This last week we traveled to New York City meeting up with our Producing partners from the UK and California to talk about a world-wide show.
Our talent is in NYC and we are all over the globe!
Once home we have been on the phone, Skype and email across time zones and datelines.
Plans for our next show are on two continents.
Technology has paved the way for us to instantly work across the world but media access in every country has made shows translate more easily into multiple, international markets.
We truly live in an amazing age!
If you are producing or pitching a show the TITLE is the most important element of getting your show noticed.
Heres are words of wisdom from the TV Writers Vault
Television is a title driven medium unlike any other. It keys on brand identification, and demands efficiency and effectiveness in delivering the first message to the viewers... the Title. Any great idea for a TV show, especially if you are going to pitch a reality show, must have a great title.
A great title rolls off the tongue easily, provokes the imagination, and simply tells you exactly what you’re going to be watching. In reality programming, “Blind Date”, “Temptation Island”, “The Bachelor”, “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire” are all good examples. Word play is always a good way to grab attention and create curiosity. “Meet the Parents” “Elimidate” “Joe Millionaire” “The Real World” “Around the World in Eighty Dates” are all specific to what their show is about, but use known phrases to create new titles that peak curiosity.
Most importantly, a title needs to support the concept of the show. If you have a title in mind before you write the synopsis or outline for the show, take a second run at alternative titles after you have developed your show. You may find that the show, after being outlined and developed, has taken on a new theme or concept and there may be a title better suited.
A title projects a feeling and provokes a thought process. So have fun, and invest your thought process in creating titles that make a viewer (and a Network) say, "I want to know what that is".
All unscripted television is based on themes that effect everyone and people can relate to.
Reality TV may take it too far at times but the themes of family, love and loss affect every person's life. Audiences love unscripted television because no matter the environment or the situation there is always a tidbit of truth.
This is a casting call or show list of what networks are looking for:
At last week's NATPE Content First event in Los Angles there was a lot of talk about pitching the next big unscripted show and creating the perfect sizzle reel.
What are the key concepts in today's TV environment: there's a lot our there and a lot more to come!
Experienced Producers remember that TV is a volume business. Hours upon hours of programming are needed in every expanding markets, channels and forms of media.
New shows are needed all the time, new ideas are welcome, original ideas are coveted.
Networks and producers are ready and willing to take your pitch and see your reel.
They can just as quickly pass on the idea, still searching for the next big thing. What happens when they have seen the reel and 'poof'! In two minutes you have had your chance. This means you should make your reel fast and sharp, make it sing about your show, make it simple and make it memorable... but make it cheap.
When ideas fly in and out of TV decision makers offices all day, his or her idea could be turn and burn. You have sunk your creativity and production prowess into the reel, just don't sink a lot of money.
This is a volume business, so plan and spend accordingly.
Let's talk Development.
I have been involved in a lot of talk about film Development and have recently set up several Development Companies to help fund feature films as well as a TV Series. Before you can make a movie you have to develop it- like any new endeavor it needs organization and a plan. A movie is actually a business venture and should be set up like you are starting a company.
A Development company isn't a movie. It is the entity that will organize to make the movie. If it's a studio its already set up. If you are a Production company you may also be in a position to develop movie projects. If you are a Producer the best way to set your movie making wheels in motion is to set up and fund a Development Company.
What you can do in your Development Company is pay to option a book or script, engage professionals to help you re-write the script or get materials together to pitch investors. If you really want to be prepared to approach money sources you will also need the best creative marketing materials and a Line Produced budget. Development can include many normal business expenses.
Whatever you spend on your pitch reel and pitch materials is "Development". For a TV series, don't spend a lot because you'll never get it back. The money you do spend on shooting a reel is part of the deal.
Wahoo a free trip to Cannes! Not exactly. Travel to the Cannes Film Market is a legitimate expense of a movie if you actually make a DEAL while you are there, not 'talk to people'. Everyday business and professional services are acceptable expenses. Development is not a free ride but it is money you can get paid back to you through your movie budget. (By the way; your Investors and friends at the IRS won't buy the Cannes trip.)
All the money you put into getting ready to make your movie, television show or web series is "Development", keep track of it.
When pitching a new show the first thing we script and shoot is a sizzle reel. A mini- trailer or music video that quickly introduces your show concept.
This 2-3minute piece is meant to introduce, explain and entice: the reel should explain to a network or production executive what your show is all about, highlight your talent/host and leave them wanting more. Great reels are short and catchy!
Here are some great tips from 3 Ball Executive Producer Hugh Peterson on the format:
1) Introduce the world in which the show takes place (i.e. crab fishing, bounty hunting, baby pageantry, etc.)
2) Introduce your main characters
3) Show potential stories (generally through a fast paced montage of high-drama character interactions and moments specific to the world they live in)
Think of it as a very truncated version of what the show would actually be. You would start with a cold open that gets the audience fired up about what they are about to see, then have the title package that shows your main characters, then get into the actual stories that make up the episode.
Don't get too specific with one or 2 stories in the sizzle, you don't want the network to think that they have seen the total potential for the show. One of the most important things is to make it seem like there are endless possibilities for stories with your show idea. You want a sizzle that gets the network excited about the idea and makes them think of a ton of potential stories that they can cover with the show.
Its harder than you think to make a great sizzle. If you can demonstrate what your TV show is all about in 2 minutes then you have really got something!
Check out our sizzle reels: https://vimeo.com/kellysallaway
Harsh Reality: Unscripted TV Reality Shows Offensive to Families
Although reality-based television series are not a new phenomenon (MTV created The Real World over a decade ago), it was not until the debut of Survivor on CBS during the summer of 2000 that the "reality" genre managed to overcome the "lowbrow" stigma attached to it by sensationalistic specials like When Animals Attack and Caught in the Act, and became not only popular, but respectable too.
But the fact that reality programs have become mainstream, does not mean that they've also become family-friendly. Too often these series become a thinly veiled excuse for encouraging the contestants' reckless, irresponsible, or just plain stupid behavior, for the sake of an entertaining half-hour or hour of TV.
Kelly Sallaway,Producer for Kellan Media is tasked with the care and feeding of the Kellan Blog.