t be able to say you haven’t done it before.
And the thing is . . . you never, ever, know what may happen when you execute your idea.
But I can guarantee what will happen to that idea if you don’t do it.
Will our show, The Bunny Hole, make it to network or Netflix or beyond? Who knows. That’s not why we made it. We made it because we liked the idea and we wanted to get it done. And we did. And hopefully, the journey will continue. But even if it doesn’t, I’ll just go on to the next idea, and the next idea, and the next idea until one does break through. And even then I’ll probably keep doing stuff.
Because it’s the making stuff that is the important part. Not the “making it.”
Before I give you the link, I should tell you . . . it does take place at a brothel, so the material is a bit of a departure from my usual fare. So be ready for that. (Mom – that means you – you might want to steer clear of this one.)
I do hope you’ll watch.
But you know what would be even cooler? I hope even more that you’ll take one of those ideas that you’ve been kicking around for awhile. You know, that really good idea that you’ve had, and have been talking to your friends about. I just hope you take one of those ideas . . . and just do it.
Watch my new web series, The Bunny Hole, here.
P.S. After you watch, if you want to learn more about my step-by-step process of getting stuff I’ve never done before actually done, click here.