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TV show idea: How to sell it?


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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Bill Catherall

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Posted June 05 2003 - 04:27 AM

So I have a really good idea for a TV show. How do I sell it? Who do I talk to? What are my rights?

How likely am I, a nobody, to not only be heard but also have some kind of part in the show either as "talent" or some behind-the-scenes part like producer or creative consultant?

This is something I've been wanting to see on TV for a very long time now and I think the time is right. I also think this is something that could be very popular. What do I do from here?
~Bill

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted June 05 2003 - 04:30 AM

You need to write a treatment, and you need to find an agent. And go to a TON of pitch meetings. Contact the Writer's Guild of America (do a yahoo search). The Agent will tell you waht you need beyond that. Without an Agent you won't get anywhere

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted June 05 2003 - 05:00 AM

What Jeff wrote. In addition to the treatment, it would help to have a script.

Always be prepared for ‘very interesting, what else can you show me?
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#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Bill Catherall

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Posted June 05 2003 - 05:35 AM

Thanks Jeff and Lew. Very helpful information.

And just in case anybody else has wondered about the same thing (see, I give and take :wink: ) I just found an interesting link at SoYouWanna.com. SoYouWanna Pitch a TV show?

(Your helpful tips helped with my search. I had never heard of a treatment before.)
~Bill

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Dan Rudolph

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Posted June 05 2003 - 07:05 AM

Or, if you have a little more funding (how much kind of depends on the show's subject matter), you could put together a pilot and shop it around. You'd still need an agent, though.
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#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Bill Catherall

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Posted June 05 2003 - 10:45 AM

Alright. So I'm going to work on writing up the treatment and also write up a few episodes. Not necessarily scripts, but probably the highlights of a few episodes. Then I'm going to register my treatment with the WGA to legalize it.

But when finding an agent do I just send the treatment out to the agents or do I first write to them and see if they'd like to read it or what? Should I call around instead of write? What's the procedure for finding an agent?

Also, do agents get paid only if the show is made, or do they require some payment upfront? If I don't like the agent I'm working with can I switch agents, or is there some legally binding agreement?
~Bill

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Dan Rudolph

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Posted June 05 2003 - 03:59 PM

Any decent agent will only take a cut of what they sell. Anyone who wants money up front is a con-man.
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#8 of 19 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted June 06 2003 - 01:09 AM

It'll be almost as hard to find an agent as it would be to pitch a show without one. Most agents would probably not read anything that came to them unsolicited.

Sometimes, a "backdoor" can be used to get an agent. If your idea can be serialized as short fiction, it's much easier to get published in a serial magazine than most other places... they will often take unsolicited material direct from an author. This is especially true in certain genres, like scifi, fantasy, horror, and crime stories. Once you've been published, it's easier to get an agent.

-Scott

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Tommy Ceez

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Posted June 06 2003 - 07:37 AM

Cant you just mail a copy of your scripts to youself and leave them sealed in the envelope with the postmark to prove that you had xx idea on yy date?
"We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what someone else did." - Thomas Sowell

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Bill Catherall

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Posted June 06 2003 - 08:00 AM

Tommy, that might cover the legal portion of it. But when you register the treatment with the WGA they provide you a number that you put on the document. Then when people who read your treatment see the number it not only tells them that you have taken the proper steps to protect yourself, but that you are professional and know how to play the game.

Thanks for the other suggestions guys. Posted Image
~Bill

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   John Thomas

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Posted June 06 2003 - 08:03 AM

So, what's the idea? Posted Image

#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Bill Catherall

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Posted June 06 2003 - 09:58 AM

John, I'll let you know after I have a signed contract and the episodes begin taping. Posted Image
~Bill

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Scott_J

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Posted June 07 2003 - 06:06 AM

If the idea is a show about nothing, you should know that that's been done before. Posted Image

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Nathan*W

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Posted June 08 2003 - 05:42 AM

Quote:
If the idea is a show about nothing, you should know that that's been done before.
No, it's a show about something, because apparently that hasn't been done before!Posted Image
 

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted June 08 2003 - 08:13 AM

It's impossible to make a show about nothing, unless it's a black screen for 30min, and then you could argue that it's a show about a black screen. I don't care what the Unfunny One's hype machine says. Seinfeld is a "show about the little annoyances in life"

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   Dan Rudolph

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Posted June 08 2003 - 11:00 AM

Jeff, I think I've seen that show on late night. I've also seen the spin-off with the color bars.
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#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted June 08 2003 - 12:06 PM

I thought the color bars had a groovy theme song Posted Image

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   John Thomas

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Posted June 08 2003 - 12:12 PM

Y'know, under more scrutiny, I can see where Jeff's coming from. There's always a first time for everything. Posted Image

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Tommy Ceez

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Posted June 09 2003 - 06:34 AM

Let me guess, a guy gets into an accident with a man without insurance. To cover the costs the judge orders the uninsured man to act as the first mans butler!
"We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what someone else did." - Thomas Sowell