HOW TO PITCH A TV SHOW – Part 5 – Following Up

So you went to the meeting and now you’re wondering when and how to follow up? Make sure you’re patient and don’t bother people more than you should!

After the meeting, it’s a good idea to send everyone present (or at least the main meeting person) an email thanking them for the opportunity to meet. DO NOT MAKE THIS A LONG EMAIL. It should be short (a few lines at most), and it should just simply thank them without questions. Don’t take it personal if they don’t reply to this email. You only send it as a courtesy.

If you are going to follow up with them, wait at least a few days before doing so. If you are meeting with an establish TV network, they have a lot on their plates, so make sure you give them ample time to put your idea in context.

If they told you in the meeting that they would think about it, then let them think about it. Don’t bother the TV network people with bothersome emails bugging them for updates. Just let it be. It’s probable that you might not get a response at all. This very well means that they’re not interested. Or sometimes they’ll send you an email letting your know that they’re not interested. If you get this email or no response, DO NOT send them an angry reply. You will only burn your bridges with the network and it will be a LONG TIME before you get another meeting, if you get another one at all.

If you have an agent or manager, let them handle the follow ups. That’s why they’ll get a commission of what you get paid if you sell the idea. Let them do their job.

However, if the TV network is interested in your idea, then they will let you know. You might have to attend a few more meeting before anything is complete. The entire process, including contracts, etc. could take months! So don’t quit your other revenue streams just yet. It’s an ongoing, fragile process. Let it take its course and congratulations if you sell your idea!

How To Pitch a TV Show – Part 4 – The Pitch Meeting

This is it! You have a meeting with a TV network. Congratulations! You’ve made it a lot further than most of the people with TV show ideas. So how do you not ruin this crucial moment? Simple. Just be yourself.

During the meeting don’t try to be something you are not. Network executives are regular people like you and me and they will see through someone who is disingenuous. Relax and trust in yourself and your idea. You didn’t come all this way to fail.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: The people in the meeting are analyzing everything YOU do. If you have a great idea that you are pitching them, how you present this idea to them will be key. Here are some tips to maximize your meeting.

Be Light and Funny – Break the ice so that they feel comfortable. This doesn’t meant you have to be hilarious (even though that might help), but at least tell them a joke. If it’s not funny, that’s okay, at least they will appreciate your attempt at lighting up the mood. Don’t get too intense, keep it light. Let them feel they don’t have to react to you, instead that they can just be themselves.

Get to the Point – Don’t waste people’s time with long, boring stories about nothingness. Take advantage of every second of your meeting. This is valuable time and you should use it to sell them you idea.

Don’t Make It Seem Like A Sale – Even though you are selling them the idea, don’t make it seem like it’s a sale. That’s pretty much a regular rule for any salesperson (which you are at this point). You need to make it sound like an organic conversation about your idea.

Make Your Point and Move On – Once you have concisely presented your point, and shown them any relevant materials (video presentation, etc.), then it’s time to move on! You have no idea how many people talk themselves out of opportunities and sure sales because they keep talking more than they need. Don’t gratuitously give information that they don’t need or want. RULE – If they don’t ask, you don’t answer.

End the Meeting – Before they get tired of you, after you think you’ve made all your points, thank them for their time and ask if they have any questions. If they have questions, answer them in short answers. Don’t elaborate when you don’t need to do so. If they don’t have any questions, then shake their hands and be on your way.

Once you leave the meeting you will probably feel relieved and that you made a ton of mistakes. Don’t take it personal if the meeting didn’t go as you planned, because most likely it won’t. Regardless of whether they buy your idea or not, you’ve done great! The learning experience will be more than valuable and the more meetings you get, the better you’ll get at conducting them.

The Top Rated Prime-Time TV Shows are Animated

seth_macfarlane_money

Seth MacFarlane – Creator of Family Guy and American Dad taking his ratings all the way to the bank.

4 out of the top 10-rated shows were animation <– That’s what I wrote last Monday.  This week is no different, except the top-rated show on a Sunday prime-time slot is Family Guy – which in case you don’t know, its an animated comedy for adults.

Is this all a big Coincidence? Or do people actually like funny animated shows? Well, numbers don’t lie. Hopefully other networks, especially Spanish-language, get hip to this trend that has been trending for years.  Just ask The Simpsons – they’ve been on the air for 25 years and still killing on the ratings!

Maybe they think it’s just a phase, just like hip hop and rap music…

(See ratings below…)

04.29.13
Preliminary National Ratings
Show (Network) Rating(18-49) / Share Viewers(Millions)

  1.  Family Guy (Fox) 2.5/7 4.9
  2.  The Amazing Race (CBS) 2.3/6 9.1
  3.  Once Upon a Time (ABC) 2.0/5 7.0
  4.  The Simpsons (Fox) 2.0/6 4.5
  5.  American Dad (Fox) 1.9/5 4.0
  6.  Bob’s Burgers (Fox) 1.7/5 3.5
  7.  Revenge (ABC) 1.7/4 5.9
  8.  60 Minutes (CBS) 1.5/5 11.6
  9.  America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 1.5/5 6.4
  10.  The Mentalist (CBS) 1.5/4 8.7

Data provided by Nielsen

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HOW TO PITCH A TV SHOW – Part 3 – How to Get a Meeting

Once you have your idea ready to go, it’s time to set up a meeting, but oh-oh, how do you get this done? There are a few traditional ways of getting this done, but don’t be afraid to try your own creative methods of setting up a meeting. Your goal should be to have the opportunity to successfully pitch your idea.

Beyond coming up with the idea, the second most creative thing you will probably have to face when pitching an idea to a TV network is in how you get a meeting. Getting a meeting is an artwork of its own, and you must chose what works for you. There is no right or wrong way to get a meeting, as long as you get to successfully pitch an idea. So here are some tips, but be creative and think beyond what other people have done. Maybe what works for you hasn’t been done yet!

1) Get an Agent, Manager or Attorney – There are many articles online on how to get one of these key people who will (or should) be able to set a meeting for you. Find out how to get one, and get one if you can. This probably will be your easiest way in the door.

2) Contact the Networks Directly – This method is quite tricky and difficult. You don’t want to ruin your chance of a meeting if you seem unaware of what are the guidelines to set up a meeting with the network. You just can’t call up and ask to speak with the programming executive (who’s usually the person who will evaluate your idea) and expect him or her to say, sure come in this afternoon. Yet, to contradict myself, this has happened before, but it is very rare. First, you probably won’t get them on the phone. You most likely will get an assistant of some sort. TREAT THE ASSISTANT WELL! They hold the power of connecting you to the person that you need.

3) Attend Networking Events – This method is a bit difficult as well, but a lot safer, since you’ll hopefully be in a business environment where meeting solicitations are common.

4) Stalk The Network Executive – I suggest you DON’T go this route.