Connect the Speakers: 'Chopped' creator Dave Noll on knowing your 'one-click' sentence

Learn the secrets of pitching successful TV shows and how they can be applied to real estate

Dave Noll was in television for several years working at MTV Networks — creating shows and bringing them to life for outlets that included MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. But it wasn’t until he saw the television show Elimidate that he found a niche he could riff on for ages — he calls it a “4, 3, 2, 1” concept. Noll sold one to the former Court TV involving a real-life crime with four suspects; each one gets eliminated until at the end of the hour, the killer is revealed; after two episodes, though, Court TV ceased to exist, so he moved on to the next concept. Another show he sold to MTV was about best friends; “it’s a 16-year-old girl and her four best friends, and you whittle them down to see who is your very best friend. It was so great…but MTV told us it was too mean.”

Today, Noll is the brains behind the Food Network’s Chopped, where four chefs create an appetizer, main course and dessert using specific ingredients; it’s (you guessed it!) a 4, 3, 2, 1 show in which chefs get eliminated until there’s a winner. He’s going to be talking about what he’s learned about pitching television shows in “one click” and how it can apply to your real estate business at Inman Connect New York, January 29 through February 1 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square.

Tell us a little more about your session. How will it address how the industry can embrace the shifting market?

What we realized about the one-click concept was two things. One is there’s so much happening in a day for everyone, whether it’s a TV executive or a mom — immediately you get up and you’re on your phone, and you’re bombarded with a thousand things. What Trump tweeted, or this actor’s dating this person. If you watched Good Morning America ten years ago and now, Good Morning America ten years ago had three stories in the first ten minutes. Good Morning America now has like 24 stories in 10 minutes — it’s bang, bang, bang, and there’s monkeys throwing things and it’s just crazy. A Kardashian and a royal and a Trump and a this.

So we ended up focusing on what makes a great television show, where you last for years and people talk about you. One day we started fixating on — you’re at a party, and there’s 40 people there and you’re standing around and there’s an acquaintance next to you and somehow you ask “what are you watching on TV,” and that to us is the one-click moment. You have to be able to say it so succinctly that then they can go and tell somebody else, and it has to be so obvious that it’s easy to remember. So certainly when you’re pitching shows and talking to an executive, you have to keep in mind that the executive will have to talk to a sales team, a marketing team, their boss, and they have to have the same line.

So when you’re at the party and you say “I’m watching this new show on HBO with a couple who’s selling drugs and they have kids and it’s difficult,” nobody is going to remember that, but if you say “I’m watching Game of Thrones,” and they say “What’s that?” And then you say “It’s like Lord of the Rings but it’s on HBO so there’s sex and violence” — they’ll remember that. Or NCIS New Orleans — “the same show but in New Orleans.” When you talk about successful shows in conjunction with your show, you can almost every single time one-click it to something else.

The best example, in 2004 ABC came out with this show called Lost, and if you picture Lost and the billboard in Times Square, it’s this gigantic billboard with a huge cast, 12 people, and in the center there’s this 32-year-old good-looking white guy with brown hair, then there’s this bald guy who you know is going to chop through the jungle, a cute little blond girl, a good-looking brunette lady, and a rugged dirty kind of dude. And everyone who talks about Lost and the writers, they talk about coming up with the concept and the metaphor of the island and all this other stuff, the horror of this and the abandonment of your parents, but I am like, “That really is kind of horseshit because I know how that show was pitched. It’s a perfect one-click show.

If you go back in your mind only four years before, it’s 2000, and there’s a billboard for a prime-time show that airs at 8 for an hour, just like Lost. There’s an island and a large cast of diverse people, and there’s a good-looking white guy, a bald guy, a blond woman, and a rugged dirty dude, and it was wildly successful, but it was called Survivor. It was a reality show, and now it’s a drama. In Survivor the main character is Jeff, and in Lost it’s Jack. And they look almost identical. It’s the same guy. It’s that simple. So I’m positive that when they went in, they said “This is Survivor, but it’s a drama.”

It’s the same mechanism in real estate — the same party, where someone says “Oh, I’m selling my house.” That moment is the moment of your life as an agent, that’s the moment where you need the other person to say “There’s this woman we worked with or heard about or read about,” and that’s where you need the one-click. What is the sentence that’s the takeaway? What is the one thing they say about you that’s so memorable?

There’s a woman who sells houses near us who did this animation of herself, it’s this sexy, fun cartoon of her, and I remember seeing it and thinking “This is genius.” The animation looks sophisticated and friendly, and I met her at one point and said “that was so amazing,” she did one thing that made her so memorable. Clearly you also have to be a great agent. Everybody’s dying for a specialist in their life. It’s one of the big things. They dream about “what if I had a driver, a personal chef, the expert to manage our money.” That to me is what a real estate agent needs to be now — the VIP experience. Yes, you could go online and do this, but if you go to Lindsay Smith, Lindsay Smith is going to treat you like you deserve to be treated and handle everything. What’s the one thing you can say about her that the person will immediately embed in their brain? So if they’re talking to somebody else who’s thinking about moving, they go “I heard about this lady, she sells real estate and she’s great at it.”

Discover the opportunities in a changing market at Inman Connect New York, January 29 – February 1. Jumpstart 2019 with tactical takeaways, unlimited networking and thought-provoking speakers. Learn more.

Thinking about bringing your team? You may qualify for special group perks! Contact us to learn more.