On November 17, HSN, Edison Nation and Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood hosted a live event inviting inventors from across the country to pitch their ideas before judges hoping to find the "next big idea." It's all in support of the upcoming movie "The Guilt Trip," starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, who plays an inventor trying to get his product to market. From this search, Edison Nation and HSN will narrow in on five finalists, and a star from "The Guilt Trip" will select one lucky inventor to have their product sold on HSN in 2013. I felt this could be a dream come true for Character Bear– so up to Hollywood I went!
Watch the youtube video to the right to learn more about Character Bear.
It’s not the first time I have done this. Actually, I have been on this road to “overnight success” for quite a while now. And it’s been close a number of times, but timing and the economy have gotten in the way. My friends and family know this well, and believe it or not, they still believe it will happen, just like I do. I can be convincing – and of course, Character Bear IS the next big idea, right? I sure hope the judges were convinced! The problem is- you have just 3 minutes to pitch your product to them – how on earth can I tell them about the last 8 years of my life with Character Bear in 3 minutes?? I guess I could hit the highlights. Like, the moment I came up with the idea while planning my daughters 5th birthday party, then a year later when I launched the product at LEGOLAND California, then becoming a semi-finalist on American Inventor, my new prototype, my patent, the trademarks, my trip to New York, the meetings with the top toy companies – the list really could go on and on. I’ve learned so much and have come so far. Now that the economy is getting better and my product has expanded, this is the time – everything coming together for the perfect opportunity– I just hope I have enough time to explain it to them!
The experience in Hollywood last week was pretty cool. When I arrived at the gates of Paramount Studios, the security booth handed me a personalized color ticket, they were expecting me. They directed me to where I should park, and about every 100 feet or so, they had security showing me where to go, and welcoming me to Paramount Studios. Everyone was so nice. After checking in, I went to an area to wait for my turn to pitch to the judges.
Water, doughnuts, bagels and coffee were set up, and several other anxious inventor hopefuls waited with me. I spoke with a few inventors while we waited, and everyone had great ideas and were as passionate as I was. There were cameras all over and they were taping the inventors as they waited. You are already uneasy about what you might say, and then to have it taped? Yikes! But after a while they left and I felt so relieved. I could pitch without the cameras and just focus on what I was going to say to the judges.
I was then called to one of the tents to set up and started my pitch to the judges. Though after a minute or so, the camera crews were back and taping me. I swear I got so nervous when they were there, that after they left I had no idea what I just told the judges. When I was done, they asked me to stay and they wanted to formally tape my presentation in the studio. As exciting as that sounds, it really made me more nervous! While I waited, they had a food truck and I ordered food, but my nerves made it hard to eat and I wound up giving it to a new friend I met. They also offered to take us on a studio tour, which was really fun and got your mind off the reason you were there.
After a few hours, I walked over to the studio to do my pitch again. Once they put the microphone on me and walked me into the studio, I thought there is no way I will remember what I need to say. All the cameras were set up, the stage was lit and the judges were sitting waiting for me to walk up and present. Initially it was noisy, but once they said something like “Joan Colvin, take 1” – it got silent and they asked me to walk to the stage. Talk about pressure!
I tried breaking the ice while I set up and started my pitch. It went something like this “PLEASE PICK ME!!!!”. Well no, not really. I started by telling them about my journey – actually just the birthday party, LEGOLAND and American Inventor, remember I had only 3 minutes. I then talked about “character” and showed them my original product. I also showed them my new prototype and ideas about add on products and opportunities, and of course told them about my trademarks and patent. UGH, I wish I had at least an hour – I really have so much to share! They asked a few questions about the product and then I remember them asking why don’t I just do this on my own? Oh my gosh – they have no idea – that is what I have been trying to do – but after 8 years, I now know the road I have been on was all leading up to this moment - that they are exactly the people I need on my team! I hope they understood that.
Really, Character Bear is ready to go to market in a big way – but it needs a little more development (Edison Nation), some big marketing (Paramount Studios), and the right distribution channel (HSN) – and all they have to do is pick me! I think they got it – I really really hope so. And now I wait…I think it’s only a few weeks until they pick the finalists, but it seems already like a year!
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