Maybe you are an aspiring writer and have an idea for a new television show, but are not sure who to contact to see if the idea has on-air potential. While submitting TV show ideas can be a complex process, by taking the appropriate steps, you can have your TV show idea seen by the decision makers within the entertainment industry.
Organise your TV show idea into a proposal. You do not need to have an entire season written into a script format in order to pitch the idea to a production company or producer. However, you must have a solid foundation for the concept of the show. This foundation should include a list of characters and their purpose, the main concept of the show, as well as the basic storyline.
Write the proposal by starting with the title of the show. Understand that if the show is picked up, the title may be changed. However, never submit an untitled TV show idea to a production company. Spend time brainstorming the name of the show and after you have compiled a total of 10 different titles, ask your friends, family or entertainment industry professional their thoughts. Directly underneath the TV show title you will need to place its genre, such as a crime drama, reality show, comedy, etc.
Create a logline for the show. A logline is a two to three sentence introduction to your TV show that clearly explains the purpose and basic idea of the show. This is perhaps the most important aspect of any proposal, as agents, producers or production companies normally read the logline, and if it doesn’t promise an exciting show, the proposal is normally thrown out. Again, spend several days developing the log line of the show. After you have compiled at least 10 to 15 potential loglines, have someone you trust give you their opinions.
Create a list for the lead character and supporting characters for your show. Write down each character name and underneath the name describe the purpose and personality of the character, as well as their relation to the other characters. You do not need to worry about creating a list with every character that will be showcased in your show, only the lead and supporting characters.
Develop the first draft of your show synopsis. This can be up to three pages in length and includes the real details of the show. Start off by giving an outline of the show to ensure the reader gains a true understanding of its purpose. You will want to section off the synopsis into three different categories: "Concept," "Characters" and "Full Show Description." Do not be afraid to delve into some of the details of each character and the full plot line of the show.
Proofread your proposal up to five times to ensure you have not missed any vital aspect of the show. Have trusted friends read your proposal in order to gain an outsiders point of view. Ask them whether or not they have a true understanding of what the show is about and if you should expand or retract information within the proposal.
Contact up to five TV production companies per day and ask to speak with the development department. Do not simply mail your proposal to a production company without speaking to the company first, as this will guarantee your proposal will be sent back to you. All production companies never read unsolicited materials.
Inform the production company that you would appreciate the opportunity to send a TV proposal and ask for the proper address to send your proposal. A list of current TV production studios can be found online. Do not be shocked if several studios reject your request. Just thank them politely, then simply make a note beside the production company name and contact them again three to six months later.
Send your completed proposal to the production companies that agree to look it over. If the production company is interested, they will contact you anywhere from one week to six months after they receive your proposal. If a company is interested, you will then be scheduled for a "pitch meeting," where you will meet with the development team to discuss your show and the potential of further pursuing the project.
Do not overpitch your TV show over the phone. Simply inform the production company of your interest in sending your proposal to them and ask for the proper address to do so. Ask about a non-disclosure agreement prior to sending your TV show proposal. Some production companies require this agreement to be signed prior to reading your proposal to legally protect you and the company.
Word travels fast within the entertainment industry, thus if you pester a production company by calling everyday and not taking no for an answer, you may find yourself with more closed doors than open ones.
Tips and warnings
- Do not overpitch your TV show over the phone. Simply inform the production company of your interest in sending your proposal to them and ask for the proper address to do so.
- Ask about a non-disclosure agreement prior to sending your TV show proposal. Some production companies require this agreement to be signed prior to reading your proposal to legally protect you and the company.
- Word travels fast within the entertainment industry, thus if you pester a production company by calling everyday and not taking no for an answer, you may find yourself with more closed doors than open ones.