These days it seems that every other person you talk to is attempting to create, package and sell a reality show! It is the quickest way to achieve “stardom” by using your creative talents. And, it is fun to see your idea on TV. Yet, packaging and selling a TV show is one of the most difficult tasks you will ever do. It takes luck, timing and big characters to get someone to notice your show.
Along with coaching job candidates and working as a headhunter, I am also a writer who has been creating and packaging non-scripted TV show for the past three years. I have come up with 15 ideas, where I wrote pitches, found and filmed talent and created pipelines to try to sell these shows. The journey has been difficult with lots of ups and downs.
Here are some tips and facts in the world of non-scripted TV:
1.) Know that whatever concept you have created has, most likely been pitched before. There are no new topics out there, rather its all about the characters that are in the show that count. Almost all networks these days are looking for “character-driven” shows.
2.) The number of shows being pitched is mind numbing! Networks receive pitches from agents like CAA& WME, along with the umpteen production companies across the world who make a living by selling shows. Most of the networks also have their own creative team who are continually working with casting firms to develop their own shows, so the competition is fierce.
3.) There are a lot of “thieves” out there in production land that will take your ideas and find their own talent or worse yet, take your talent and cut you out of the deal! So watch out who you work with and trust your gut instinct.
4.) There is not a whole lot of money in reality TV the first couple of years. The production company appears to make the most money since they get paid directly from the networks to produce the show. Also, networks typically only work with their own short list of production companies that they have had success with, so the best you can hope for is to stay attached to the project.
5.) You only get one shot with a network, so make sure you are prepared when you finally make it in for a pitch meeting. They give you 10-15 minutes of time and know exactly what they want when they finally meet you. Make your meeting count.
I have a show I developed and brought in partners. It was a finalist at the NYTVF (New York TV Festival) this weekend, where it was screened and our team attended pitch meetings. I met Al Roker who was mildly interested in our show, but gave us all a peppermint. The quest for selling our show continues, but we are getting closer to a deal.
For all you who have a great idea and a cast of BIG characters, contact me and maybe we can work together to get it sold. Or, check out the many LinkedIn groups that will help you navigate in this crazy, but exciting world of non-scripted TV.