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The Pitch: Drumline

posted by Dave on 12/10/02

It’s a well documented fact (and by “well documented”, I mean I am 100% making all of this up), that in addition to my duties here at W-D (which I have been grossly shirking for the past year); I have a side career in the entertainment industry. Yes, folks. I am a pitch man. Aspiring and sometimes even established screenwriters come to me and allow me the opportunity to take their work to studio executives and give it a voice.

The only thing is.. I don’t have what you could says is an “eagle eye” when it comes to which screenplays I decide are good enough to pitch to the execs. Now, I’m not saying that my ideas get rejected. Quite the contrary actually. You see, I have a talent for getting the greenlight on movie ideas that cause 99% of the free thinking population to scratch their heads and wonder, “Who in their right fucking mind thought this would be a good idea for a movie?”; and subsequently, all of my clients movies flop big time.

You may recognize some of the movies I’ve successfully pitched in the past few years:

On the Line - When I told the execs that it was like “Swingers” meets “N’Sync”, they were foaming at the mouth to make this picture. Of course, I failed to mention that it was Lance Bass and not Justin Timberlake that was going to be the lead. I thought Joey FatOne would be able to pick up the slack and help carry the picture. Note to self: FatOne may be able to draw an audience to a film about a chubby Greek broad.. but not even the magic of a fat Italian boyband alum can carry a movie with quite possibly the most uncharismatic leading man ever seen on celluloid.. Lance Bass. Seriously, if it was a toss up of whether to put On the Line on his acting resume… or his performance playing the drunk looking boyband member goofing off behind Darren in the “Darren’s Dance Grooves” commercial.. I’d tell him to go with the commercial.

Swept Away - When I told them it was kinda like Cast Away, only with Madonna and an unknown foreign actor in the leads, instead of Tom Hanks and Wilson the Volleyball… the execs were intrigued. When I told them we had Madonna’s husband, Guy Ritchie, signed on to direct… it pretty much sealed the deal. I believe their words were, “Mr. Ritchie is such a hot director at the moment… There’s no way he would risk career suicide just for his wife.”. Boy were they fucking wrong… Oh.. and Madonna.. you’re forty five. If I wanted to pay to see a forty five year old woman in a bikini, I’d go down to Point Pleasant, NJ… pay the five bucks to get on the beach, hit the Tiki Bar and stare at a plethora of old, haggard, bikini clad Jersey women. Hey, at least the Tiki Bar has beer… and lots of it. Madonna.. has no beer.

So keeping with that theme, I’d like to present a transcript of my latest successful pitch. It’s opening this Friday and it’s called Drumline.

The anonymous movie exec is in bold and I’m in the “regular” font, cause I had Raisin Bran yesterday. Oh boy, let the bad jokes begin!

Hey, how are you doing today?

Doing just fine.. So, what have you got for me?

Alright.. now you might want to be sitting down for this.

Ummm.. I’m already sitting down.

I know.. I just wanted to recycle that joke for the two billionth time.

Kind of like.. “Quick.. call 911!!”

What’s the number?!..


In all seriousness, I’ve got a great idea here. An idea that is absolutely unique. There’s never been another movie like it.

Sort of like “Maid in Manhattan”?


No.. this movie really is original. Alright.. now close your eyes and picture this: “In the high stakes world of black university college marching bands..”

Wait.. Hold on. Did you say “black university college marching bands?”


Just making sure.

Okay.. so the overall plot is: This new kid shows up at the school and he totally shakes things up with his daring new style of drumming. The older kids are resistant… but they know he’s good, so eventually they allow him to incorporate his style and they win a big marching band competition at the end.

Well, I’ll give you one thing. It certainly is “original”. But that might not necessarily be a good thing in this case. Do you honestly think a lot of people would go see this movie?

You see… it’s all about target marketing. Now granted, the majority of the American public would never go see this movie in a million years… but I can guarantee you that every single marching band member at predominantly black universities will.

Yeah… but that’s what… like a few thousand people.. tops?

You’re not taking into account our secret weapon though.

What’s the secret weapon?

We’ve got Nick Cannon signed on to be the lead actor.

Who the fuck is Nick Cannon?!

You see, I pretty much said the same thing… but then I looked his name up on and it appears that he was a member of the cast of Nickelodeon’s “All That” and subsequently had his own one man show on the network.

So he’s sort of like Amanda Bynes?

Yes, pretty much in every respect, other than the fact that he’s black and has testicles.


So not only will we have the target audience of black university marching band members coming out to see this in the theaters… but once this movie hits video shelves, there will be hordes of white pre-teens, who have spent more time in their lives with Nickelodeon than with their parents, lining up to rent it.

Why won’t they come to see it in the theaters?

Well, most likely because they’d actually like to hear the movie. You know what the biggest misconception in Hollywood today is?

That Jennifer Lopez is the next Julia Roberts… instead of more realistically being called the next Sandra Bullock?

Well, no. But that’s a good one. The biggest misconception is that the white American public is not interested in going to see “black” movies. The truth is, the color line in this nation has pretty much been knocked down when it comes to entertainment. Matter of fact, seeing white actors playing second fiddle comic relief to black actors, when it’s a dual top billing situation, has pretty much become the norm. In the entertainment world, it’s a Hip Hop Nation.. and if it’s a movie with a multi-racial cast.. and you are a white character and not down with the hip lingo in these movies.. you’re portrayed as the big white dork guy who inevitably ends up trying to use urban phrases and looking like a jackass. The thing is however… even though racial equality has been achieved on the screen… when it comes to the movie going experience.. white people generally tend to shy away from seeing a mostly black cast movie in the theaters and wait to either rent it on video or catch it on cable, basically because the concept of the “movie going experience” differs greatly between blacks and whites.

That’s a little stereotypical, bordering on racist, isn’t it?

Hey, stereotypes exist for a reason. In this case, I’m speaking from my own personal experience that anytime I’ve been in a movie theater and someone is causing a disturbance or yelling at the screen, nine times out of ten, the person causing the ruckus has been African-American. I know I’m not alone on this. I know being labeled a racist is the modern day equivalent of being called a Communist… God forbid.. …but let’s get real. Why is it alright for every black comedian of the last thirty years to incorporate some lame “white people can’t dance” shimmy into their routine.. but you try and say something you’ve learned over the years to be true about black people, on a whole, tending to be louder than white people within the confines of a movie theater and you’re ostracized by the PC police. I’m not saying ALL black people are loud when in a movie theater… but as a whole, it’s been my personal experience that they are. And hey, I’m not even saying I mind it. Matter of fact, most of the time what people blurt out is pretty damn funny… but at the same time… I’ll tell you this; the media can tell me till I’m blue in the face that the reason “black” movies don’t fare as well in the theater is because of a lack of interest from white people… but I think the real reason has nothing to do with what’s on the screen.. but rather what’s going on in the theater itself that’s keeping white people away.

Wow. So let me guess… Next you’re going to tell me that some of your best friends…

Not even gonna dignify that with a response. Last time I checked.. this was America… but unfortunately when a white person has an “opinion” on something that goes against the PC police that protects every other race in this country.. they are immediately labeled “racist” and portrayed as future Klan members. The truth is, if the media could stop being the PC Gestapo for a second… and really attempt to get to the heart of the issues… they’d see that in this case, it’s more than likely, a white teenager would shy away from seeing “Friday After Next” because of not wanting to have to sit through the black movie going experience… rather than not going to see it because the movie itself has a majority black cast.

(I can already predict one of W-D’s Forum members copying and pasting that last sentence and responding.. “We wouldn’t want to see “Friday After Next” for neither of those reasons.. We wouldn’t want to see it because the second one sucked major penguin anus and the first one was only funny because of Chris Tucker)

Alright.. so how are we going to try and market this movie? On the internet maybe?

Well, given the straightforward plot of the movie… we can’t use the IMEWOF.

What’s the IMEWOMF??

The Internet Movie Elitist Word of Mouth Factor. You see, you get people on the internet, claiming what “genius” or “understated brilliance” a specific movie is… and sure enough, as word spreads, people will generally be too intimidated by these faceless, anonymous opinions to go against the grain and form an opinion for themselves. Wes Anderson and the Wilson Bros. have been doing this for years.

They have?

Well, let’s put this way. Did you enjoy “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums”?

My God yes. Those movies have such a subtle brilliance to them. Pure genius.

Now ask yourself this.. When you were watching them. Did you even laugh once?

Well.. no. But those movies are god-like comedies.

Comedies that never made you laugh once.

Oh my lord… The IMEWOMF.

The IMEWOMF. Hell, why do you think Owen Wilson has a successful movie career despite looking like a Rottweiler bit half of his nose off?

Good point. So basically we have a movie on our hands here with a somewhat unique concept… and an extremely small target market.

Pretty much. But you have to take into account that this movie will cost almost nothing to make.. and we can get some really low level “star” to play the role of a mentor to the kid. Someone like… Orlando Jones?

The 7-Up guy?

Poor Orlando Jones. The guy could cure cancer and AIDS in the span of a week and people would still always remember him as “The 7-Up Guy”

Waittaminute… AIDS is still around? I haven’t heard anything about it in years.

I’m pretty sure it’s still around. But it’s way back there in the early 90’s media concentration. Let me scroll back in my Media Awareness Textbook here. Let’s see.. snipers… terrorism… kidnappings… school shootings… Lewinsky…. OJ…. Oh here it is… According to this book, AIDS hasn’t been a focus on the media radar since about 1992.

Alright.. so we get the 7-Up Guy. Make this movie on the cheap. Then what.. What type of marketing campaign are we looking at?

Well, we buy up some airtime about three weeks before the movie’s release.. For the first two week of commercials.. we show the commercial of the main character and his strife to be accepted in the drumline. Then for the last week of commercials leading up to the release date.. we show a shortened version of that commercial.. and at the end say, “Why would guys wanna see Drumline? Then BAM.. show some skimpily clad chicks shaking major booty.. and end the commercial with.. “That’s why.”

I like what I’m hearing. I’m gonna have to run it by my people.. but I have a good feeling that we’re in business here…

Good deal..

(deep movie trailer voice) In a world… where a man’s desire to write for a website seems to coincide with whether or not he has a full time job…

Dave Loving the universal messages in pop music these days… cause let’s face it, we can all relate to J-Lo’s “Jenny From the Block” on some level.

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