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Andrei Petrik June 10th, 2005 08:16 PM

TV Show Idea? Where do I start?
I have a great idea for a TV show that is very informative, educaitonal and entertaining. Where do i start?
Does anyone have an ebook, websites or knows of other materials that would help me make my concept a reality?

K. Forman June 10th, 2005 08:24 PM

Try shooting a pilot, and then you could show it around to places like PBS and Nick.

Andrei Petrik June 10th, 2005 09:18 PM


Originally Posted by Keith Forman
Try shooting a pilot, and then you could show it around to places like PBS and Nick.

Ya, I thought of that route before as well.
I thought maybe there was a way to appoach a network or local channel and pitch them the idea and they would finance it or whatever?

K. Forman June 10th, 2005 09:28 PM

Somehow I doubt many stations would finance a show without a pilot. There was a really good article in this months DV magazine, about a couple who shot a doc and got it picked up by PBS. They said basicly that PBS was only interested in shows that were already financed, either by sponsors- or in his case, credit cards.

I may be off base here, but I'm sure most broadcasters want to see what you have before investing in it.

Bill Pryor June 11th, 2005 04:26 PM

You won't get to first base with PBS unless you bring them corporate sponsors. Try to get yourself some sponsors to help you produce the pilot, then make a contact at Showtime or HBO, or one of the other cable channels and see if you can do something. You'll have much better luck than with PBS. And if you get a pilot done and find some interest, don't sign anything without going to an entertainment lawyer first.

Andrei Petrik June 11th, 2005 07:04 PM

Ya, i guess I am gonna have to go that route.

I have all the gear to actual film and produce the show. From a technical standpoint I am set, just may need a couple of lav mics and lights.
My biggest expense would probably be my time and getting a temporary studio setup.
The good thing is that i am located in Toronto Canada, with many resources available. Plus, Canadian Stations are always looking for Canadian content. We got some regulations where a certain % of TV content has to be Canadian.

Dan Mumford June 12th, 2005 01:23 AM

If you have an idea for a program, write a treatment. Add to that a good storyboard. Then, if you really want it to sell, add known talent.

A treatment is an overview of the program, sort of an outline. You may want to include a script or a portion of a script. Draw up a storyboard, or shoot a small segment of the program so they (the powers that be) can see your vision. You don't need to waste time shooting a whole program. If they like your idea, they'll spring for the pilot and take care of sponsoring it. The hard part is that you are an unknown. (I'm assuming this beacuse you're asking how to begin.) If you can find someone with knowledge of your subject who has had some face time on television, or is well known by the public, to host your show, this will be a great advantage.

Or . . . You could come in from the back door. Take the same information above to possible sponsors and keep selling the idea untill you get a couple to sponsor your program. Shoot an episode or two and buy time on a local station or network (not sure how your system works up there) like an infomercial. You pay for the time, you sell the advertising, you have your program. If it is any good, it may be picked up by a network.

Pick your time wisely! Airtime is expensive and the price varies by the time of day. Call the stations and find out their prices for a half hour's time. Late night - early morning, is the cheapest but you will have a lot fewer viewers. Morning - afternoon is next with primetime probably out of the question. Maybe try for mid morning on Saturday or Sunday.

I did this a couple of years ago. I had an idea for a program, found a couple of sponsors and bought airtime on our local UPN station. I did a weekly show and did everything myself. I shot, edited, and took the tape to the station. I would still be doing this but I made a couple of BIG mistakes. First mistake was getting the 7am time slot on Saturday morning. The show was being watched, and got a good response. (It involved the viewers calling me for information, so I know it was working) However, it was hard to convince any new sponsors to advertise because of the time slot. "Everyone is still asleep at that time of the morning." they said. It was true that a lot of people are asleep at that time, but it was really cheap and the best I could afford at the time. My second mistake was not charging enough for advertising from my first sponsors. Price yourself carefully! Ask too much, and no one will pay, ask too little, and you will pay. You can always come down on your price, but it is very hard to ask for more. I believe if I had taken a 9am slot and more realisically priced my ad prices, I'd still be doing the program.

I hope this rather long response helps in giving you some ideas. One of the hardest things in the world is to sell a program idea. They probably get hundreds a month. Most will ask you to sign a waiver that if you present an idea, they reject it, but you see the same program in the future, you will not sue. They will say they were working on that idea before talking to you. And it very well may be true. It's according on how original your idea is and how close to your idea they come.

I hope you have great success with your program. Don't get discouraged by a few rejections. If you know it's good, if your friends say it's a good idea, you will eventually convince someone with the cash it's a good idea.


James Emory June 12th, 2005 11:23 AM

Project Submissions
These threads may help you:



Andrei Petrik June 12th, 2005 03:41 PM

Thanks for your input everyone.
Its time to get busy.

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