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Taking Care of Business
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Old February 28th, 2010, 02:04 PM   #31
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This thread is quite old but worth resurrecting:

I'm not allowed to discuss details - of any kind - but I can tell you that the amount of money any of the "big" cable networks will pay for your show idea and to make you the EP is paltry if not downright insulting.

In short, if you bring a valid show idea to any network they will (as discussed in this thread) literally ask you to sign away your rights to the show and pay you what amounts to a "finders fee" for allowing them to take your idea on-air.

If you want to use a network deal to hopefully use as a stepping stone to something else or, make it part of your resume of work I suppose that would be fine, but if you're hoping that getting a "deal" would mean big-bucks or making an entire career out of a new show, forget about it. You're just another pawn to the network and paid accordingly.

If I do take my show concept to the next level it will *never* involve or touch a cable network, not unless they pony-up serious royalties. (yeah, right)
Robert Lane
Producer/Creator - Bike Pilots TV
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Old February 28th, 2010, 04:23 PM   #32
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I've pitched directly to several majors - Discovery, TLC, The History Channel, A&E, SyFy - the key was getting a producer on board. Someone who had a track record of producing shows. We went in, did the song and dance, showed the sizzle reel - had some interesting discussions - and got the 'no thanks'. Sometimes right there, sometimes after they thought about it for a while.

Never signed anything that said "We might already have this." Although at one network - they said "We actually took a look at an IDENTICAL concept last month - and passed on it because of XYZ." "Well, mine is DIFFERENT BECAUSE it's ABC" I replied - and they listened and conceded that it WAS a 'bit different' - but they didn't feel the concept was right for them.

I'm still shopping it, and still believe in the concept. But it's just one of several I'm working on.
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Old February 28th, 2010, 07:11 PM   #33
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Just out curiosity...

What is the deal with trying to sell a indie film or documentary, does a "finished" product increase the chances of a sale?

Does a show like PBS's "Independent Lens" pay filmmakers or do they "do you a favor" by agreeing to airing it?
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Old March 1st, 2010, 10:46 AM   #34
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I personally know of three different situations regarding PBS 'distribution'. For my own part, my documentary "American Jouster" was picked up by the local PBS affiliates and aired on their series "VIDEO - I" - I got a small payment, which was nice. (KQED and KTEH here in the San Francisco/San Jose bay area)

I worked on a doc (B-roll, some interviews) that has won some big festivals - and was picked up by PBS - and they paid a nice distribution fee to the producers.

I know of a THIRD doc - that PAID a local PBS affiliate a hefty fee - to 'represent' and place their doc, airing it across the US.

I would say that having some heat behind your doc - awards, accolades etc. - makes it more likely that you will be paid for distribution or the rights.
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