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Old 05-17-2020, 11:58 PM
andrea_green is offline
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I started a hugely successful product as part of reality show but got screwed.How to write my story?


So a few years back I had the opportunity to spend a summer on a high-budget reality show on one of the top networks. I'm a bit of a media geek and so it sounded like fun to me to see how a show like that is made from behind the scenes. My partner was one of the 'stars' of the show and I was her official business partner, a much less glamorous role but cool nonetheless. I flew up to California and had a pretty crazy time hanging with celebrities while wearing a wireless mic all day (they're already recording/listening whether you're on camera or not and if you happen to say something interesting the cameras will swarm). As part of the show she came up with a really fun/cute business idea (my partner had the original idea and I figured out a 'secret ingredient' of sorts that made it a viable business). Sadly, at the end of the show, my partner 'fired' me, partnered with the intern/helper I had found/hired and the two of them went into business.

Apparently, a little later, the intern managed to dump her and takeover the business altogether!

Fast-forward to today and the product is HUGE, their TV and radio commercials are playing all the time (they must be spending 5-10 million on advertising alone) and it's apparently the fastest-growing product in its category.

It's a kinda crazy story complete with billionaires, army rangers, beauty queens, crazy scientists and lots of drama. So I think it would be a fun/cathartic exercise to write a blog article about my experience and perspective on everything that's happened. I mean it's pretty unbelievable in a lot of ways, especially given how wacky the product is (while also being super successful).

I wanted to ask for advice on what sort of tone to strike for this article and how to tell my story without being vindictive but also doing justice to the facts and my feelings. Apologies if some of this is a bit vague but I wanted to protect my identity.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:20 AM
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Don't tell me...its 'Poopourri', isn't it?
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:22 AM
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Don't tell me...its 'Poopourri', isn't it?
Isn't the idea that she doesn't want to be identified?
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:48 AM
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You could change people's names, like Jack Kerouac in On the Road
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:53 AM
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You could change people's names, like Jack Kerouac in On the Road
I mean sure but unless I wrote something as vague as this straightdope post the identities of everyone would be blatantly obvious (like the CEO of the now-huge company, the billionaire that everyone knows etc). Also the article itself is much less interesting without disclosing the product and reality show, it loses the punch.

Finally, the reason I want to avoid too much negativity is that I just want to take the higher road. Yes, what happened to me was kinda shitty and I think it's worth mentioning but there are much more interesting parts to the story so I want to try and be positive and focus on those.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:06 AM
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Write a book. Maybe you can cash in too. You could write it 'based on a true story' so you could fictionalize it a bit, with a caution to the readers that it's partly fiction. You might want to consult some laws on this so you don't get into the problem of libel.

For me personally, I love cozy mysteries, so the premise in your OP had the feel of that. People backstabbing, getting rich and then getting betrayed themselves. Most of the mysteries I read in that genre are mostly lighthearted, funny novels. That way, you can stereotype and not stick exactly to the facts. That might add interest and drama to the story.

Alternatively, you could make it more serious and talk about the undercover and cut throat world of people stealing business ideas and research on other companies that have done that like Amway stealing Dyson's idea then Dyson suing and getting successful until Shark comes along. You could make your story just one case study in the book. You could add lessons for how to protect business ideas along the way.

Or you could write about the reality show business side of it and the pros and cons of letting everything you say be heard. There's a reason a lot of business is done behind closed doors and big businesses have a lot of security. Transparency and protecting business ideas don't go together. You could write about how that works.

ETA: Hey wait. . . I just realized that I'm not going to get credit for any of these ideas. Ah, the vagaries of communicating in public. . .

Last edited by Heffalump and Roo; 05-18-2020 at 02:08 AM. Reason: just thought of something
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by andrea_green View Post
Finally, the reason I want to avoid too much negativity is that I just want to take the higher road. Yes, what happened to me was kinda shitty and I think it's worth mentioning but there are much more interesting parts to the story so I want to try and be positive and focus on those.
Nice sentiment but I think people are mostly going to be interested in the red meat. The nasty gossip. That a successful show is successful and billionaires are rich isn't going to grab much attention.

That said, I'd start by writing wikipedia entries for yourself and the lesser known characters.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:43 AM
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I think your post here struck a good tone! I didn't get the sense that you are upset or being vindictive, but are laughing after the fact at how absurd the whole adventure has been.

I can't think of any examples other than the song "Alice's Restaurant" - it's an anti-draft, anti-Vietnam tale that involves getting arrested and going to court but the way it's told is so lighthearted that you forget that the subject is so heavy. Of course, the twangy guitar and vocals help bend your ear away from the madness. You'd have to use the right words to convey the absurdity of your tale. Unfortunately you can't pepper a good professional article with "LOL!"

Maybe look into David Sedaris' stuff? I can't remember off the top of my head the specific essays but I know he's talked about his sister's death, being poor, his dad's death, etc, but all without being to serious. He could be your inspiration.

I'm really interested in reading what you come up with. I hope you get it written down!
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:22 AM
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What sort of non-disclosure agreement or other contract did you sign as part of your appearance on the show?
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:12 PM
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What sort of non-disclosure agreement or other contract did you sign as part of your appearance on the show?
This was not a thing, all I signed were a lot of releases for the use of my image etc.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:53 PM
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Whatever.

Last edited by Gatopescado; 05-18-2020 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:01 PM
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Whatever.
??
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
Maybe look into David Sedaris' stuff? I can't remember off the top of my head the specific essays but I know he's talked about his sister's death, being poor, his dad's death, etc, but all without being to serious. He could be your inspiration.
I'm thinking "The Santaland Diaries" -- Sedaris's take on working as an elf for Macy's one Christmas.
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:21 PM
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It's a bit unclear. Did you and your partner create the reality TV show, or did you create a product that aired on a reality TV show, like Shark Tank, The Profit, Billion Dollar Buyer, etc. etc.?

Sounds like the latter. Did your partner invent the Pop-Socket, the Squatty Potty, or the Sham-Wow?

Good luck with your blog.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:10 PM
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If you didn't sign an NDA, I say go ahead and name names.

IANAL, but I've gotten Cease & Desist letters before. Usually months after I told the story; and even those have mentioned a future date: "If you do not take your blog post down by 9/15/20, THEN we'll consider legal action."

In one case, that meant I'd told the story for a year, profited from it, and had another six months. A half a year where I got to show the Cease & Desist letter as part of the story... and have fun (and more publicity!) with that.

Even after I'd sent my letter that stated "Oh, sorry you took offense, I meant no harm. And of course I'll take it down, on 9/14/20".

Last edited by digs; 05-19-2020 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
It's a bit unclear. Did you and your partner create the reality TV show, or did you create a product that aired on a reality TV show, like Shark Tank, The Profit, Billion Dollar Buyer, etc. etc.?

Sounds like the latter. Did your partner invent the Pop-Socket, the Squatty Potty, or the Sham-Wow?
We created the product that aired on a reality TV show, the whole process was captured over two months of taping.
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