My Journey into television

Trying to break into the Food/travel world of television, I have decided to blog the entire journey. Hollywood has nothing but closed doors, I can understand why…everyone wants in. I am going to try and open those doors and I am going to let the world know how it is progressing. Wish me luck!
Robert Ogden

Pilot Episode in full! 2 Parts

PART 1 :

PART 2 :


I met Tony

Last night I met Anthony Bourdain at UCLA, a special event called “A night with Anthony Bourdain.” 


OK, so the picture of me is blurry, and it looks like I photo shopped my face onto someone else’s body, but I met him and it was a thrill!

There is a reason Tony is on TV.  He has a great command of the English language, never fishing for words, always describing everything in great detail…but in an amusing way.  He has strong opinions and he is not afraid to voice them.  He knows his topic inside and out- Food and travel. 

I really expected the evening to be pretty boring, I mean what could this guy talk about for 90 minutes?  As it turns out…he was entertaining, funny, interesting, and right on target with the pulse of Food TV.  I learned a lot last night.  The main thing I think I learned is not to be afraid to be yourself!  Nobody likes a phony put-on personality, but everyone loves a genuine personalty. Everyone loves a guy who is passionate about what he does, but does not take himself too seriously.  I learned that if I want to make it in this business, I am going to have to find my voice…and shout it out at the top of my lungs.   I can not imitate Tony, I have to be myself. 

Of course he bashed Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee, an Paula Dean…He seemed to feel sorry for Emeril…he had high praises for Ina Garten and Giada…and voiced the highest respect for Mario Batali.  He talked about all the other food shows, and gave them a thumbs up or down.

Top Chef – Thumbs Up

Hells Kitchen – Thumbs down

Kitchen Nightmares (The BBC version) Thumbs Up

Throw Down- He poked fun at it, but praised Bobby

I have to agree with him with all of the above (except for Giada, I can’t stand her), but just like me…it sounds like he watches all of the food shows regardless of thumbs up or down.  The shows with good food, ie, good chefs, he watches out of respect and admiration, the others he watches to make fun of! 

He talked about street food, and tried to put it into perspective for the faint of heart. He asked the question; “If you are in a foreign country, and you are staying at that fancy hotel where they serve that giant breakfast buffet…Who do you think is going to care more about what they are serving, the guy in that stupid tall white chefs hat, or the guy on the street feeding all of his neighbors?”  The guy in the hat doesn’t give a shit about you, the guy feeding his neighbors has to look these people in the face day after day…and they line up in droves day after day! 

He said that Los Angeles is cool with all of ours taco trucks, but didn’t know much else about L.A.  I took that opportunity later at the book signing to ask him if he knew about the sub-culture of street food in L.A.- The food carts, specifically the non-permitted ones, or “Street Food Outlaws”.   When he replied “No” I whipped out a copy of StreetFood Uncovered and handed it to him.  He said, and I quote; ” I will definitely watch it.”  I thanked him for a great night and he signed my book.  Will I ever hear from him about it? Probably not…but I am glad that I got to meet him.

So to sum it up, it was a fantastic night, even my wife enjoyed it and she is vegetarian…and we all know how much Tony hates vegetarians, and how much vegetarians hate him!

8 months later…

It’s been a while since I posted anything. 

I started this project in September of 09,  just me and my partner Randy on the street trying to live a dream.  I found some street food vendors who agreed to let me into their world, but when it came down to it…they were to afraid to really let me get close to them.  So I ended up with a 30 minute pilot that is good, but not what I really intended it to be. 


1. Randy, my partner wants to be paid for his time…understandable, but not really a partner, and I can’t afford him. 

2. My first child was born in November of 09, which is the greatest thing to ever happen to me, but bad timing for me to really pursue this thing.

3. Hollywood is impossible to break into without some real connections.

I have sent the pilot to many networks, production companies, people in the industry, etc…only receiving a couple of responses, that being “No Thanks”.  Mostly being ignored all together. 

I am the type of person to really go for something when I set my mind to it, but with my new daughter and my current business, I have not been able to do much of anything.  So what’s the plan?

The plan is to start over this summer.  I have purchased this camera

It cost about$1500, with all accessories.  I have to learn how to use it well, and then teach my 15 year old nephew how to use it, he is going to be my camera man.  He shot my little audition video and I think he can do a good job. 

I have found a few new potential subjects, and I am going to keep filming my concept until someone notices what I am up to.  I will probably post full episodes right here on my site so people can have real content to watch.  As soon as I figure out how to do that, I will post the full episode of my existing pilot. 

Dreams can take a lifetime to fulfill, and as luck would have it,  I do have a lifetime available. 

This true story is always an inspiration to me, being that I am 45 years old…

Harland Sanders created Kentucky Fried Chicken, the “finger lickin’ good” meal which became a fast-food sensation in the 1960s. Sanders was already 40 years old when he began cooking chicken for customers at his service station in Corbin, Kentucky. According to his corporate biography, “Over the next nine years, he perfected his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices and the basic cooking technique that is still used today.” Sanders became well-known in his home state, but it took another 20 years before he began franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants around the country. By 1964, when he sold his stake in the company, the Colonel’s chicken was being sold in the company’s popular paper buckets at over 600 outlets nationwide. Sanders continued to appear as the company’s spokesman for more than a decade: with his white suit, string tie and cane, he had the look of a courtly Southern gentleman. His autobiography, Life As I Have Known It Has Been Finger Lickin’ Good, was published in 1974.

Day 98

Response from the Nat Geo Channel:

Hi Robert,

Thanks for contacting the Nat Geo Channels regarding your project. It sounds incredibly interesting. Before proceeding, I’d like to clarify which type of submission this is. Are you looking to strictly sell the half hour or looking for presale/coproduction financing to complete the series? I can only consider finished product as my department does not have a budget beyond completed acquisitions. Please clarify so we can proceed in evaluating your submission as efficiently as possible.

All the best,

Global Acquisitions Coordinator
National Geographic Channels
1145 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

My thoughts:
So they might be interested if I finance the whole thing and give them a finished series…Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or the money to do that!! The only way I could afford to take time from my regular job, to travel and make this thing happen, is if I had a production company footing the bill.

So it’s still an uphill battle from here… but it feels great to try! 

I’ve been following these guys

They self produced there own thing and did a great job from the clips I have seen, I hope to see them on TV soon—GOOD LUCK Chad, Lyndon, & Clayton!!

New Clip

Day 63

Well, Television is a very difficult thing to break into, now I can understand how people from all over the world come to Hollywood and end up with a career as a waiter.  

Anyway, I did have some interaction with real TV people…here is how it all went down with A & E Network-

Dear Robert,

Thank you for submitting Street Food for our consideration.  We had a lot of fun watching it (and salivating), but we’ve decided it’s not the right fit for A&E IndieFilms’ programming at this time.

Thanks very much for thinking of us at A&E IndieFilms.  We admire the work you’re doing and wish you the very best of luck in finding the right partners for your project. 


#### A&E


I tried to reply to this person, but I got an automated reply that this person no longer works for A & E, so I wrote to the person who took over for her.

Hi #####,
My name is Robert Ogden,  Street Food Uncovered is my concept, thanks for your input. 
The Idea is to be a weekly series like Anthony Bourdains “No Reservations” 
I don’t think it is an Indie Film thing.  I was wondering if you could refer me to someone more in that vein- 
Thanks so much,
Robert Ogden
Her Reply
Why don’t you send it to my colleague ######
I replied with a thank you and sent this email to him-
Hi ####,
My name is Robert Ogden, I was referred to you by #######.

I would like to send you a copy of ” street food uncovered” for your consideration. It is a travel/food show like Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern, but focusing on street food.

The concept is great food, and what it takes to make it as a street food vendor. Each week we travel to a different location.

Please let me know where I should send the copy.

Thanks so much,

His Reply-

Hey Robert.  I just came out of a meeting where we passed on a very similar concept.   Food related programming doesn’t really fit our mandates right now, so I’m afraid this is a pass.
That said, if you want to send the DVD as an example of your work, I’m happy to take a look and perhaps down the line we’ll find something else that will work better for us.
Address is below.
Best, #####
Alright, so it didn’t go so well, but at least someone watched it, and I will send the DVD to the new guy…you never know.  
I will make it someday, I can promise you that! 

Day 50

It is time to reveal who is MR. X.   I will crush him, this town is not big enough for the both of us, he messed with the wrong guy…he will never work in this town again, does he know who I am?  I am Robert Ogden, I make or break people…I, I …I  

This blog could just as easily be titled “I want Andrew Zimmern’s Job”.  I love his show just as much as I love Tony and his show.  I’ve been watching it since it first aired in 2007.

I sent a random email to Andrew from his web site, just as I did to hundreds of other people.  In 2 months of trying to get any interest from anyone in TV, I have received all of 2 replies.  One from Andrew Zimmern, and one from a guy named Stephen Booth  Stephen replied to me and said “Your show is really not my thing, but good luck to you.”  I thought it was kind of him reply.  Andrew however replied enthusiastically, and said he would be glad to take a look at my show.  We had a real time conversation, Blackberry to Blackberry…I said I was surprised to actually be talking to him, he was nice and I was excited!   I have not heard from him since.  I guess I just don’t understand why he bothered with me at all.   His new season premiers on April 26th on the Travel Channel, I am still a huge fan!   But, I just wish he would say something about my pilot. 

Now I just email him as if he is my imaginary friend. 

“Hey Andrew, hope you are well…I entered a cooking competition to try and gain some exposure for SFU. ”

 Talk soon, Robert Ogden

“Hi Andrew, I have a production company interested in the show, any advice?”


Also, no response from the cooking competition I entered.   Still waiting.  

The only thing we have right now is a production company in L.A. that loves the pilot, they say they want to do something with it, my partner has worked with them before on previous projects, but…NO ACTION YET, JUST TALK. 

This may take a while, but again I will sign off with…”I will never give up!”

Day 35

There seems to be a common practice in Hollywood that is accepted as the “norm”.  “Sure I’d be happy to take a look, send me a copy…”  Then, completely  ignore until the gnat goes away. 

Mr. X for example…if you have been following the blog, I got an email from a prominent TV host of one of my favorite shows.  He did not have to email me, but he did, and he said he would gladly take a look at my pilot.  I told him that I have no experience in  the television industry and I thanked him very much.  I overnight-ed my pilot to him and he confirmed that he received it.  That was more than several weeks ago.  I sent him a follow up email and his response was…”I am overseas and I will watch it when I return”.  Again I thanked him.  Now, he is ignoring my emails all together.  I don’t think I am being too much of a pest…I have sent a total of 5 emails… The original one to which he replied, a few back and forth and two more with no response.  

There are only 3 reasons that he is done with me:

1. He hated me and my show

2. He loved me and my show and is threatened by the competition

3. He has not watched the DVD

I received another email from my contact at CAA…again “Sure I would be happy to watch the show”.  To be fair, I don’t know this guy very well and he didn’t volunteer to watch it until I dropped it off in his mail box at his home, but he did say he would watch it in a very nice email.  Now, when I sent him a second email…dead silence, no reply. 

Even this cooking competition that I enetered, they have contacted me 4 times…the last time was to outline the video audition.  I uploaded the video and sent an email to confirm.  Now, they ignore me all together.  I hope that they were able to watch the video audition…but I guess I will never know, unless they want me in the show. 

I guess that is how Hollywood works, if they want you they are happy to talk with you…if they don’t want you, they just ignore you until you go away.  So what do I take from all of this?  Does my show suck?  Do I suck? Do they suck? Do you suck? Does Hollywood suck? Suck me!

What have I learned so far?  I have learned that this is not going to be easy, but I already knew that.  I wish that I learned that my show is no good, I would just start over and make a new one…but I am not going to do that until I get at least some feed back from someone in the industry who has watched it. 

My motto remains the same…”I will never give up!”

Day 30

Alright…so I entered this home cook competition and had to submit a video audition.  It is for a new TV show,  I sent it to the casting department and now…waiting again!   Take a look at the video-