Homeschooling, Homebound, & The Tiger King? A Literal Trifecta Of A Quarantine Craziness…

This morning my concerned son, also a new father, worriedly me if “anything like this has happened before?” He was referring to the world today.

Not in my lifetime has nearly everyone other than essential employees being told to stay home has ever occurred.

My twin sister is currently trying to wake the twins up for homeschooling and Netflix used a worldwide quarantine to create a Tiger King frenzy of viewers.

I don’t watch television as a whole as I’m usually working seven days a week.

But, my niece and my twin sister both told me “you have got to see this show!”

It’s rare for anyone in my family to advise me to tune in. I’m not accustomed to laying around watching television but this “Tiger King train wreck” was too hard to to pass up.

First, I did some research about Joe though. If this guy was really as flamboyant portrayed, I knew that someone somewhere had come across him in the entertainment industry.

If you had told me “that someone” would be our former production company, GCF (Good Clean Fun), I wouldn’t have believed it. But, Jason has an eye for big characters.

Sadly, most of Hollywood would find Joe Exotic “too controversial.” How would you pitch this guy to a network? Honey Boo Boo and Mama June pale in comparison to the wild ride of Joe Exotic.

The crazy outfits, the wild attitude, hating his competition, having two husbands, an employee that gets an arm bit off AND returns to work? Wow.

Between answering emails of alarmed clients concerned about their licenses expiring waiting on the shut down of prisons to lift, I found time to view the sizzle reel filmed by Good Clean Fun.

The fact that Cindy and I knew everyone at GCF since they had filmed our sizzle reel and subsequent television pilot made this Tiger King sizzle reel filmed by them far more intriguing to me. After all, we spent a year with the team at GCF. Filming the sizzle, Skype calls, filming the pilot, voice over calls and more.

We knew our production company people at GCF and we liked them. While we didn’t love the pilot, we rolled with the punches.

Jason was before his time finding a character that even the best writers could never create. Truth is stranger than fiction.

No frankenbiting here. It wasn’t needed with a guy so far out there that he wanted to be president.

The story and the characters are so shocking that I called Cindy and said “Hey, GCF found this guy and filmed a sizzle. I wonder how that pitch meeting must’ve gone?”

Was it “hey we found this wild guy living at a zoo who is so outlandish and passionate that there has to be a series here. He would make Billy The Exterminator look mild by comparison.”

The Networks..”Umm well this guy and his life are too controversial for television. What would the sponsors think?”

Netflix… “Everyone is stuck at home under quarantine. Now would be the time to air that Tiger King series.”

A lot of folks don’t know what a sizzle reel is so I will explain. The variations of filming for Cindy and I verses Joe Exotic are remarkably different.

How so? We filmed at GCF while Joe filmed from his zoo. Why? He wouldn’t leave.

We were in California filming for Hot Bench. Kristen and Kjerstin had found us on LinkedIn about a month before we were scheduled to film “Don’t Call Me Bridezilla” on Hot Bench.

The timing of flying to LA to film Hot Bench made going to GCF to film the sizzle convenient as I had asked the travel coordinator for Hot Bench to extend our travel plans. I do this all the time when filming. The network wants to fly you in and out. You explain you will pay your own hotel beyond the network and extend your travel plans. The coordinator changes your flight for you.

Kristen had sent an email which was how we wound up under contract for Pawning Planners.

Here is how it went “My name is Kristen and I’m with a production company in Los Angeles. Would you be interested in a show about your business?”

Between GCF and Taillight, Discovery had called me first from Beverly Hills. I was at the doctor when the call came in to schedule a Skype call. I had never used Skype and had no idea what they expected. I was advised to “show my big personality.” Whatever the Hell that meant. Because I had just moved and didn’t have wifi set up. The connection issues and my frustration made that Skype call with Carmen at Discovery a bust.

But, other production companies would come and go. I’m now an expert at Skype. I don’t need anyone telling me to show them “my big personality” either. I’m myself and not acting. I don’t need to act.

Taillight came after Discovery. Good Clean Fun came after Tailight. There have been so many others after GCF that it’s easy to lose track.

I’ve learned to have the production companies pay travel though. You learn along the way. If you don’t learn, travel can become really expensive!

The Hot Bench episode came in the midst of production companies and networks calling me. It’s a long story about that Bridezilla ya all. She lied to get a police discount and was 2 hours late to her own wedding. That wedding was a train wreck. A Tardy Party Bride Who Lied. By the way, I won the case on Hot Bench.

Since we would be in California filming Hot Bench, I told Kristen we would be in LA and she invited us to go to GCF.

It was there at GCF that our interview for the sizzle was filmed. It would be edited and added to before we were sent a link to the sizzle. Here it is… The Pawning Planners.

Watching this for the first time from the Office Max parking lot in Weatherford, Cindy and I didn’t know what a sizzle was. The text from Kristen said “here’s the sizzle.”

We clicked the link and watched from our phones the interview in LA that had been edited. We watched in stunned silence. We watched it again. And again. And again. We were shocked.

Would we talk about anything? Yes. Did we want personal conversations on film passed around to networks? No. But we weren’t in control of the edits.

How long were we on film in the GCF offices? I have no idea about an hour I guess. We talked about our lives, our families and our clients. We had merged Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create a barter option, The Pawning Planners.

Were there things on the sizzle we wish there weren’t? Absolutely. But a sizzle is meant to grab the networks attention. The talent has no say in the editing of the sizzle or the pilot. I will get to the pilot in a minute.

Let’s look at the sizzle created by GCF for Joe Exotic. Did he want roadkill in his sizzle? Probably not. But the sizzle is at the production companies discretion. The sizzle for Joe was recently uploaded. Who uploaded it to his YouTube channel? Who knows but he had the film and he had the film because GCF sent it to him.

How do I know? Because I have the sizzle and pilot film for Pawning Planners. It was sent to me too. I have and have had both the sizzle reel film and the pilot episode film discs for five years now.

Before we jump in and watch this tantalizing sizzle, I cannot in a million years imagine Joe flying to LA and walking in to GCF to film a sizzle. It would be similar to Billy The Exterminator strolling down Hollywood Blvd. These types of characters don’t blend in anywhere.

Joe must’ve told GCF to come to him. Here we go kids and buckle up for one of the craziest sizzle reels I’ve seen… Joe Exotic Sizzle Reel.

The filming of Joe’s sizzle reel obviously took far longer to film. Why? Our sizzle had footage edited into it from stock video and ironically footage from Taillight TV for their project with us, Texas Twins TV, that had been uploaded to Vimeo from one of the two people hired to film Cindy and I in Fort Worth, Sean Percer.

Chris Watson and Sean Percer filmed Cindy and I at home, at the TCGPWA parade and at the Rainbow Lounge for a sizzle with Taillight.

Kristen had asked “if I had any film to send to GCF?” I asked Sean and Chris and Sean had a Vimeo video link that I sent to Kristen.

The video from Rainbow Lounge was used in the sizzle, Pawning Planners.

The footage from Rainbow Lounge was commissioned by Taillight which I found odd since it wasn’t my film to begin with.

But I didn’t question my production company. Maybe they had asked Sean or Tailight to use the film? Who knows?

The footage of Joe is obviously shot on site. There was no stock footage rolled into his sizzle.

I remember Jason having Kristen call me to advise me “we were needed in LA to attend pitch meetings.”

For folks who don’t know what a pitch meeting is, I will elaborate. The sizzle reel is used to pitch the networks.

If the networks have interest, they schedule a pitch meeting. I asked “who is paying for travel?” I was told “you are.” Well then.

I made travel and hotel accommodations to fly to LA and attend pitch meetings with Cindy.

Cindy and I flew to LA (at our own expense) to attend two pitch meetings with our production company.

The first was at Lifetime. The second was at TLC. Lifetime gave a green light and plans to film the pilot in Texas were made a few months later.

Why no one gave Joe a green light is odd. This guy was so wacky that the only person I could even compare him to was Billy The Exterminator or Dog The Bounty Hunter.

But who sponsor such a show of controversy? Caged animals are controversial.

Carol and a disappearing husband? There’s mystery, animosity, intrigue and a wide array of characters going on in this series that you can’t stop watching.

While Netflix took a gamble on rolling with the punches, they took a risk that paid off.

As for GCF, Jason saw something there but the timing just wasn’t right in my opinion. He had an eye for talent. He had a vision for drawing you into the characters. He was ahead of his time with Joe Exotic.

How this Joe guy went unnoticed for as long as he did is anyone’s guess. He was “out there.”

Rumors are circulating that Joe is at FMC in Fort Worth, Texas. I have been to FMC a number of times to officiate Inmate ceremonies.

I perform state, federal and ICE as well as county jail weddings. My twin sister does too as does my niece.

A number of people may view my clients as controversial. Others don’t. I have a mixed bag of clients from Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners and TDCJ Officiant.

Like Joe having fans and critics, I also think have people who might disagree with inmate marriage or LBGT marriage but I accept being controversial because my goal and my role is unbiased.

I don’t ask why my clients are marrying an inmate or why someone is incarcerated. Why? It’s none of my business. My business is to plan and execute religious ceremonies and services. My twin sister and I have found a way to help anyone regardless of their income.

Did this make us different? Maybe. Did our passion to give others the Dream Event we didn’t have require thinking outside the box? Absolutely. All of these years later, we are stronger than ever. Busier than ever and aware of how television works.

If you don’t fit a certain mold and let’s face it Joe didn’t, your story may never be told. Netflix took a gamble but it’s a gamble that paid off for them.

As I review a number of emails from clients who are on hold awaiting confirmed and cancelled dates at TDCJ Units, the Executive Order issued yesterday is pertaining to county and municipal jails regarding release.

For those of you who haven’t seen this Tiger King series, if you are stuck at home like many of us are, it’s worth tuning into…