#47 – 2016 Year in Review

Normally I start off my Year in Review posts with the stupid shit I did from the past year, but this year I have way more things I am proud of than embarrassed by. Additionally, my stupid shit is not as sexy as it used to be either. Call both those things a result of maturity or whatever, it’s how my year turned out and I couldn’t be happier about that.

Things I’m Proud Of

  • Signed With An Agency

I never had an agent or manager. I barely started using a lawyer in 2015 because that’s when deals being offered began requiring one to look out in my best interest. As far as needing management and agency representation, I never really pursued it, and they never really pursued me. I’ve always heard the negative aspect of having an agent, that they’re greedy, unreliable, etc. That hasn’t been my experience, because my agent was my friend before working with me. He was an executive at various TV networks, so understood the industry from a different angle than a typical agent.

 

  • Sold A Show to MTV

I’ve been pitching shows for six years with long breaks in between. I have earned some development deals at production companies, and helped develop many shows for networks, but this was the first time I sold something on my own with my partners. It was the easiest pitch I had ever been on. MTV was the dream home, only the third pitch we went on, and we received an offer four days after the pitch.

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Josh and I went on a lot of pitches in 2016. The MTV deal was a learning experience that we wont soon forget. This picture was from another meeting we had with Jamar about another show we sold together.

  • Visited Hawaii

I rarely travel other than when work takes me somewhere. This was the second vacation I ever took. Hawaii is everything everyone says it is. Zoe basically had to force me to go with her, but I am glad she did and I love her for that. This was definitely the most relaxing part of my year and one of the more reflective times I have ever had.

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This was my enduring picture from 2016 in Hawaii. I love that lady Zoe.

  • Worked at Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival

I wrote about this previously so I will spare you more rambling, but it truly was an exciting career reward to finally be a part of this festival. Getting to work with comedians I highly respect like Lewis Black, Louie Anderson, and Bobby Slayton was truly an honor. And getting to go to Canada for the first time made me fall in love with the peaceful nature of the people in Montreal.

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Michael, Me and Mary Lynn Rajskub in Montreal.

  • Worked on 5 Different Shows

My year started off slowly. I didn’t work on my first show in 2016 until May. That was Hellevator for GSN. That show tested my stamina, creativity on a tight financial budget, and my ability to communicate. It was a great reward to see it make it to air while I played a part in the control booth for the first time since Baggage on the Road in 2014, also for GSN. Then I did A LOT of development. I worked on another game show for Matador, the same company that did Hellevator, another game show for Renegade 83, a docu for Furry Prawn Productions, and another docu for Big Fish Entertainment. This year really showed me my eye for working in development with an eye toward the future.

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Felicia who hired me on Hellevator also helped me get another show later in the year. We worked well together on two horror themed game shows. The two women with us Jen and Sylvia Soska were two of the best hosts I’ve worked with.

  • Turned down a full-time staff position at Levity

I have wanted to work at Levity for years. They own many of the Improv and Levity Live comedy clubs. They manage many well-known comedians like Jeff Dunham and Trevor Noah. They produce TV shows, many of which you see on Food Network. I was offered a Director of Development position. Without getting into too many details, I felt the deal wasn’t fair for me, so I chose to gamble on myself, which has always worked out for me in the past. Who knows, maybe one day I will end up there in some capacity, but this wasn’t the right time, even though I really wanted it to be since the Improv is basically my home. I am grateful, however, that I have a girlfriend who understands why I turned down the high amount of money that I did, and an agent that understands what drives my career.

 

Stupid Shit I Did

  • Turned Down Gigs While Waiting on Deal to Close

I love to work. But in all my excitement of waiting for my MTV deal to close I forgot how long it takes for deals to close. I turned down the opportunity to work on The Wall on NBC. It just recently premiered and greatly regret missing that opportunity. I could have worked on that show with plenty of time to spare, but I was afraid I was going to have to leave early and I don’t like to leave a show before production ends, because it feels like jumping ship and possibly burning a bridge or any other metaphoric cliché you can think of.

 

  • Didn’t Keep Up with My Podcast

At a certain point in my year I got super busy with developing shows and Zoe started working from home where I was recording my podcast, so I stopped recording episodes after episode 50. I was already slowing down a bit from two a week to just once a week, but just like this blog, it was a tragedy of its own success. I will likely bring it back one day, but 50 episodes was a nice solid number to showcase 50 comedians that many people probably didn’t know beforehand.

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All you need to know about me.

 

  • Lost Deal at MTV

This was through no fault of my own or my partners. A new President came in at MTV in the midst of negotiations. I was so close to getting something on the air. It still hurts thinking back that the deal was killed, but I am now using it as motivation for 2017. And I do have to remind myself that I did sign other deals for shows I created in 2016 so you take the bad with the good.

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Looking out at 2017 like, “What up?”

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