Breaking into the film and television industry without the right connections can be nearly impossible. You may have a great idea for a cartoon series, but unless it reaches the right hands, it will not get produced. However, under the right circumstances, and with luck, you can see your great idea transform into a television series.
Write your series' pilot script. Do not "marry" your first draft. Send it to friends and colleagues for feedback to perfect your pilot. Continue rewriting until you have a solid draft. Protect your script by registering it with the Writers Guild of America (WGA).
Compile a list of agents. Search different agency sites, and research literary agents who specialise in representing television writers for animation. While most agencies will be in Los Angeles, other agencies specialising in animation can be found in New York, and smaller agencies can be found in various cities across the country. Once you complete your list of agents, call each one, and briefly describe your animation concept. Ask if they are interested in reading your script. Some will ask you to send a letter of inquiry, while others will say, "No." If you are lucky, one or more agents will agree to read your script. If an agent does agree to look at your idea, deliver the script in person. This way, you are no longer just a name; they know your face, and you become a person to them. An agent will have the connections to get you into meetings with producers, so agents are essential in the process of creating a television series. If you are lucky and talented, you will land an agent who will get you into meetings with the right people.
Develop a pitch strategy for your series. Know everything inside and out, including characters, settings, plots, future episodes, and even story arcs to fill additional seasons of your series. It is also important to know the style of your show. Will it be outlandish, laugh-out-loud humour, or clever, witty and more subtle humour? You must know these details in order to impress network producers when you pitch your series.
Work with interested producers to get your show off the ground. They will know what is best for the show, and how they want to run its production. Work with them along the way to make sure your pilot script gets produced, and perhaps picked up for a series.
If you encounter agents who demand flat rates to represent you, turn them down. They are frauds. A real agent works for 10 per cent of your earnings. That amount may seem like a lot, but an agent is essential. Remember: 90 per cent of something is better than 100 per cent of nothing.
Tips and warnings
- If you encounter agents who demand flat rates to represent you, turn them down. They are frauds. A real agent works for 10 per cent of your earnings. That amount may seem like a lot, but an agent is essential. Remember: 90 per cent of something is better than 100 per cent of nothing.