Desperately need help. How to pitch my television show

HI all, it’s been a while since I’ve asked a question here but I desperately need some advice.

I have what I believe is an excellent and unique reality show concept, which I am confident could become a success. However, I am just some random dude in Colorado with no connections to the entertainment industry. And from what I have read without any connections, I will have little chance to pitch my idea to anyone worthwhile. So what do I do? Should I try hiring an agent, or maybe travel to California and try to pitch my idea to anyone who will listen?

When I came up with this idea and developed it over a couple months I realized that making a PowerPoint presentation may not be the best way to sell the idea considering how many people try this exact thing. So I decided to produce and shoot a 2 minute trailer similar to what people would see on TV advertising promoting an upcoming television show as use that as my pitch tool. Since I figure that no producer would meet with “some guy with an idea” then maybe could just send my trailer to the studio and hope someone would watch it and pass it along. I assume someone would much rather watch a 2 minute trailer then listen to a 20 minute pitch in person. Do you guys think this is a good approach to selling my idea?

I have completed about 20% of my trailer and should be finished in early June after the weather has improved. I can also travel to LA if need be for at least a week when necessary. If anyone can give me some advice I would be very grateful.

Thanks all
Nick
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
I have what I believe is an excellent and unique reality show concept, which I am confident could become a success. However, I am just some random dude in Colorado with no connections to the entertainment industry. And from what I have read without any connections, I will have little chance to pitch my idea to anyone worthwhile. So what do I do? Should I try hiring an agent, or maybe travel to California and try to pitch my idea to anyone who will listen?
I don't have good news for you and I'm not going to sugarcoat the
reality of the business for you. I'm also not going to tell you what
you want to do is impossible.

You do not "hire" and agent in the traditional sense - an agent works
on commission and will only represent you if they feel your concept
is a unique and potentially successful as you do. Getting an agent is
the best way to get a pitch. But you will not be able to "hire" a legit,
well connected agent.

You can try to come out here and pitch to anyone who will listen. Wait
for one of the pitch fests. I do not believe they actually work (from
experience) but they are good practice and you get the opportunity to
get a feel of how "Hollywood" works.

Since I figure that no producer would meet with “some guy with an idea” then maybe could just send my trailer to the studio and hope someone would watch it and pass it along. I assume someone would much rather watch a 2 minute trailer then listen to a 20 minute pitch in person. Do you guys think this is a good approach to selling my idea?
First; you pitch needs to be 90 seconds - not 20 minutes. You're going
to find it very difficult to find a producer who will watch a 2 minute trailer.
I don't personally know of that actually working - but that doesn't mean
you should make one and give it a shot.

Now for the harsh, depressing news; TV (especially reality) is far more
difficult to break into than movies. People just don't break in at the top
- and being the creator of a show is the top. It's a long, long path to
getting your concept even seen. If you are willing to follow the long path
you may find success. If not then get your pitch down to 90 seconds
and finish your trailer and come on out to Los Angeles for one of the
dozens of pitch fests offered.
 
Thank you kindly for the detailed response. I somewhat assumed this might be the reality of the business. However I am surprised that getting some talent scout to watch the trailer illustrating my concept and pass it along would be that difficult. That is depressing. I had a notion that using a trailer would be a unique way of showcasing the idea.

You also mentioned that being the creator was at the top of the food chain and how difficult this would be to achieve. But my intention is to sell the concept and walk away giving them complete control. Would this model still be considered being the “creator”?

What if I just sent my trailer to a bunch of agents in hopes that someone would represent me? Would that be the best route in your opinion? I really believe this idea would be successful quickly becoming a hit, but obviously someone must see my concept first for that to happen.

Thanks again for your comprehensive reply, it is much appreciated.
 
If your scheme truly offered a decent shot, half of us here would all ready be rolling in dough.

That said, and as Rik suggested, get your pitch down to elevator length and keep pitching it to anyone remotely connected with the movie business. I'd also come up with a plan B.

Good luck.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
Thank you kindly for the detailed response. I somewhat assumed this might be the reality of the business. However I am surprised that getting some talent scout to watch the trailer illustrating my concept and pass it along would be that difficult. That is depressing. I had a notion that using a trailer would be a unique way of showcasing the idea.
There really aren't any talent scouts ready and willing to watch
trailers of new concepts. Just not the way the business works.
And a trailer for a project - for a novel or a script or a series or
a movie or a reality show - is not unique anymore.

But my intention is to sell the concept and walk away giving them complete control. Would this model still be considered being the “creator”?
Unfortunately, that, again, just isn't the way the industry works;
an unknown selling a concept. I will not say you cannot be the
first - maybe you can, so it might be worth giving it a try. Since
you believe you have an excellent and unique reality show concept
you should do everything you can to get it seen. Where you live
will be a challenge, your goal adds to the challenge, your lack of
experience and connections adds even yet more challenges. But
if you're up to the challenges then you know know one possible
path to take. Another is sending your trailer to a bunch or agents.
 
The entertainment industry is all about being networked, and networked very widely. You will have to get through myriad layers of intermediaries before you can get to anyone that truly matters.

Your idea can be positively brilliant, but unless you can pitch it to someone with the power to connect you to someone who can green light it your chances are very slim indeed.

Maybe you need to think big in a small way. There are hundreds of cable channels out there, some just getting started and struggling; those would be your best option.

Once you get there it's all about presentation, you have to sell yourself as well as your idea. As was mentioned, you'll need to hone your pitch down to 60 to 90 seconds; pare it down to the essentials - no one has time to waste!
 
Thanks for all the infomative replies! I am very grateful for your input.

I guess it is probably best that I go back to writting novels instead of movie scripts and television. At least there are some outlets for self publishing using ebooks on Amazon. And realistically, I am probably not cut out for breaking through this highly stratified industry anyway. Thanks again!
 
Nick,

You've certainly asked a loaded question, but I'll answer it this way. First and foremost, in terms of your pitching, one of the biggest mistakes that I see people making is that they are so anxious to try to get things out there into the system or out into the industry folks, that they forget that they may or may not have even spent the right time refining their craft in pitching ( actually knowing how to properly lay out pitch so that you have the chance of gaining real interest). Obviously, the challenge of having the right contacts and relationships is part of the process. But before you're actually showing your material to those people, even if you get that opportunity, you really first have to make sure that you've refined your craft. I'm curious to know, how proficient are you at your pitch? Have you really taken the time to practice it? Do you know how to represent your project in its best possible way before you even incorporate visuals, like your trailer? I'm curious to know how that is, and certainly we can continue the exchange based on your information.

All the best and best of luck,

Sean
 
Nick,

You've certainly asked a loaded question, but I'll answer it this way. First and foremost, in terms of your pitching, one of the biggest mistakes that I see people making is that they are so anxious to try to get things out there into the system or out into the industry folks, that they forget that they may or may not have even spent the right time refining their craft in pitching ( actually knowing how to properly lay out pitch so that you have the chance of gaining real interest). Obviously, the challenge of having the right contacts and relationships is part of the process. But before you're actually showing your material to those people, even if you get that opportunity, you really first have to make sure that you've refined your craft. I'm curious to know, how proficient are you at your pitch? Have you really taken the time to practice it? Do you know how to represent your project in its best possible way before you even incorporate visuals, like your trailer? I'm curious to know how that is, and certainly we can continue the exchange based on your information.

All the best and best of luck,

Sean

Sean,
Honestly I have not practiced my pitch except to some friends and family. My original plan was to let the trailer do the talking. Then if the producers liked the concept I would provide more detail using a power point presentation. But after realizing that nobody would even care to view it I am rethinking if I should even finish it. It just kinda sucks because I truly believe the show would be a huge success. I sure know I would watch it if someone else created it. :)
 
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Sean,
Honestly I have not practiced my pitch except to some friends and family. My original plan was to let the trailer do the talking. Then if the producers liked the concept I would provide more detail using a power point presentation. But after realizing that nobody would even care to view it I am rethinking if I should even finish it. It just kinda sucks because I truly believe the show would be a huge success. I sure know I would watch it if someone else created it. :)

Nick,

This is case and point why I provided the note I did on this subject.

Think of it this way, if you had only one chance to meet and "impress" someone very important who could really advance your cause, do you want them to see you at your best or while you're just learning?

The very first step in all of this is to make sure that you are truly great at pitching your work verbally and in terms of story dynamics and then, you can worry about the visuals and relationships.

Naturally if you have networking opportunities, you can use them; but your primary focus should be on making sure you can nail that pitch anytime, in any situation.

All the best,

Sean
 
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