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.
Preparing you TV show idea means that you will write, re-write your concept and have something to show the networks. You have to show them what your idea is, in one way or another.
The fact is that ideas are everywhere and everyone has them, so that doesn’t make an idea that important. Actually there are so many ideas in the world that they’re pretty much close to worthless. This holds true for TV show ideas. It’s not very difficult to come up with a good TV show idea, and pretty much anyone can come up with one with a little thought. So how do you make your idea BETTER than the other millions of ideas out there? How do you present this idea in a way that seems like it’s the GREATEST THING EVER?
It starts out with preparation. You just can’t think of an idea and then call up the TV networks and tell them about it. I mean, you could, but probably won’t get your very far – even if it truly is a great idea. Networks don’t buy ideas, they instead buy “the thinker behind the idea”. This is important to understand because if you don’t prepare your idea in a way that showcases YOU in the best light possible, then it makes your idea untrustworthy.
So how do you prepare your idea?
1) Put it in Writing – This means thoroughly writing down you concept down to every miniscule detail. You’ll notice as you are writing, that more elements to your idea start to surface. Write these down too. This is an extremely important step in preparing your idea. Your writing will demonstrate that you have thought about all possible angles of your idea.
2) Re-Write It – Don’t skip this step, since this might very well be what makes your idea something worthwhile. Read your idea, let some people you trust hear it or read it and ask for feedback. Read or watch similar ideas and dissect what makes them work. Do all the research you can about your concept. Now re-write your idea. If you did all your due diligence, now you should have a new insight or something different to add or take away from your idea. KEEP IT TO THE POINT – Don’t take your idea in all sorts of direction. Keep it focused and remember this rule: LESS IS MORE!
3) Show It – A lot of people think they can just take their idea to the networks and that they will immediately get millions of dollars to make the idea come to life. If you have this in mind, you might want to reconsider your pursuit of success in the TV industry in general. It most likely not work the way you plan. The fact is today selling a TV show is quite competitive. People are taking fully produced TV series to TV Networks. The advantage is that having something already done will minimize the network’s risks.
This leaves you to having something to show. That means a video, a trailer, some production picture, something! Invest in making your own idea happen. If you believe in your idea being so great, then it shouldn’t be difficult for you to do whatever it take to bring it to life. After all, if you wouldn’t put your own money in your idea, what makes you think that a TV network will want to?
When you invest time and money into your TV show idea it shows the network that you are serious and committed. It also allows them to visualize your idea within their programming. Because remember that when they buy a TV show, they have to turn around and sell it to advertisers. If they think that advertisers won’t like your idea, they probably won’t buy it. That’s why you have to “wow” them with your presentation. You have to go in there prepared with something to SHOW. It’s a TV “SHOW” and not a book proposal. You have to show them your idea is awesome and that advertisers would be all over it. The network executives become your audience, so they have to like what you present to them, before they can even start thinking about buying your pitch.
DO NOT use the “I don’t have money to produce anything” excuse. That’s the lamest excuse you can use, ever. If you think you have a million dollars waiting on the other side of a door, wouldn’t you do whatever it took to get that door opened? Of course! Same with your TV show idea. Use your credit cards, mortgage your house, borrow money, plain and simply go above and beyond to make your idea happen – of course, only if you think the idea is worth it. The television industry is a risk-taker’s dwelling. If you don’t have the guts to take risks, you should probably get a nine to five job somewhere and be content.
Of course you could put together a Powerpoint presentation and show them that. That might work – BUT if you really want to maximize your chances, take more than that into the meeting. A well put one-minute video trailer of your idea in motion is a lot more powerful than a 100-page Powerpoint presentation.