Getting into the DRTV category was no easy feat. After their initial rejection, we had the chutzpah to go back to the DRTV company and not only ask why they passed but also to offer to shoot a video demonstration of how to use The Racktrap. Which they would love, damnit!
So the video demo was shot on a Wednesday (thanks Flip video camera inventor!) and by Friday we had a deal to shoot a two minute DRTV commercial. Can you say “Hail Mary Pass?” We collectively felt we had won the lottery and were already mentally spending our prized winnings.
Our “legal whiz” Karen had confidently guided us through the patent and trademark phase of The Racktrap development, but firmly stated “This is beyond my level of expertise, we need to find an attorney who specializes in the DRTV area.”
Now, I’m a standup comic by night and a publicist by day and managed to avoid the minutia of business up until this point in my career. But I had schmoozed with some of the best in entertainment, business and media. Surely I knew someone who knew a DRTV attorney. The attorney we were looking for had to meet specific criteria: he/she had to have experience working with entrepreneurs; possess the ability to think out of the box; and the proficiency to help guide us through a contract that would protect our invention and generate revenue for all the partners. And he/she had to like boobs (joking).
The only person I could think of was my friend’s husband who was the most innovative entrepreneur I ever met he created several multi-million dollar businesses. Talk about bershert (“meant to be”), but who do I see while standing at 8:30pm at night on the corner of 32nd and Lexington avenues? The very same husband. He said I had to call his friend, who was instrumental and very well versed in structuring deals. Let’s call him The Colonel. So, the three of us met with The Colonel and he pointed out how much we would need to sell and what our percentage would be.
As the negotiations were moving forward, we were informed by our DRTV partner that the name “Racktrap” wouldn’t get past the Midwest media companies (censors) and had to come up with an alternative (i.e. homogenized) name. We bandied about “Brocket,” “Boobytrap,” “Boobypack,” “Bosom Buddy,” etc., all names that didn’t pack the same panache as The Racktrap. Our collective guts just screamed “bad move” but since we were complete neophytes in this industry we told ourselves to trust the experts.
The DRTV company renamed our product “The Secret Keeper,” which I joked sounded like, a euphemism for repressing traumatic childhood memories. After Googling “Secret Keeper” we also found out it’s not only the name of a popular book series for tween girls but it’s also an all-girl Christian Rock Group. Remember Groucho Marx’s quote “I wouldn’t want to be a member of a club that would have me?” Even in today’s day and age, the three of us would never be ‘secretkeepers.’
It was mid-June and we got word that the commercial shoot was scheduled for mid July in Ft. Lauderdale. Jackie and I flew to Florida and met with the production team who produced a slew of successful commercials like “Bumpits,” “Strap Perfect” and “The Neckline Slimmer” so we felt like we were in great hands and poised for success.
In fact the head of production said, “Do you know what this sounds like (now imagine the sound of a beeping noise when trucks backup)? It’s the sound of truck backing up and dumping money into your backyard.” Now if that wasn’t kismet, what was? We were buzzing with excitement because “it” was happening. “It” was taking a product from concept to production to market! Personally it defied all my successes to date.
The shoot was scheduled for the next day and Jackie and I were tripping the light fantastic. We got up, hit the gym and arrived on set which was at the hipster hotel on A1A. The production was at least a three camera shoot with lots of principals and extras. In fact Jackie and I wrangled cameos in the bar scene and as method actors, felt it appropriate to order real drinks in order to find our motivation for the scene.
Well, the excitement of the day plus very little food plus a smidge of alcohol equals two tipsy inventors. We got caught when Jackie spilled her mojito in her lap and the producer questioned her.
“Cut! Jackie……are you drinking a REAL mojito?” he boomed, “while I’m working over here?”
With all inhibitions aside Jackie said “Yes, it is and it’s delicious. Do you want to lick my dress?” Cue lots of blushing. And it wasn’t Jackie!
So the spot wrapped and we went back to New York to wait for the final edit. Again we had to practice our patience muscle and wait to see what the media test yielded.
Marla Schultz is a Co-Inventor of The Racktrap, a touring, headlining stand up comic and actress, having guest starred on Dirt, Girls Behaving Badly with Chelsea Handler and, most recently, on Men of a Certain Age with Ray Romano. In addition, she runs Mas Media Relations which garners clients placements of CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and Inside Africia. You have a hook? Marla wil get it booked.