All television shows start as an idea in someone's head. The idea goes through many revisions and changes before it appears on the screen as you see it. Selling an idea for a television show to a network or a production company involves years of preparation, knowing the right people, and having an idea that appeals to the masses. The process takes time and effort, but can reward successful producers with fame and fortune.
- Skill level:
Look up your idea on the Internet. This process verifies that your idea originated from you and did not enter your subconscious from reading or viewing. Unique ideas tend to sell easier than direct copies.
Protect your idea or format. One way to do this involves registering your idea with the Writer's Guild of America (WGA). For a small fee, your idea remains protected legally for a period of time. You may continue to renew this idea as long as desired. This assures no one can steal your idea without legal repercussions.
"Network" with people in the business. The television industry involves meeting people higher up and becoming friends. The best ideas do not always sell so you need to know the right people who can advance your idea to the next stage.
Find an agent. People wanting to start a television series should hunt for a literary agent who can be found by a recommendation or Google search. Arrange a meeting. These agents connect you to people in the industry you cannot contact on your own.
Arrange a meeting with a production company to pitch your show. If you have never sold a television show before, you will need people who have already accomplished this task to help produce your program. Television production involves crews of dozens of people, who all need to be paid. A production company can help provide this.
Prepare to tweak your television show. Few ideas go straight from concept to air without large changes. Regardless if your show becomes picked up or not, changes are going to be suggested in order to appeal to a larger audience. If your show does not get picked up, repeat all the previous steps until you find a company that is interested.
Work with the production company to pitch the show to a television network. The network may choose to order a pilot. After the pilot, if the show is successful, the network may make the show a series. If the show does not get picked up, repeat the process until you achieve the results you desire. A pick up is not guaranteed.
Tips and warnings
- Do not become depressed by rejection. Starting a television series involves months if not years of people rejecting your ideas. Immediately start again and keep things fresh.
- The process to start a TV show doesn't happen overnight. Selling a television show takes months, if not years.
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