Monday, June 18, 2012

when reality isn't real enough

Father's day weekend...  and what a weekend it was too. 

Last week I had an order for a 40th surprise birthday party for a girl who is fascinated by the whole "movie star lifestyle"...  Her husband made her think he struck out for her 40th and all the while she was mad at him, he was planning what had to be the best surprise party ever!

I did a good sized cake (made a little on this one even!) and I'm pretty pleased with it. This is what happens when a client says "hollywood.... GO!")

       I hate to admit it, but I had (very falsly) built up an image of the client as an over the top rich guy with more money than sense, with a need to show off.  When Carey and I arrived at the party site ( their house) we were surprised to see that much of the neighborhood had been closed off and large white tents were being put up. There were search lights on the lawn and a large red carpet leading under the tents and to the front door of the birthday girls home, and men frantically working to get the the bars, photo booths, and DJ area set up in the short time allowed. It was quite a sight, and obvious that this was not your average party, and I've been to tons of them to know!
     As We set up the cake in the house's beautiful kitchen, a very nice guy in athletic shorts and a baseball jersey came in welcomed us and thanked us for the work we had done.  It was our client, and he was very down to earth with a jersey that matched his sons team uniform...  He told us to help ourselves with anything we needed and couldn't stop thanking us for the cake.  My invisioned image of this guy was very wrong, and he continued to show it all through the evening.  It turns out he's a very hard working small business owner, who just flat out really loves his wife. (even if every guy at the party did have to hate him a little , just for setting the bar so impossibly high with his wife's party!)  In short, the party was awesome, the guest all good people and the host was tops.  It was an honor to be at the party of such good people.

        After finishing out my fathers day on my sailboat, with the kids, I get back to the shop and just this morning one of the production companies that I chat with sends me an email ( and I realize that by writing this I may be burning a few bridges, but so be it...)  Now, over the last few years this production company has created a bunch of the "drama TV" you see on various networks, and I've been talking to them about doing something "good and up-lifting".  Today I got this as a reply.  "Love your ideas and direction, but it isn't what the market calls for" ... " today's TV viewer wants more real life drama, and expects something exciting and unusual".     The email goes on to explain that they're interested in producing several other shows, and looking to cast them, and wondered if I'd be interested in what is basically cookie cutter reality TV. ( again sorry...  I just heard a bridge ignite)

        We worked for a solid week on the event and we were inspired by what we saw on Saturday.  The party was great but the people there we even better, topped off by the love this guy had to have to do what was done for his unsuspecting wife.  The ass chewing he took all week for "not having" a party for her, and the shear number of friends that showed up in black tie, none of whom tipped her off.  That's LOVE.  That's the type of thing I'd watch over and over.  And as we stood in the client's packed home, sweating from the combined heat of all the people inside, teary eyed as he proclaimed his love and admiration for his wife, I couldn't help but feel lucky and as if I had been improved by the spectacle.  I felt so inspired that I wanted to share that type of love for life with other people and it donned on me to email the very production company that beat me to the punch, and tell them this is what "REAL LIFE" looks and feels like.  It's not about the big party, or the homecoming of thousands of war hardened veterans or what ever other event in our travels on earth...    It's about the love of each person in the room.  The life they share with each other and with me.  I feel this everyday and try to think about it as often as possible, yet it's lost on those who decide what you get to see on TV ( and supported by the fact that people watch it)

According to "reality TV" experts, real life is multi-millionaires doing cakes while fighting with family.  It's people wrestling gators, and tiny people having too many kids.   Over the top brides and spoiled brats with mother's who try to live through their children.  Where are the good people?  Where are the good causes?  Why can't we produce something that makes the viewer stop what they're doing and just let someone know how much they love 'em?  Why not spend our production talents for something that makes people feel closer to each other?  This world is so small and if we listen to the people in charge full of troubles and bad stuff.  I believe ( and I think if you stop and look long enough, you may too) that the world is filled with good people, some of them work hard everyday, with nothing else in mind but to show the people they love most that they care, love and are inspired by them...

Why in the world can't the executives at these super networks see that?  maybe we should start a show where every week we take the network execs' and ask them to do silly stunts, eat aweful things then ask them to produce an uplifting emotion in a viewer....  the ones that fail get voted off? 

I don't think I'd be watching, but it could be interesting?  so...  for now, I'm moving to the swamp, hiring some little people, having a bunch of kids and making cakes! Hollywood here I come!

Peace N Love



  1. Well said Mike! I applaude your honesty and truthful opinion! Also, great cakes!!

    Judi Dadtka

  2. Beautiful cake!!!!!

    Oh I so hear you on that Mike!!! There is too much crap on TV, I love your idea and I for one would watch it and I net a lot of other people would too. We need more feel good TV. I was smiling the whole time I was reading this story, I Love it!! I think a lot of people would watch this type of show (more than the producers think). By the way, I can't wait to meet you at Cake Love in October :-)