the secret ingredientI was making a pizza the other day (“making a pizza” means putting extra toppings on a frozen pizza), but when I looked in the fridge I didn’t have any pepperoni.

It was a nasty day outside and it ticked me off because if I had checked earlier I could have easily picked some up before I got to the final stages of “making” my dinner. Needless to say I chose to brave the elements and quickly run to the corner-store because really, a pizza without pepperoni isn’t much of a pizza at all.

It reminded me of this kid Tony I went to elementary school with whose family owned a pizza joint. This kid always knew the daily lessons’ answers before our teacher taught the class because whatever chapter we were supposed to read, he would read the next chapter as well, so he was always ready for whatever questions came up the next day.

As I was walking to the store to get the much needed pepperoni I was thinking about the prep I’m doing for some upcoming meetings I have in LA, and how I need to be prepared with all the ingredients for my shows; how I need to be prepared for the questions before they get asked.

When I talk about ingredients I mean: being an expert on the characters, setting and stories in my shows, knowing what Broadcaster I see my shows airing on, who will watch them, and why they’ll watch, knowing other shows in the genre of my shows – both shows that are similar, and shows that seem similar but are actually quite different, and having an understanding of how my shows can work in a multi-platform capacity.

It occurred to me I cannot leave a meeting to run out to find the answers to their questions like I was doing to get my pizza ingredients. And I cannot tell them I’ll get back to them later with the answers. I need to be 100% prepared before the meeting, and that means knowing all the ingredients my shows need, and having them ready.

I was discussing this with a colleague and he agreed, but countered with the question, “But there are so many different questions they can ask. How can you know which ones they’re going to ask?”


He’s got a point. I cannot possibly know exactly what they’ll ask. But what I can know is everything there is to know about my shows, because they’re my shows – I created them.

If I don’t know the answers the Execs will think“Well if he doesn’t know the answers who does?”But if I know everything there is to know about my shows I don’t need to worry about what questions they ask, because I know I’ll have the answers.

Before I go to LA next week I’ll be prepping for my meetings by looking through my shows and comparing them to other shows on TV. I’ll look at the other shows and make sure I have all the ingredients they have used to get made. I’ll review my shows and make sure I have every ingredient I could possibly need to make them.

By taking stock of what I do and don’t have: by researching the “recipes” before I “start cooking”; by doing thework before it is asked for, just like Tony in the 5th grade, I’ll have all the answers I’m asked.

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