Thursday, March 21, 2013

So You Want to be in Show Business - PBS interactive and Me

So you want to be in show business? Be careful what you ask for. Below is a series of communications between PBS interactive and myself. To be honest I've had about 20 experiences like this one, but this one particularly shows the travails of entertainment and entertainment people.

It started of when Dani, I won't use full names, from PBS Interactive contacted me through my website:

comments: Hi Rob,    Congratulations on all of your success with Cooking for Dads – we at PBS are big fans!     I work as a producer for PBS’ Interactive and for PBS Parents and would like to talk with you about the possibility of working with us on a web series for PBS. In March of this year, we launched our network of web original video series’ called PBS Digital Studios*, which features talented people on YouTube (like yourself) producing smart content that aligns with PBS’ values, i.e. music, arts, food, education, parenting, etc. We think you would be a great fit and would love to talk some more about your goals and future plans for Cooking for Dads. Perhaps there is a way we can work together or form some sort of partnership to see if there is a possibility we can help you achieve those goals.     Looking forward to speaking,    Dani   PBS Interactive

Now I know better than to get my hopes up as I've been to this dance before, but it did seem like a cool fit. So after a couple emails I write:


I'm open this afternoon and some tomorrow am. Would today work? The rest of the week gets squirrelly

IPhone, therefore I am
Rob Barrett

Dani writes: 

Hi Rob,

How about next Monday? Say 12pm EST? Also, is there a number where we can reach you?

Thanks! Looking forward to speaking,


I write back

Subject: Re: Cfds and pbs

Yes, next Monday at noon est. 612-3##-###1 is my cell

IPhone, therefore I am
Rob Barrett

At the time I was in the middle of a supposed contest for Everyday Health's show Recipe Rehab and the video that i let them use was on my channel page. (That another story)

Dani writes:

Great! Lastly, can I ask you about your affiliation with Everyday Health? It might make things difficult if you have some sort of contract/partnership with them already. Thanks!


I write back:

I don't, they are considering me for Recipe Rehab. But it's in it's early stages. I'd much rather be part of PBS as I grew up with the galloping gourmet. :-) If I were to be on recipe rehab, I think it's a one time deal, would that be a problem? 

IPhone, therefore I am
Rob Barrett

Dani writes:

Not at all - just thought I'd ask to save our legal department from yelling at us :)
We'd much rather you be a part of our team too! Looking forward to speaking next week,


I move my schedule around so I'm free on that monday, 11 central - 12 EST. I go to my office, close the door and wait.  
After 15-20 minutes I pick up the phone and call them. nothing.

I wait until the full hour and then leave a message on Dani's voice mail:

"Sorry, I thought we had set up a meeting for today at 11, 12 eastern. If you'd like to reschedule or if I was mistaken let me know. I'd still really like to work with you and PBS Interactive."

I also send an email of similar content.

2 1/2 weeks go by and I never received a response. So finally I write this email:


Just wondered if you would give me a little explanation about what happened? I know you don't owe me an explanation but it seemed you wanted to partner with me and you said you were big fans. 

But then our phone call time didn't happen, my message and emails went unanswered, and I assume you are no longer interested. But I just wondered what happened? Did I say something?

It would be nice to get some closure.

Thanks for your response.

Rob Barrett, Jr.
Cooking for Dads

I get this the next day.

Hi Rob,

Sorry for the miscommunication -  I never had any call scheduled. 

We have a strategy meeting today where I can play a few of your videos for my colleagues, so let me get back to you early next week. Again – apologies for the miscommunication.


PBS Interactive

I wrote back:

That would be great. Let me know. Rob

On Dec 7, 2012 I hear back from PBS


The way we usually work with people is a revenue shared, **% to you and **% to us to cover our distribution and outreach efforts as well as potentially helping with uploading and annotating. Is that something that would interest you? It would be helpful to know your feelings on this before we schedule a call.



I answer:


That would be fine.

IPhone, therefore I am
Rob Barrett

December 10, 2012 she says:

Great – I’ll get back to you by the end of the week with more details.


I hear nothing.

Well, I'm nothing if not persistent, so after a month I write back:


Just wanted to follow up. Any updates on working together? PBS would be a great fit for me and I think i bring enough variety to the table (see latest episode on Ice Globes and Luminaries) to keep people's interest.

Hope you had a great new years.  Rob

I hear back from Dani, (inexpicably)

Hey Rob,

Let’s start here: Where do you see your channel going in the next year? How are ways you hope to improve or expand your channel – i.e. content, camera/editing, etc.



Hmm, back to square one. So I write back about all the exciting things going on with radio interviews, new cameras, exciting new recipes and ideas for expanded episodes, etc, etc.

Needless to say, I'm not expecting a call from them. It's amazing how many people in this business are like this as it has happened to me quite a few times. Like the time I flew out to LA to meet with Mylie Cyrus' agent who had called me, only to get a text message canceling as I landed.

So when you find someone who is straight up with you, you really appreciate them. I've had dealings with Target and the LWN network which didn't work out but they were honest and straightforward. I will do business with them any time if things are to change.

So be careful out there. It's a tough business.

cook well,
Rob Barrett
Cooking for Dads

Sunday, March 17, 2013

5 Minute Chinese Beef - no more take out

Here's the written version:

Rob's 5 Minute Chinese beef.

1 pound sirloin steak cut in small pieces, about 1/2 inch cubes.

Add a little sesame oil to a frying pan on high heat. Once pan is hot, add beef and fry until outside is brown flipping often. 

Lower heat and add:

2 spoonfuls hoisin sauce
2 spoonfuls soy sauce
1 spoonful sugar
2 spoonfuls rice vinegar
1 spoonful peanut butter

Stir until combined. Serve over rice. 

Optional, add 2 handfuls pea pods with ingredients for sauce. Stir until hot.

© 2012 Cooking for Dads

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pan-fired T-bone Steak with Pepper Cream Sauce

Here's an easy way to make a steak that you'll really love.

Try it, you'll like it.

Rob Barrett
Cooking for Dads