Awhile back my wife and I were thinking about selling our California ranch and moving to Texas. We had made a film about the border, called… Border
Texans and the rest of America seemed to dig the film. Hollywood? Not so much.
After sixteen states on the promo tour, countless packed theatres, great reviews and two screenings for Congress, I had yet another audience member grab my arm and ask “When is Hollywood going to make more films like this? Can you tell them to make movies that we want to see?”
“Ma’am,” I would explain, “If Hollywood wanted to make more films like Border
, right now I would be in the middle of a three picture studio deal instead of on a bus tour of the South Eastern United States. I’m sorry but I don’t have an answer for you. “ She was a very nice lady. I hated to disappoint her.
So last fall I’m kicking back in the barn, flipping through the ranch real estate section of Farm and Ranch magazine when the phone rings. It’s Kip Perry, co-owner of Echo Entertainment
. Echo had been around for 23 years. They had cut their teeth on movie trailers for Disney and sports shows for ESPN. They had done a few TV series, and now Kip wanted to take me out to lunch.
Lunch was good. Small, but good. We went to a very trendy Hollywood European style restaurant where everybody has the option to sit with strangers and get their food on a board. I loved the spread. It was tasty, cute and very petite. Just as Kip was about to go into his pitch, I had to stop him: “Dude, I’m sorry. This food tastes great, and looks even better, but I’m still hungry. I need to order another lunch.”
The fact that the meeting didn’t end right there and that he actually laughed was the first sign of how much I was going to enjoy working with this guy.
“We’re going to do a show about rookies, people who have never run for political office before. Every day citizens who have said that enough is enough! People who feel that they need to make a difference. We are going to follow them for the next year as they give up their regular lives and make their political runs for the US Congress.” Kip said, as I put down my second board of prosciutto and Brie.
“Sounds hot, is that the kind of show your company usually does?” I asked.
“I’m starting a new company.” He said.
“Oh. Okay, but I highly doubt that you are going to get a network to pick up a series about grassroots conservatives wanting to make a difference.” I said.
“We’re going to start a new network too.”
“Really?” Now he had my complete attention.
I could feel the schpiel approaching: “Yep. It’s going to be a three-platform media company: web, mobile, cable and satellite VOD. We are going to build programming around the core values and beliefs upon which America was founded. Then our viewers can jump on our social networking sites and participate in the kind of national conversations that are currently being dominated by only one side. We will make programming for all Americans. We are calling it “RightNetwork
The guy was pretty winded and he wasn’t even a smoker.
Last December we started filming “Running.” It has been an adventure and an inspiration. There is a hunger in this country and watching regular folks put everything that they have on the line to be a part of the national political process has been simply stellar.
As in any start-up company, we get to wear many hats. I dug working with Kip so much that we got to create more shows together:
“Politics and Poker”….every week Tom Wilson has four VIP guests come to his fake TV house, with his fake TV wife, Julene, to talk politics and play poker. Remember, this is not a politically correct network. If our guests want to drink beer or scotch while they play, then they drink beer or scotch. The winner gets a check for his favorite charity and the producers get to have a ball. I don’t know what I like more, seeing national security experts and counter terrorism agents critiquing mis-en-scene in the latest box office efforts or having leggy blonde models extol the virtues of marksmanship and the importance of gun ownership. The humor and chemistry of this show lets us go places where no one else is going on TV. Think “I Love Lucy” meets “This Week.” I am really excited to see what happens.
“Kivi TV”….Kivi Rogers is awesome. I darn near peed in my pants when I first saw his stand up routine about roller skates. This guy gave up a steady gig as a successful aerospace engineer for a shot at a stand up career. On the way he had time to make six kids and do eleven USO tours. He brings the kind of …”it’s okay to laugh at ourselves” humor and hip common sense to the table that just might get us to remember that we are all Americans again.
I gotta tell you, I love going to work every day. We are always creating something. But maybe one of the best jobs that I have been able to do is find great independent films to license that Hollywood and the mainstream media won’t show.
To be able to pick up the phone and talk to another filmmaker and say, “Hey how would you like millions of people to see your film,” is cooler than hell.
To be able to have an idea on Monday and in the can, cut and delivered by Friday, rocks.
Even though we had never released even one public sentence about RightNetwork, the MSM got wind of us last April. By mid-morning the Huffington Posts and Politicos articles had thousands of posts on us.
Joy Behar spent a good portion of her show railing against us with Lewis Black.
Keith Olberman gave us a “Worst Person In The World Award”…even though we had never met him.
But I think my favorite was a comment from a Huffy deriding Kelsey Grammer as a spokesman for what they thought was obviously going to be a homophobic, racist network. The irony of the fact that Kelsey was currently starring in La Cage Au Folles
on Broadway, seemed to be lost on this particular blogger.
RightNetwork launched today. We will be on computers and phones across the country. We will be available on 4 million television sets, with millions more to follow.
We will bring America the unexpected. We are proud Americans who want to step forward to bring all of America into the conversation.
We want to create a place where Americans can be inspired and entertained.
We want to make a difference.