Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What the Broadcaster Expects From Your Pitch

This is short and sweet. I just came across this on a Broadcaster's site. It tells you exactly what they're looking for in your "show proposal" (or pitch). Let's call them "Network X". Pretty sexy name, huh?

Let's have a look...

A solid proposal must demonstrate:

  • A strong understanding of Network X's audience and schedule; (Hi. This is me, here in the italics, commenting on their notes. About the "Strong understanding of Network X's audience and schedule: In all fairness - don't waste their time. If your show is really not what they're looking for - a kids show for "The Hunting Channel" - you're wasting their time and your effort.)
  • A strong overall fit with Network X's programming needs; (If they show 1/2 hour episodics, round the clock - don't try to sell them on a Movie of the Week. They've got nowhere in their schedule to run a one-off.)
  • Originality in subject or treatment; (This is a bit of a... I dunno. On one hand, they always ask for ORIGINALITY, while on the other hand, they really want "tried and true" - meaning SAFE programming. If the show tanks, "you know who's" job will be on the line.)
  • Clarity of approach and focus; (Meaning - Know Your Stuff. If your show is about sea creatures, you should have a pretty good knowledge of sea life.)
  • Creativity and imagination; (Goes without saying.)
  • Top-quality writing, research and presentation; (Ditto again. Don't go in with some half-baked idea scrawled on a napkin. It ain't gonna fly.)
  • Credentials of production personnel including a proven track record with professional and creative broadcast series production; (This depends. When I got my first development deal, my credits were really thin. If you have THE GREATEST IDEA IN THE WHOLE WORLD, the broadcaster may require that you partner with a more experienced producer. Don't let this stop you.)
  • A thorough budget and financing scenario, if requested. (You should have a realistic idea of what it will cost to produce the show. Do your research and have it ready if needed.)

Please submit the following with your proposal:

  • Summary of show concept, series focus and treatment; (Hey! They want a Pitch Bible! Go figure...)
  • Outline of its relevance and appeal to Network X's core audience; (In your words, why will people watch it?)
  • Show format and sample rundown (if applicable); (Ya know? In all my years, I've just done my first one of these. And it was only after I'd done it - that anyone asked. Its a good exercise and it helps you to prepare for the pitch.)
  • List of key creative personnel and complete resumes. (Good to have on hand - but the truth is, if you get your show up and running, you can buy all the creative people you want. Make up a "such as" list. Example - "This character will be played by an actor such as Tom Hanks". The reality is, you'll never get Tom Hanks - but it gives them a taste of what you have in mind. Same goes for artists.)
  • Corporate profile with credits; Have your resume handy. ( Or, if you're more experienced, a link to your imdb page.)
  • Video samples of your past work and, if applicable, of proposed host (Makes sense. It's always good to have a demo reel. I'm sure that I sold Freaky Stories on the strength of the 5 minute pilot that I made in my basement.)
  • Signed RELEASE FORM (Yeah, yeah, yeah... They might make you sign one of these to protect themselves. You might have an idea similar to something they already have in development. This actually happened to me - I pitched a show to a network and it was EXACTLY what they had just shot a pilot for. They told me that my pitch was better - incidentally... but no sale...)

1 comment:

  1. Finally I've always wanted to know the nuts and bolts of a pitch bible.