Its all in the Pitch!
Here are a few steps on the right way to get your show idea in front of the right people. There are a lot of scams out there so beware. The few tips we will suggest will help you find the right path in your road to success.
1. Research current programming to educate yourself on the current television trends. Currently, docu-style reality series are very popular for most cable networks. A unique family, business, lifestyle, or profession can be filmed to create a compelling docu-style reality series for TV. Try to come up with something original.
2. Thoroughly develop your show idea and put it into writing. A 1-to-3-page synopsis is fairly standard for reality-based concepts, whereas scripted projects should include a 3-to-10-page synopsis.
In the American television industry, the format used to pitch shows is the "Treatment". This requires only a few components including a Title, Logline, Synopsis, and proposed cast if pitching a docu-style series or scripted series
3. Create a clever and powerful Title. Using known catch-phrases, or a "play on words" is the best approach to pull interest from readers and viewers.
4. Write a catchy logline. The logline is a one- or two-sentence description of your show designed to sell producers on the idea. If your concept can’t easily translate to a logline, it might not be very marketable. It should tell us what we're watching, and what clever hook or premise there is in the show.
It is important to have a professional quality sizzle reel to pitch directly to a network as well as having a foot in the door. If you happen to have any short video on the subject or proposed concept, it can help Producers see the potential of the project. Keep any video down to 2 to 3 minutes with quick cuts.
5. If you are writing a scripted TV show, such as a drama, learn how to write scripts. Script-writing classes can be taken at local community colleges.
If you are creating a reality television show, ensure that you are creating an executable format. In the case of reality competition shows, ensure that every aspect of game play is outlined. It is important to write what we are specifically watching unfold in brief, yet powerful points.
Specialized script-writing software can make quick work of a script. Movie Magic Screen Writer or Final Draft are popular picks.
6. Register your project with any copyright system service. This will protect your intellectual property and give you time-stamped proof of creation. You may also wish to register your project online with the Writers Guild of America.
Both cost $20 per project. The WGA option will cost just $20 ($10 if you are already a WGA member).
The registered material is kept on file for five years, at which time you may renew.