The Television Writers Vault is pleased to announce the production and airing of a new reality series from Writer/Member Steve Santini of Ontario, Canada.
Santini is the Creator and Star of “Deals From The Dark Side”, a Docu-Style Reality Series exploring Santini’s unusual and bizarre world of macabre historical artifact collection. Buck Productions, in a distribution deal with CableReady, has produced 13 episodes (as of this interview date), currently airing on A&E Australia, with U.S. Broadcast set for Nov. 7 @ 10/9c on SYFY.
We’re very proud of Steve’s determination, as he pitched a multitude of unique and inspired concepts at the TV Writers Vault. He ultimately found his break after being discovered by the Head of Television at Buck Productions (An Executive Member of TVWritersVault.com scouting projects) who collaborated as Co-Creator with Steve, turning his original concept into the show he stars in today.
Steve joined Scott Manville at the TV Writers Vault for a brief chat about his newfound success:
Scott Manville: Thanks for taking time from your show to chat with us, Steve. We’re really excited about everything that’s happening for you.
Steve Santini: Thank you. My busy world has become a lot more manic during this past half year (laughs).
Scott Manville: I’d love to know right now, what is your life like since creating, selling, and starring in your own television program?
Steve Santini: I have always been an entertainer in one fashion or another, and so I’ve been used to being out �in front� all my life, so to speak. That said, since the show has aired, I get recognized all over the place by people from all age groups and all walks of life. Personally, I find this very nice.
Scott Manville: You’re obviously a very creative person, living what seems to be a really strange and fun lifestyle. The direction and production quality of the show looks awesome. Was it easy for them to capture on film?
Steve Santini: I was very pleased with how Buck Productions tackled the creative aspect of portraying my unusual life and passions, and how they brought this to television screens. Unlike other �collector� or �picker� type shows, we knew mine was different due to the bizarre nature of many of the historical objects I chase. Buck and the brilliant production team capitalized on this by producing a cutting edge show that really reflects the objects and the tenor each brought to the table. Shadows were long, color was played with, the music was hip, and the subjective images were captured in a totally unique way, never before presented.
Scott Manville: So you’re happy with the company producing your series.
Steve Santini: I am very happy with the overall effect of the show as crafted and achieved by Buck Productions. However, I must also give a good deal of credit to the film crew and also to my director, Stuart McIntyre. All of these creative and inspired people had a vision for how this show should play out, and all of them threw in elements that helped to make it the unique vehicle it is now.
Scott Manville: Where are you at now in production? How many episodes are completed and aired?
Steve Santini: Season one is comprised of a total of 13 episodes. Approx 8 of these have already aired with the balance waiting to be shown in early 2012.
Scott Manville: As part of your deal with the production company, are we correct in understanding you’re receiving a Created By credit, and some form of Producing Credit? Or was the approach more as Creator and Star where credit and financial participation is concerned?
Steve Santini: Over a year ago, I created the basic premise of the show and took it to Buck [ed. via TVWritersVault.com]. Jim Kiriakakis, the head of television production at Buck and I tweaked the primary idea together until we ended up with the show you see now. So, I am not only the primary star and host of the show, but I also have a Co Creator credit alongside Jim.
Scott Manville: You pitched a concept for the show, made contact with several producers, landed a deal, then development began with your project morphing into the show we now know as “Deals From The Dark Side”. Can you tell us a bit about that process?
Steve Santini: A number of years ago I created the basic outline that would eventually become �Deals From The Dark Side.� The initial show I created and pitched had more of a paranormal lean to it but there were creative issues we felt we could not properly address in order to present such a show in a convincing enough way to the viewing audience. So, working with Jim we went for the logical and natural fix. Namely, that I am a unique guy who collects dark and creepy rare historical objects! By stripping away the paranormal lean we were free to focus more on the known and provable dark history of these rare relics. In the end, this seems to have been a very wise move, as daily I hear from more and more people who enjoy the show!
Scott Manville: What can you share about your experiences pitching projects to the television industry at TVWritersVault.com?
Steve Santini: TV Writers Vault proved to be an invaluable tool for myself when reaching out to industry players. Over the course of my membership I received a good and consistent level of interest from all levels of production executives. While many of these initial contacts did not pan out, one certainly did. In retrospect, that is all a person really needs to get rolling!
Scott Manville: Your roots are in performance, as an Escape Artist, so you already had a sense for working and dealing in the Industry. For others pitching reality shows who are new to the business, what advice can you share with them?
Steve Santini: There are so many pointers I could share, I could probably write an entire book about pitching and writing for T.V.! Perhaps the best single bit of advice I could share is the following; if you are pitching and pitching, and an idea is not �catching�, don�t let your ego be so large that you are not willing to retool or even scrap your original idea in favor of something that is more marketable. If one is to succeed in pitching to television, one needs to have immense stores of patience, a very strong spine, thick skin, an expansive imagination, and a good clear eye on the pulse rate of the industry. Study T.V. in all its myriad of forms; the good, the bad, and the ugly. See what is working and try to understand why it is working. If you do this you will have a good and realistic expectation of your own project and how it may or may not fit into what the industry is currently producing and looking for.
Scott Manville: What has been the most difficult part of your journey to this point?
Steve Santini: I would have to say that hands down the most trying part of my personal journey in pitching for T.V. has been the waiting for an idea or concept to catch. For three years I have been writing for television and pitching concepts and projects. Many times there were glimmers of hope and it looked like for sure I was on my way, only to have those hopes dashed and nothing come of it in the end. Fortunately, I never gave up. Even in my blackest hour I just kept writing and believing in myself because I knew that one day it was all going to fall into place. Have faith, believe in yourself, and remember that certain doors always close for a reason. Others also open for a reason!
Scott Manville: What has been one of the greatest moments of this journey?
Steve Santini: I love travel and meeting interesting new people which has been for me the greatest part of making �Deals From The Dark Side.� I hope the journey continues!
Scott Manville: We wish you continued success with the series, and we’re very proud of the tenacity you’ve shown in formulating and pitching your concepts at TVWritersVault.com. I hope you’re having some fun now!
Steve Santini: Thank you very much! It would be nice to sit back and relax, but I am one of those people who is always creating and exploring new horizons. For me the fun is just beginning!
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