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Old December 14th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #1
Skyonic New York
 
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anyone producing a tv show

i was wondering if anyone here has undertaken the production of a tv show from start to finish...writing, shooting, getting talent and finding sponsors...

i'm looking at airing it on pbs and got the idea from this article i read a while back "Navigating PBS And Tuscany "
http://www.dv.com/print_me.jhtml?Loo.../2005/abbe0507

much like the shows you see on hgtv there is just so much work that needs to be done...and the catch 22 effect is huge, i need to self fund the shooting one episode then try and get pbs to air it but only if i have sponsors, but sponsors won't commit if i don't have an air date with viewer numbers

thats seems to be my biggest hurdle, i'm also doing this on the side of running my own company...

so if anyone has done this i can use all the advice i can get..

fyi* for whatever reason the search button doesn't work on my computer i hope this gets fixed...
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Old December 15th, 2005, 12:34 AM   #2
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I am working on several TV shows, one from start to finish. In my case I was able to do an EPK for the show and raise money for the pilot that way... network saw the pilot and bought a season of the show...



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Old December 15th, 2005, 12:38 AM   #3
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Robert
Yes, I've attempted it with a producer who did most of the work, but ultimately we couldn't get past the Catch 22 without dumping our own money into it.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 11:17 AM   #4
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Hard to do it without some self-financing. The article in DV on "The Hills of Tuscany" project mentions that they basically lived on credit cards and the generosity of friends in Italy who volunteered them spare rooms and villas to cover production costs and living costs for the 6 months it took to shoot and then the additional months back in the States to cut together the pilot. It was only then that they could get the underwriting to finance the rest of the series.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 10:43 PM   #5
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I think this forum needs a "networking" topic

I see this forum has a "Jobs" forum... a "business" forum and all the GREAT technical and learning forums... but, no Networking Forum... as in where people who are producing stuff need other people to get projects done (and not specifically money! Just advice, help, and maybe even a helping hand if they believe in the project).

I myself have 2 episodes of a comedy sitcomish show (on DVD and packaged) about a guy who lives in Japan. I shot both one year apart and financed both projects myself. However... After at least 100 mailings... (and most coming back in original packaging to the effect... "we cannot view it to protect ourselves" thing) I cant even get a toe in the door. I also have a third script (and ability) ready to be shot (was going to shoot it last summer but got caught up in a larger job) and am thinking of shooting it this coming summer. But... It seems as if I am "on my own..." I currently live in Las Vegas... and desparately need some networking. Anyways... just my thoughts and wishes on the subject.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 11:06 PM   #6
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Carl i feel for you, i have been doing working in the video field for 15 years and in all that time i have finally come across a project i'm willing to put my bank account on, and but it ain't much...

i'm at a cross roads here, i have the money to shoot a great great pilot, or i have enough money to get buy with a 12 show season, i have no comitments from anyone...but i feel so good about this even though it has come at the worst time for me as i have a kid on the way...

i really don't know what to do...do i go balls out and create something the networks would be proud of or do i shoot a 'for lack of a better term' wyanes world budget series...

with a series i can sell it and be done with it, but who would buy it if its not presentable...with a slick pilot even if pbs goes for it i still have to look for sponsorships...

i contacted most of cable networks i thought my show would be good for, it turns out its not the case, networks like fine living aren't even taking ideas, and list goes on, and on...

at this point i even thought about the web, but i'm not sure if that makes sense...

i'm lucky that i live and work in nyc and talent is good and affordable...


stuff i don't have to pay for mostly me
my time though not free i obviously can't pay myself
2nd camera guy
writer me
editor me
director me
producer me
my studio
my euipment

stuff i have to pay for
sound guy
1st camera guy
VO talent (like a narrator)
On screen talent (host)
travel expense (hotels, food, car rental airlines, ect, ect) show depending on budget will be shot all around the world (thats the balls out approach, the wyans world approach will be show will be shot in nyc and pizza will be served, my couch for naps)
permits
closed captioning
and the list goes on and on

out of everything one that list the most precious is my time, running a company in nyc is stressfull enough, doing it while having a kid and running around the world will be a test, but aint that the passion that drives us if not then whats life for
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Old December 15th, 2005, 11:10 PM   #7
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Ash do you have any special advice for making a Kit that someone would take 2 minutes out of there day to even look at...

i have seen a few but they range from movie premiere spare no expense type to college film here is a sticky on the back of a cdr that has my beeper number...
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Old December 16th, 2005, 12:31 AM   #8
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I'm part of a three-man production company that produces a weekly fishing show here in Hawaii.

It was already established but wavering on one of the local network affiliate stations prior to moving to a cable channel, and it's growing from there.

It's now a one-hour show instead of a half-hour show. And the magazine format provides at least four different topics every episode.

We have to chase down our own sponsors, in addition to handling every aspect of production and post-production, website, etc. We wouldn't be able to afford to produce this show and make a living if we weren't self-sufficient.
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Old December 16th, 2005, 12:53 AM   #9
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Dean i was finally able to do a search and your name came up...i took a look at your site and one of your clips, the cooking one...with the fish in the tater strings..yummy...

my show is magazine styled, is there any tips you can provide me with...

to save money i'm looking at getting one host to help move from segment to segment and have VO do all back story on the segments, so for a location shoot you won't need the expense of bringing camera talent, just me another shooter and an audio mister...

i can shoot the host at any time (which saves money) and at any location (which saves money), my vo guys work from there home studio and can read my drafts at there own time....

i'm looking for tips from someone like you who can tell me what pitfalls to avoid, where i may go wrong...

how did you "reel in" your sponsors? cold calling or did you know them/refferals, also how much do you ask for? or is it a case of what can you give me...

i know your show is a fishing show, but does your host always comment outside, if so did you run into any problems doing that or do you also have a studio...if you have a studio is it real or green screened (ala 60minutes)...

thanks for any knowledge you can drop on me....
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Old December 16th, 2005, 01:48 AM   #10
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Robert...

Our best sponsors are the ones we developed a relationship with for a period of time. When they realize that we're not a flash-in-the-pan, and when they understand that we're actually drawing a substantial number of viewers, then they'll use our show to help promote their businesses.

And that's the key to attracting sponsors: Letting the client know that we can help them build their business through the audience attracted to our show.

We're still learning and growing, so we don't have any magic formulas to develop sponsors. All we know right now is that timing, persistence, a good reputation, and a good amount of luck all help.

As for rates, I've seen it vary on our cable channel from $40 to $450 for a 30-second shot. It depends on the size of your audience, the demographics and time slot. Our show is seen up to 10 times a week. One of the shows is during prime time. The main show is Sunday at 5 p.m. Our rates are toward the higher end of the scale.

Our host is one of the principal partners. He also shoots a lot of the material. He reviews the tapes and comes up with segment sequences and episode outlines. He writes his own material. My other partner shoots, edits segments into compelling stories, comes up with programming strategies, assembles segments into a final show, and has a great deal of experience in the broadcast business. I also shoot and edit segments, handle the final mastering (color grading and audio EQ), as well as maintain the website.

We shoot our standups and intros outside, along the shoreline with Diamond Head in sight. Problems include aircraft taking off and landing at the airport, kids running by, passing clouds, and the occasional truck or motor scooter. For lighting those shots we use a large 4-foot reflector made of a 1/2" thick foamcore covered with aluminum foil (dull side facing out).

The results sometimes look like it was shot in front of a green screen -- the reflector is that effective at balancing the ambient sunlight. But without the reflector it would look pretty dull.

We all work out of our homes which saves us from spending money on office space. It also saves us a heck of a lot of commute time in traffic. As we live more than 20 miles from one another we use the internet to transfer short video files for review, and move voiceovers, etc. We even shuttle our 30-second promo from one place to another for final mastering.

So having all the necessary skills and talent available as in-house resources goes a long way toward wringing the most out of every dollar we raise. In terms of overhead, I just calculated my own costs and it comes to about $250 per month. Not including vehicle expenses, equipment purchases or maintenance. That's just direct costs including tapes, meals during trips and other materials used on the job.
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Old December 16th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #11
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Hello all, this is a very interesting and useful topic for people trying to get into the production world....SUch as myself.

I've had the good luck of having great friends and great contacts from the beginning. A local production company in SF helped my buddy and I tremendously, teaching us the inner workings, advice etc, all this for free! Its very rare for a big-time production company to advice/spend time teaching complete newbies without expecting somethign in return. However, we got trained fairly well because of the company, and we started our own undertaking. THe result? A pilot that we are producing, a travel show meets food show deal. THe focus is not on mainstream places, but off the beaten path places. check out http://craterlionproductions.com for more details. Its been a tremendous experience working with my good friends and contacts, we are about 80percent done with the editing aspect, and all the media package/marketing nonsense. Ill be glad to share any info if anyone has any questions. BTW, more indepth trailers are coming soon.

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Old December 17th, 2005, 02:28 PM   #12
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I just pruduced a slick opening, and some sample segments of the show. All with FULL production values (as best I could some of it was already shot) and a host explaining the show, etc. In my case this is a hosted show where the host sets up interviews that are shot in the field.

The EPK I made was about 5 minutes and I sent out 50 copies. Got an overwhelming response. You can check out the show opening here:

http://nts001.interplug.com/profiles.mov



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Old December 18th, 2005, 11:17 PM   #13
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Obviously a topic in need of being forumized

by the amount of posts my initial post sparked... it seems (im sure) most of us have the same feelings. As for my own opinion... "its not what ya got, its who ya know" is what this world is made up of. Ive seen plenty of quality stuff (whether it be TV productions, live shows, bands, or any artist) never get anywhere because they never met the right people... and on the other hand... mediocre stuff getting "stardom" because they know the man. It happens in every business... Thats why... networking / partying is the key! and of course... have good material never hurts either.

Well have to say Im jealous of Spike Spiegel... you were lucky to be at the right place at the right time. And I am not shamless to say... I am in need of em! ha ha... Hard work also does pay off (Dean Sensui and Ash Greyson).

I took a look at your site Ash... the topic of your flick is "relative" to... an independent producer also! I know guys who have been struggling a lot longer than three years trying to get there stuff shown... as im sure your aware... but as for a movie subject... nobody cares about the people behind the scenes. And, very nice trailer!
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Old December 18th, 2005, 11:35 PM   #14
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Thanks Carl... I do agree with the "who ya know" thing but good product can force its way thru, just be persistent.



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Old December 19th, 2005, 01:34 AM   #15
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I'd have to admit that a number of things have to converge in order to score a "hit" in the entertainment business.

Having a good host can draw or repel an audience. Having a competent field crew can mean the difference between lots of compelling story material or video that's painful to watch. A good editing team can squeeze out an entertaining segment or turn hours of material into a disorganized mess.

Finding good talent (in production as well as post-production), and having the resources to keep them as part of the team, can be a serious problem. The whole project is only as good as the weakest portion of the process.

And it does require a lot of hard work: constantly striving to learn as much as possible; paying lots of attention to details; trying to get the best production values as possible; and re-evaluating the product to keep it fresh -- or at least to keep it from getting stale.

And, as Ash pointed, out, persistence helps. Those who give up after five miles never get to the finish line at the 26th mile (for cyclists who have done the Seattle-Portland ride, that proverb should be re-written with the finish line at the 200th mile :-) ).
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