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