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Old May 15th, 2003, 02:53 PM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Murrieta, CA
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What and when is the best way to sell a series to a cable channel?

I've got a project which lends itself perfectly to a cable tv series. Who should I contact at the station? When do I contact them? Should I have more than a script and concept art? Anyone ever dome this before? What's the best way to package and present? What about stealing? The script get registered in the LOC, but what if they decide to develop their own off of my concept? Any and all advise welcome....
Mark Argerake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 15th, 2003, 03:30 PM   #2
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Location: San Mateo, CA
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The answers to all your questions would fill several books. In fact, most of them are sitting on my shelf behind me. I suggest you go down to the bookstore and invest in some as well. Research, and the ability to do it on your own, will be necessary for success.

But a few short answers to some of your questions.

Theft - yes it happens. Register your copyright, and live with it. You CANNOT register an idea, only the expression of it.

If you want to sell an entire series, You will need a couple of spec scripts, a story bible for the remaining scripts in the first series, and a "showrunner"... someone with experience producing shows behind you.

If you want to get noticed, the story has got to be GREAT. Good enough for everyone else to screw with it, and it still gets made.

You need to have credibility to get heard... it's a bit of a "Catch-22" but that's the way the game works. Get an agent, win a BIG contest, attach a star or director, sleep with somebody (only half joking)... you get the idea. Find contacts, make the them, NUTURE them by NOT bugging them. DO FAVORS if you want favors...

Really, the best advice I can give you is to go buy some books on Television Production, and read them front to back.

Good Luck.

Richard Alvarez

(Yeah, I've optioned two scripts, won some awards, had an agent in LA, produced some shorts, worked in TV, Theatre and Film, and I'm married to an IP attorney... so you can take my advice or throw it out the window... no harm done.)
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 15th, 2003, 03:44 PM   #3
Regular Crew
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Carrollton, Texas
Posts: 141
Some advice from the pros

No, not me. The link below is from Wordplay, Ted Elliott's and Terry Rossio's website. (Great site. They wrote Aladdin, Shrek, and the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean, among others.)


From the posts I've read over the years on that website, stealing somebody's script is not worth the trouble and rarely happens. It's a lot easier and cheaper to just buy it from the person who wrote it.

At that site, you could do a search on series and probably find numerous posts that would advise against trying to sell a series idea. It's a topic that's come up there before.
Philip Boyer
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Old May 15th, 2003, 07:07 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles (recently from San Francisco)
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If you're really concerned about theft, have the station sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. A typical NDA acknowledges that you're going to share proprietary and/or confidential information, i.e. your ideas, which cannot be used by the entity to which you're disclosing without license or other permission from you. I'm sure you can find a sample NDA on-line somewhere.

Also, if you're in California, the state is relatively unique in that it has fairly well-developed idea-disclosure liability law, and will find an implied-in-fact contract to compensate the discloser of an idea if the idea was disclosed under circumstances that suggest an expectation of compensation if the idea is used, i.e. a pitch meeting.
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