When you get down to it, the heart and soul of the NATPE experience are people like Elaine Walton of Wilmington, N.C.
Walton, who describes herself as "an entrepreneur who likes adventure," pitched her tiny tent on the exhibition floor this year in the hopes of selling someone on the promise of her "next hit sitcom," a comedy dubbed "Baby Blues," about a competing set of newlywed couples in Wilmington and their parents who are pushing hard for "grandbabies."
Walton and her partner Bud Dowdey have shot a 23-minute pilot for "Baby Blues," in high-def "with three cameras." She's got the whole package ready to be wrapped up in a bow for some network programming exec, "complete with original lyrics and music and future show synopsis," plus plans for ancillary merchandise including a line of clothing.
Walton was showing off her baby to anyone who passed by her shoe box-size booth tucked in between two other unknown shingles in the "independent producers pavilion" housed in the shadow of NBC Universal's fort in the middle of the floor. Walton pressed a "Baby Blues" T-shirt into my hand before I could politely decline.
What drives people like Elaine Walton? What makes them write, cast and shoot their vision of what a good family comedy should be (tagline: "Diabolical Nana-wannabees will stop at nothing to have grandbabies"), and then go so far as to book square footage at an industry confab in the hopes of striking gold?