B5 Step Action Plan: Pitch A Reality Show The Smart Way
Iwhat Well Cover In How To Pitch A Reality Show
There is A LOT here. If you spend the time to read, understand, and execute what we discuss, youll be miles ahead of most people who pitch reality ideas to us.
- FIRST: Well give you the background info you need to know about the reality TV business. Youll learn how different kinds of reality TV shows work. Plus, well break down why you should avoid pitching certain kinds of shows when youre just starting out.
- NEXT: Well dispel some myths about reality TV ideas. Well explore why written descriptions have very little to do with how to pitch a reality show. Youll learn to create pitch materials, and how to make yourself valuable when pitching reality TV.
- FINALLY: Well talk about where and how to pitch a reality show once youve put together your pitch package. From pitch pits, to production companies, to networks, well break down your options. And of course, we hope youll pitch to us, too.
When youre done, youll know how to pitch a reality show that excites professionals.
Wed love it if your concept is something we can make together.
A15 Things To Remember About How To Pitch A Reality Show
In a nutshell, heres what you now know about how to pitch a reality show
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A Word Of Warning
Understand What It Takes To Produce A Talk Show
This carries over from that big fluffy sentence in the last paragraph of the previous section. All that stuff about foundational knowledge of the craft. What we mean by this is take some classes in video and television production. These days, production classes are available at nearly any community college and there likely are tons of private classes at camera rental facilities, public access television networks even online. This base knowledge of how to construct a show, design a set, pace the program, set your cameras, light the guests and so forth will allow you to build something thats both unique to your sensibilities and professional to anyone who discovers it.
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Produce Your Show A Few Of Them
We wont get into how to produce your show in this column, but we will tell you this: make sure you get a fair number shot, edited and ready to post before you start marketing your program. Remember, youre gonna have a nine-to-five job while youre trying to launch your talk show, so having a broadcast plan is imperative.
If your show is going to broadcast weekly, consider film one or two months worth of evergreen shows programs with guests whose expert advice is good any day of the week to help you keep up with your promised schedule. That way, you can miss a week or two and still have something to show.
Fwill Networks Meet With You
If youre a new producer and dont have an agent, probably not.
If you do pay to pitch at a seminar or pitch fest, you might be pitching to lower-level execs. They may or may not have the power to move your show up the ladder. However, that is one way to get a network face to face.
Also, if you pitch to a network first, you might have less choice over which production company you end up with.
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Areality TV Ideas Aka What Are You Actually Pitching
Okay, were about to burst a lot of bubbles out there. Lets rip off the band-aid and get it done.
You dont just create a reality TV pitch on a piece of paper, send if off to Mr. or Ms. Important, and make a bundle of money.
Pitching reality TV means pitching something real that you have access to film.
Reality TV ideas are a dime a dozen, and ideas, in and of themselves, are pretty much worthless. Everybody has one. Many are identical or very similar to each other.
Even if you take that idea and turn it into a fleshed out treatment, its still just a glorified reality TV idea. Theres no real life substance to it.
Which means theres an overwhelming number of people convinced that pitching:
- American Idol for Bartenders/Rappers/Animal Trainers/You Name It
- Survivor set in the Arctic/On the Ocean/In Space/Wherever
- Cash Cab on a Train/Boat/Bus/Military Transport
are worthy of paper pitches that can be five to fifty pages in length.
Is That You?
If youre an aspiring producer guilty of creating these kinds of shows, its not your fault.
There has long been a fallacy in Hollywood that one big idea can propel you to riches. Its like a great fairy tale told over and over again.
Many people pitch reality shows as if they are playing the lottery . Heres an idea, Ill take a shot at the big time.
A big part of this misconception is due to some
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Cwatching Television With A Critical Eye
If you want to sell reality shows, watching a lot of TV is a must.
Nothing is more disheartening than when people pitch us shows that would never be on TV today .
Theres no sense in spending time on pitches networks will never buy.
What often happens is people pitch what they think would sell, even if those shows have been out of style for a while.
Often Pitched Reality Shows that Have No Chance
For example, here are some often-pitched shows that arent going to launch your career or get producers excited about working with you.
- arts and craft shows
- old school, magazine style travel shows
- cooking shows .
If you turn on the TV today and look at what most major broadcast and cable networks are airing, youd be hard pressed to find a lot of shows from the list above.
Yet these kinds of shows are some of the most pitched by people just starting out in the reality TV industry.
Sure, some versions of these shows show up from time to time, but theyre not what most networks are programming today.
Theyre also not the kind of pitches that get production companies and networks excited about working with new producers.
Too Unique? Maybe.
In general, if theres nothing like the show youre pitching on major cable or broadcast networks, theres a good reason.
One of our goals with this guide is to save you from wasting time on reality show ideas that have very little chance of making it to air.
The best way to do that is to watch reality TV. All of it.
We hear that a lot.
- Top Chef
Identify A Fresh Unique Concept
One critical element is to have an original idea that will work for a TV show. Not all ideas can withstand the episodic demands of a TV series. You need a concept that will captivate an audience and keep them engaged throughout eight or more episodes, depending on the length of the TV shows season.
Additionally, most TV shows are designed to have multiple seasons, so keep this in mind when developing your idea.
Take your time developing and testing the core of your idea. If your concept doesnt stand out, youll waste time later on when you pitch an idea that doesnt capture peoples attention.
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Setting up and managing your show on Roku can be expensive, tough, and challenging. It takes time to learn and understand customers and find out what type of show content they like and want to watch.
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Lets Talk About Connected TV Show Advertising
Roku currently has over 24 million active accounts. These figures are rapidly increasing with their push to expand in Europe.
Amazon Fire currently has 41 million active accounts. And these are users NO viewers. There could be 3 to 4 people in each household viewing, so the combined viewers could be around 200 million people.
I dont think I have to tell you but these are really big numbers and they are going to get bigger.
Twenty years ago there were less than 8 million people on the internet. Today its billions.
These platforms are operating systems for television that turn the show into an internet television show, which is going to grow just like the internet did.
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Your own show is finally a great advertising and marketing option. And with Connected TV Advertising, you can now be seen by more people with your own show, FASTER than ever before!
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How to Start a Cooking TV Channel on Roku/Amazon Fire TV/AppleTV
A successful channel takes a lot of work, but weve brokendown how to start your Roku Channel cooking show into these simple steps:
- Remember that if you ALREADY have a nicefollowing on YouTube, and already create cooking videos, this is an additionalstep that can 30-million potential MORE viewers to your show!
- Watch a lot of other cooking shows. Check outwhat others are doing and see where you could add something new to the market.Form your concept around something youre confident that you can do well with aunique perspective.
For Seasoned Pros and even Intermediate Skill VideoCreators:
How to Create Content for a TV Channel on Roku/Amazon Fire TV/AppleTV
Here are some tips for planning your TV Channel content:
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Understanding How Reality TV Works
In section 1, Understanding How Reality TV Works, we give you an overview of different types of reality TV shows.
- What types of reality shows different networks program
- How different kinds of shows are structured
- What kind of pitches new producers are most likely to sell.
Wrapping your head around the different genres, styles, and structures of unscripted television will give you a giant leg up on most new producers pitching reality TV.
Adifferent Types Of Reality Shows
People tend to lump all reality TV together in one giant bucket of unscripted stew.
But theres a wide range of reality TV shows out there, more properly called unscripted programming.
When you start thinking about how to pitch a reality show, its important to recognize different reality TV genres and types of shows.
For simplicitys sake, lets talk about movies for a second.
Weve all seen plenty of films.
The Notebook couldnt be more different than Plan 9 from Outer Space, right? Some people enjoy Fincher flicks, some like The Farrelly Brothers.
Go to the movies and you can catch a comedy, a drama, a VFX laden blockbuster. Totally different kinds of films.
We all get that. Cinemas over a century old.
But reality TV is a young form of entertainment, and people are still wrapping their heads around it.
Still Pretty New
Because of that, the differences in genres of unscripted entertainment are often lost on the casual viewer.
If youre going to learn how to pitch a reality show, you dont have the luxury of being a casual viewer. You need to recognize what makes different types of reality shows work, and use that to your advantage when pitching.
Unscripted Television Has Many Faces
- The First 48
- The Voice
- Unmasking a Killer
Theyre wildly different, yet all fall in the unscripted television bucket.
More times than we care to count, new producers pitching us concepts assume they know what how reality shows work, but havent watched any recently .
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Why We Wrote This
The question were asked most is how can I pitch a reality show?
Its no wondergood advice on the unscripted television business is hard to come by.
A lot of the reality TV advice that litters the internet was written by people whove never sold or made a show, or dont understand how the unscripted television business works. Much of the information about making documentaries looks it the subject in relation to theatrical releases, not making television series.
So we designed How to Pitch a Reality Show to be the webs best, totally honest, and insanely helpful free resource about pitching factual entertainment.
All backed up by real world examples and experiences from TV shows weve both sold and produced, taking productions from beginning to end.
Our hope is that this guide saves you time and resources, and of course, that you consider pitching your shows to us.
Hreality TV Pitch Materials
In the last section we mentioned the idea of shooting tape. Far and away, the best way to get producers and networks excited is to walk in with a great video.
If you only spent your time on one thing, it should be making a terrific tape for your reality show idea.
That said, DONT GO BROKE.
Theres no good reason to spend thousands of dollars on a pitch tape or sizzle reel. Its not necessary to hire a company who specializes in sizzle reels.
You certainly shouldnt waste months of time putting a sizzle reel together. Thats not how to pitch a reality show, either.
Heres the short list of things you want to have together to pitch any kind of reality show:
Great Tape .
- On the down-and-dirty side, your pitch tape should at least show off your great characters and what they do. Doesnt have to be perfect. Weve sold shows using Skype footage taped off of a computer screen. After all, if your characters dont pop on Skype, they wont pop when you put a $20,000 camera in their face, either.
- On the high-end side, your tape should feel like a television promo for the main networks that make sense for your reality show pitch. Go to their websites and watch promos for new shows. Think of your tape as having that kind of energy, but longer interviews.
Anything Extra That Brings Your Reality TV Show to Life.
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