Sunday, April 17, 2005

What A Deal....

A producer calls to inform you that his company is interested in featuring you on an educational program for PBS, hosted by a well-known celebrity. Intriguing.

You call back. The producer can't recall what subject he had in mind when he called you, explaining that he had called a lot of people. After fishing around a bit, he still can't quite pinpoint the subject, and starts asking questions about your areas of expertise.

After further discussion, the producer shifts from talking about the educational programming to your marketing strategy - have you ever considered making a documentary about your business?

The deal boils down to this: The company produces "documentary" material of varying lengths, for use as "interstitial programming" by PBS stations. It is building a "library" of material, and if it deems a segment suitable it pays the celebrity to record a brief introduction, and distributes the video to PBS stations. Not all of the videos it produces will be considered for such segments - many will simply go into its "library" for possible future productions. But if you participate, they will produce a video approximately eight minutes long featuring your material, and will give you a copy of that video. Also, they will produce a two minute video that highlights your business. (They promise to air that video clip on various cable channels, approximately fifty times, whether or not they do anything with the actual educational material you provide.)

All this for an "underwriting fee" of only $22,900.00. (And, the producer claims, they need an answer within days, because their production schedule is so busy.)

Curiously, there is no mention of either this company or its programming anywhere on the PBS website.

Now where did I put my checkbook....

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