How to start a TV production company

Written by kay miranda
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How to start a TV production company
Television production requires long hours on set or location. (cameraman image by razorconcept from

Many outlets on the national, regional and local level seek excellent television content. These include cable providers and on-demand content companies. If you have a desire to produce television content under your own company logo, consider starting a television production company. It is important to look at your resources and define what your company does from the outset to better meet the demands of the entertainment market.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Determine the role your company will play in the production process. A production company's role can be broad or narrow. A broad role takes an idea from inception through post-production. A more narrow focus may develop ideas and outsource production teams and equipment.

  2. 2

    Determine your corporate structure, whether sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. Seek legal advice on the structure most advantageous for you.

  3. 3

    Establish the company. Corporations and LLCs are established through the Secretary of State where the company is based. Choose a name. File articles of incorporation, write the bylaws and name the board of directors.

  4. 4

    Establish relationships with other producers, film crew members and equipment houses. Some production companies may buy and maintain equipment such as cameras, lighting and sound. However, given the ever-changing world of technology, it is often more cost-effective to rent equipment only when needed. This ensures you always have the latest equipment for each project.

  5. 5

    Network and create relationships with distribution channels. Building a list of executives helps you sell projects. You can sell a project via a "pitch of an idea" or you can sell a final edited show or movie. The more relationships you have, the easier it is to get meetings to sell your projects. Otherwise, they sit unsold and become financial losses.

  6. 6

    Familiarise yourself with copyright and trademark laws. This is important as you develop ideas, read scripts and produce content. Intellectual property is very easy to steal; make sure you are protecting yourself, your company and your staff's ideas.

  7. 7

    Contact your local film commission to learn about permits and licenses. Some are required for shooting on location; others are needed for pyrotechnic and stunt work you may sometimes require. You will also need to learn about child education requirements, if your company hires minors as actors.

  8. 8

    Review insurance needs with a business insurance agent. If you have employees, you will need to maintain worker's compensation insurance on top of general liability and loss. Days on set where you are actually shooting require additional insurance riders covering equipment rentals, locations and any higher-risk liabilities like stunts.

Tips and warnings

  • Television production companies can focus on series shows, made for television movies or even commercials or infomercials. You may have to work on some creatively unfulfilling productions like commercials as you prove yourself and generate revenue.

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