A Different Kind of Reality Show

Season two of The Marijuana Show launched July 8 on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play, with Ganjapreneurs accessing over $13 million in funding for their Cannabis business ideas. Co-creators and hosts Wendy Robbins and Karen Paull talk about taking the leap into a new reality TV category – and doing it their way.

TMSCynopsis: Did you always plan on streaming first, versus going the TV network route?

Robbins: Streaming is where the audience is.  I don’t know many people who watch linear television anymore.  We all are on our phones, tablets, or computers. We are able to go out to a global audience, own the rights to our content, tell the stories we want to share and distribute to hundreds of millions of people giving the power to the creators. We don’t need to make terrible deals with networks anymore.  This levels the playing field and makes us able to share with Amazon, iTunes, Google, Xbox and soon Roku and possibly Dish and Direct TV.  Now it comes down to marketing and press to let everyone know about our show.  Let the games begin!

Cynopsis: What kind of feedback did you get when you pitched the show?

Robbins:  Everyone typically says,”That’s brilliant.”  Or, “Why didn’t I think of that?”.  Mr Wonderful from Shark Tank said on CNBC, “I knew a show like this was coming….”

Cynopsis: How would you say your business model differs from other shows? Would it work for other producers?

Paull: Our business model is that we are a business accelerator and the show and our press is the marketing for products and services. We get some equity in exchange for our sweat equity. Now we just created an online store too. I think that other producers need to realize that television networks are not the only game and to focus on keeping their content because that has huge value.

Cynopsis: What surprises did you encounter as you moved forward with production?

KarenWendy_1632

Karen Paull and Wendy Robbins

Robbins: We went from idea to production in two weeks.  We had 200 people show up to audition.  It was a wild fantasy to (wo)manifest that quickly. There were crazy and unexpected twists in production in season two – we lost our location the day of the shoot and had to scramble to find an alternative.  One of our investors had to go to an emergency room the first day of a two-day shoot with investors and the pitches.  The ability to pivot under pressure is a skill that all producers and directors need.  My underlying mantra is that the Universe orchestrates miracles and so I go with the unexpected and see where it takes us.  There is something amazing that happens when you stand on the edge and yeah, sometimes it’s a razor but other times it’s where my wings unfurl in trust that everything is ok.

Cynopsis: Who was the first supporter of the show?

Robbins: We were. We didn’t have time to think too much. We didn’t know anyone in Denver and that is where we chose to shoot. We met Addison Morris. She introduced us to the Watering Bowl, a local bar in Glendale, Colorado. They let us use their bar as our location – no cost.  We met our awesome PR team who rocked it for us. We had FOX, CNBC, ABC, NPR there at the auditions. It was surreal. We were supported by the community in Denver and were lucky enough to meet our amazing crew who said “Yes!” and they worked at a discounted rate since we paid for everything ourselves. We truly are advocates for legalization and so is everyone we work with.

Cynopsis: What’s next?

Robbins: Now the game is distribution, finding content partners, press, touring to show the show and talk to people who are afraid of legalization – just be in conversation to share the medicine. We also are auditioning for season 3 and we are creating our own fund and partnering with investors who are in tune with mentorship and integrity. We have fired “investors” for not being their word.  This is a new industry and to play by old rules won’t serve any of us anymore. The idea of screwing someone and saying, “It’s just business…” has no place in what we are creating. We also intend to offer equity crowdfunding to our viewers because banks won’t step up – we will – power to the people.  Title 3 of the Jobs Act finally passed allowing regular people to invest. No other show has done that and we are all set up to get started by engaging our audience now through social media and grassroots community building. We can help a lot of dreams come true.

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words and in targeted Q&As, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at [email protected].

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