My TiVo is programmed to record Pond Stars episodes every time NatGeo Wild airs re-runs. I don't need my TiVo to tell me though when they are on in today's social media connected world. I get the cutest, sweetest and coolest Private Messages from people not only in America but particularly abroad. I love inspiring others with the hobby I love or even just turtle lovers everywhere! Our show airs in over 50 countries and was even dubbed in Spanish for the Latin America markets. Hilarious!
I was disappointed at first when our show wasn't renewed by the network last fall but then again not totally surprised. Statistically only 17% of all shows that premier get a second season. The odds were against us and our agent even told us we would need to attract a whole new audience to even have a shot at getting renewed. Our show was the only "Build" type genre done on a channel dedicated to running programming on animals. They tried to put an animal spin in every episode but alas it was too little to appeal to their animal loving viewership. Disappointed would be an understatement for a show we had high hopes for.
I'm a firm believer though that "Life's 10% about what happens to you and 90% what you do about it" Agreed? So after wallowing in self-pity for a few weeks about what "our" show could have been had we actually been included in the scripting (newsflash "Reality TV" is almost always scripted), I decided to take my own advice and be part of the solution and not the problem.
As tough as having a boss was for a guy who last had a boss in 1990 when I had a whistle around my neck sitting poolside nonetheless it was an incredible learning experience that I wouldn't trade for anything! I literally feel like I got my undergrad degree in what goes into producing a reality series. I decided to use that hard earned education and go for my Masters in Filmmaking! Today with my three co "stars" and two hard working videographers, we are creating our own digitally streaming (hello future!) mostly unscripted show entitled Aquascape Pond Squad (So prefer that title, hah!). With only two people vs a dozen and a $25,000 vs $250,000 budget per episode, we've now produced the same amount of episodes that a professional production company and an international network did together. Am I proud of that accomplishment? HELL YES!
So if you haven't cut your cable and you get NatGeo Wild, tune in this week to see all the Pond Stars re-runs. You can also go on iTunes anytime and download every episode. But Aquascape Pond Squad is always available anytime, anywhere and on any device as long as there is access to the Internet. And it's even free! Just Google Pond Squad and see for yourself. Again, welcome to the future, it's here now.
I wish I could say that I'm fully happy with creating our own show. Yes ,I love the passion projects we've done (2 orphanages, a zoo and even a surprise makeover for my in laws-what a hoot!), but finding, funding, filming and of course pulling off the projects while trying to run and grow a business is no easy task. But as I struggle to balance everything just like most small business owners do, the lesson that gets reinforced for me every day is that nothing and I mean nothing worth having comes easy! Agreed? I truly feel blessed beyond measure to have the chance to wake up each day and fight to do something I love!
I'm currently getting lots of footage for potential upcoming Pond Squad episodes. I've even got a few celebrities on the hook right now for their own Aquascape Pond Squad pond. One tweet from one of them to their 11,000,000 fans and who knows what doors will open for us and this niche industry we represent. In the meantime I will fully enjoy the private messages and the pictures of Pond Star and Pond Squad fans from around the world. Technology is so cool and I guess if you get bored with that you can always still veg out in front of the tube. Thanks for caring.