Monday, July 23, 2012

sometimes from failure comes opportunity

Some of you may know that since my first few times on TLC, I'd been courted by a handful of production companies who work with various networks.  At one point things were very heated and I had a small army of people all of them focused on getting me on TV.  I had agents trying to recruit me, marketing professionals working for me and even ( and this was the dumbest thing I ever did) hired an overpriced "PR" firm.  The PR firms job seemed to me to be to hype things up and make up titles for me like "ultimate cake artist" and basically, bull shit their way through everything!  For a while it seemed like things were really going somewhere, but all the while I felt lost.  I felt like I was trying to do something that wasn't really me.  I don't mind putting on a show, look at Cakefest, but when the pressure leads you to consider being something you're not ( or at least pretending to be) it'll eat at you, and it really ate at me!  At one point I was straight out offered a show.  The network explained that they really wanted to work with me and all I had to do was take on the moniker of "king of chocolate"  and call the cakes I created, sugar art instead of cake, and use chocolate more often....  WHAT?  look at my work and if you find chocolate on any of my designs, it's because I was eating a Hershey's bar and got messy!  I would be lieing though if I didn't say that for at least a moment, I didn't considered it.  The opportunity to do something great, make an actual paycheck and pursue some of my own desires to create something good and positive, briefly overpowered my need to be honest.  But, hey... That's TV... and I've gotten smarter since then!

In the last couple weeks, I almost let myself do basically the same thing.  Things are heating up right now and if you've read any of my other blogs, you know that several TV shows are casting (or have already cast), and out of the blue, I was offered spots on 2 of them.  I hate to admit it, but I even briefly accepted one of them, only to get smart and later piss of the producers by backing out.  It wasn't a good fit for me.  I struggle to see how it could have been a good fit for anyone really, they offered very little, and by design they intend to make things very tough and drama filled.  The real kicker was that it was yet another re-hatched competition show.  Exactly what you've seen many times before, even with similar themes, but with a slightly different twist.  I've seen way to many people accept the prospect of TV without really considering the possible outcome.  In reality, I know way to many people that wish they hadn't let themselves become involved.  There really is a degree that you must settle and sell out to do these shows, and I hate that we are all so willing to do it for the 30 minutes we get to be on TV, and I'm included in that group!
I've bitched and moaned so much about TV that you would think I'd avoid it all together, but truth is I love shooting shows. (ok, so I'm a bit of a show off) I love what opportunities I've been given because of my silly little role on these silly little cake shows. I get to do what I love to do and that is to be around really great people!  To create things like Cakefest and to get to share my work with people at charity and educational events is one of the greatest gifts I've been given and I'm very thankful for that, but TV also has an after taste!  And it can be really bitter...

So as they say when one door closes, another opens, and here we are.  I've decided to stop complaining and give this idea of ours one final push!  We've been asked for ideas and pitches for the type of TV show you all know I've been saying needs to be done.  A show that is up-lifting, with as little negative or contrived drama as possible, and one that I'd be really happy to watch myself.  It's not that there aren't a few shows out there that are positive, but few celebrate the very core of what it is that we as HUMANS do, and what it is that I've become a sort of expert at...  Celebrating life!  We want to celebrate the celebrations,  the love between friends and families, the very core of what makes us human!  Even when things seem dark and cold there are bright flashes of genuine good out there that are too often over looked, and we need your help to find them! 

We are looking to you for help!  We need you and we want to hear about what you're doing for someone.  A friend recently told me of a older gentleman he met standing in tears outside of another friends restaurant.  He was standing next to a brand new Mustang convertible, and explained that he had just retired that day and had come there with his wife for dinner.  It seems he had always wanted a Mustang, but could never afford to buy one for himself, a story many could tell, but his family surprised him with it and I can't imagine the emotions stirred inside that deserving ol' guy!  Why wouldn't everyone want to share in that story?  What are we celebrating here?  A dude getting a new car?  NO!  It goes far deeper than that, by sharing his story we share the story and struggle of so many really good hard working people just like him.  Maybe we don't all end up with a sweet new "stang, but damn it we ought to!  Even deeper than that is what really drives us all internally as humans; Love...  In my line of work I get to see some really beautiful manifestations of love.  I'm there to deliver a cake usually, but sometimes a guy comes along that reminds you what the core of every celebration is really about. ( see my "when reality isn't real enough" blog)  Sometimes people love someone so much they buy them a car, or close off an entire neighborhood to surprise them on their birthday, but usually we just love em!  We all love somebody, and maybe just by watching a silly TV show about celebrations and love, we can be closer to them?  Maybe we can come to understand that we all have so much to celebrate even when it seems we don't?  There is already too much negativity and drama in the world today, lets find a way to change that, even if just 30 minutes at a time!

So, I'm asking for you're help.  If you're planning something, even something much more simple than giving someone a car, give me a call or email.  We're excited to hear about what you're doing and with any luck at all, we may just be able to share your story!  All I can promise for now is that we will have a chance to pitch the show to several networks, but we intend to keep a completely positive spin on it and even if the networks don't have the use for something good, we plan to do episodes as web cast.

A good thing is always worth doing, even if nobody ever knows you did it.  It feeds the soul, lifts the spirit, and gives us even more reason to celebrate!  Celebrate with us!

Peace N Love



  1. On it buddy. Let's see what we can do.

  2. Whatever happened to the cake shows where they just made cakes and we got to watch them? No drama other than the typical drama with delivering a cake. No hype. Just beautiful artistry?

  3. Linda... answer: they got done over and over, modified, stupified and turned into something that wasn't about cake at all... cake TV is pretty well burried thanks to some of the latest stuff, but people are still good, most of us work hard and we can fix some of the junk we've been fed... let'
    s do it!

  4. How about a show with Icing Smiles deliveries? :) It would include the child's whole story, AND the creation of awesome cakes!

  5. Mike very well put, I like hearing about good being done in this world. Problem is the networks just don't let us see it. They say it doesn't sell, hmmm. I would rather go back to the test pattern as to watch all the violence, negativity and drama.

  6. Mike you're a blessing to us all. I stopped watching those shows ages ago because of the forced drama and un-reality of the shows. We could all use some good news, and there's tons of good being done with cakes and celebrations- kind of a "random acts of kindness" show. Love the Icing Smiles idea Stacey!

  7. I signed up with Icing Smiles over a year ago, and I finally was called on to make and donate a cake for a terminally ill child's birthday. I cannot tell you the profound gratification my daughter and I got when they came and picked the cake up. I agree with the others, Icing Smiles would be an awesome model to use. These cakes are not just for the ill child, they are also for the siblings that have had to take a back seat to their brother or sister during their illness...and what about the parents? I could not imagine having to go through that heartache and pain of seeing their child suffering day in and day out, to only have to bury them. How about a show that also honors those families? I would LOVE to work with you on this...count me in if you need my support in any way. I love your truthful blogs! Keep up the great work. Judi Dadtka, It'z My Party, Milwaukee, WI

  8. Thank goodness....I stopped watching all the cake shows because I knew this isn't real. As a cake artist I wanted to watch a show where I could see how a design was made and that real cake artists run into problems and how they can fix them. I didn't want a soap opera...just a real show about making cakes and see how did they do that! But to add someones story when the cake is delivered why...that would be the icing on the cake.

  9. Go Icing Smiles!!! kinda like an extreme home makeover but for cake, I LOVE this idea! Plus it would be different cake people ever week so for a real "cake show" we could see so many different styles and techniques and then to see these amazing kids...well...just awesome.

  10. I was thinking Icing Smiles as well if you want to keep it cake related. Good luck!

  11. So very well said, there are moments in all our lives that make us stop, smile and melt our hearts. Lets tell those stories.
    Here in Rochester two guys started Party for a cause And this is it's 3rd year. Yes it a full out party celebrating life and rising money.
    I for one would love to see and be part of a show that travel from town to town raising money for many difference causes by holding show just like Cakefest or Party for a cause.
    Hugs, Peg.

  12. As much as all of us cake people would love to do an "icing smailes" show, the networks are very much against actual cake shows, and always hessitant about shows that include children. It's a much bigger ordeal to have underage people on shows. We love the idea but we're really looking just for varied "life experiences" They don't need to have anything at all related to cake. This will NOT be a show where each episode someone creates a cake and we talk about how and such. Thats already been done and the ratings fell so low that no one will do it again. We have a short window to get this show produced for them.

  13. I'm no pro . But doing cakes when I could and looking forward to doing my son's best friends wedding cake helped me deal with the stress of stage 4 cancer last year.

    Although some would tell you that I handle the cancer better than when the fondant doesn't cooperate. :-D

    I think a show that has stories about the "home" decorator would be interesting since all the challenges are there plus some.

    In remission.