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Old July 7th, 2011, 08:47 AM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nashville TN
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Getting funding for travel show?

I wanted to pose a question. I have some friends who are a rock band. They spent the winter in the Virgin Islands, playing and checking out the local attractions (restaurants and so on). Part of the idea was to film everything, and create a travel type show, kind of an up and coming rock band, travels the islands, checks out restaurants, resorts, hotels, and so on. They were going to edit together 13 thirty min episodes. I was going to do the editing for them. Problem is, they really had no clue what they were doing, and the footage is mediocre at best. They weren't prepared for an undertaking that this was. They had a loose contract, with a network (R&R channel, something I've never seen or heard of). Any ways,I don't think the footage supports 13 compelling episodes.

What I was thinking, there is enough footage (out of 2 1/2 months of filming) to put together a single compelling piolet episode. I was hoping maybe we could take that to some network (discovery, travel, or whomever) and maybe sell them on the idea, and get funding, to hire a real production company, and budget to do this up right.

I was wondering what your thoughts might be. Is this something that is done? My idea is the same as theirs, up and coming rock band, travels to exotic places, reviews the area, culture, night life, etc. Does interviews, site sees, and each episode ends with them doing a local performance. Kind of a real world, meets travel log show. Instead of 13 episodes of a single location (in their original idea, was only the varius islands of the Virgin Islands) it would be a single episode on a location. I hoped to get a budget for 13 episodes (or more, whatever a season would be), go to a different location each episode, spend 3 or 4 days there (whatever would be standard for such a thing, and then move on to the next place.

If getting funding for something like this is possible, would I want to take the footage I have, and edit into a 60 min piolet (with intentions this won't be for air, but for only gaining funding) or should I stick with the original 30 min format (22 min of actual episode)?

Any one ever do anything like this before (get funding for a show)?

Any advice? Am I waisting my time?

Thank you fr any guidance,
Jeff Troiano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 7th, 2011, 10:40 AM   #2
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Re: Getting funding for travel show?

This is a big topic Jeff, but I would start with making a 2-5 min pilot to put on the shows website. If you do not have a website make one after you register the show's domain name.

You need to think about what channels might be interested in the show's content and how THEY can make money from your show. There are two ways to get a show on the air - The network entity buys the rights and produces the show. Or, your produce the show, find your own funding & sponsors and buy the airtime from the network after they decide to accept the show.

Travel oriented shows have a lot of sponsorship opportunities if you are a mover and a shaker. There is a sea of channels to fill up and it really has gone to a "pay to play" type situation sort of like the L.A. glam rock live club scene in the 80's. You can make it and shop it but you need to do research on how much airtime costs on your target channel.

A friend is trying to get an outdoors show on the air from a pilot we shot last summer. It is tough as you have to turn into a marketing salesman instead of a video person.

Search, ask and research as there are always those that want to take advantage. Good luck.
Tim Polster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 7th, 2011, 01:53 PM   #3
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Location: Woodinville, WA USA
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Re: Getting funding for travel show?

Jeff, I think we pretty much covered this ground a few months ago when we predicted this is exactly what would happen and urged you to run away as fast as possible. Nonetheless, if this still sounds like fun to you, here is a thread which links to others that cover this topic pretty thoroughly: pitching a reality series to a network.

Bottom line is that established major cable networks like Discovery and Travel never even look at submissions from outsiders, only from established production companies they are already in business with. Their websites usually make this clear. There may be the occasional exception, though.

You could certainly pay a local cable channel to put this on the air but that's different from getting picked up by a network where they pay you.

To your actual question, a five minute presentation is probably a better use of your time than a full 22 minute episode, although trying to make 22 good minutes out of the material you have will definitely reveal whether there is any "there" there.
"It can only be attributable to human error... This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error."
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Old July 7th, 2011, 07:30 PM   #4
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Re: Getting funding for travel show?

Adam, you are absolutely correct, you and other did advise against getting involved. I will tell you, I ran for the hills, with the exception of some minimal advising. Fast forward 5 months, and I have viewed the footage they filmed. I have absolutely no obligation to them at all. I told them I didn't believe there was enough compelling footage to warrant a 13 episode show. That was 2 months ago.

I'm looking for a change in what I'm doing, and I started brainstorming on their original idea. I thought, just maybe in that mess of footage, there might be enough compelling there, to create sone sort of piolet, that could be used as a sales tool, to get funding to take the idea and do it the professional way.

I don't know enough about television to know if this is a doable idea? That's why I was posing the question here. Not because they've asked me too. I've got 2 hard drives full of 2 1/2 months of footage, and thought maybe I could put it together and market it to someone? I don't know if that's a network, or a company, or a sponsor. I don't know if this is how it's done. But I thought instead of just a pitch, why not a pitch with an actually episode (all be it, not done as I would have done it, and filmed it) but maybe it could sell the idea enough to get a 3rd party interested.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 08:47 PM   #5
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Re: Getting funding for travel show?

Hey Jeff - my advice is simple, you state yourself the problem:

"I don't know enough about television to know if this is a doable idea?"

You aren't going to get the kind of advice, or experience on here to find that out. The fact that no one who knows anything about television has been involved in the project at any point pretty much guarantees that this isn't a possibility.

The reason is this - anyone who looks at the footage and knows about television will start asking the basic questions, quickly figure out this is a sow's ear that will take a hell of a lot of work to turn into a silk purse, and also realize there is no money in it UNLESS it happens to somehow become excellent.

Productions just don't happen that way.

I've seen two guys start a show from scratch and eventually sell it to Discovery, so I do know what I am talking about here. Think four plus years work and hundreds of thousands of dollars expenditure minimum not including their own time to deliver a 13 part show. One of these guys was a camera man with a huge amount of experience who shot everything himself, the other had previously run an ad agency, so they both knew media intimately and the footage looked amazing.

That's what it's going to take to get from where you are now to a sold show - at least four years. Is it something you want to spend the better half of a decade doing, and do you think you can find the necessary funds to create the deliverables while learning everything you need to do?

Now, if you make a web series, something cheap, and put it online, and it generates some interest, then that's a different story. But if you want something to be developed to the point that you can sell it internationally to the big networks, and you've not done exactly that before, I can guarantee unless you are a savant entrepreneur it's going to consume your life. And even then, the chances of success from where you are now to where you want to be are slim to none without some major professional assistance.
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