HAVE AN IDEA FOR A TV SHOW?

Have an idea for a socially standing, Australian Television Show! Have you ever wanted your idea on television? If you’re an avid viewer of television, chances are you’ve found yourself with an idea for a TV show. But what do you do with it? Who do you sell it to? There’s a pretty defined process for how a TV show makes it on to our screens.

At Rough Diamond Media we get unsolicited ideas daily from people who want to get their shows on Australian television. So we have compiled this information to help you with getting your idea in the lounge rooms of Australia.

STEP ONE: Come up with an idea!

And by come up with an idea we mean come up with an original idea. Regularly we get emails from people who believe they have come up with the next best thing, only for us to discover it is an already established format that is being aired internationally.

The idea has to start from you.

Think about its format – It could be a reality show, a game show, a sit-com, a talk show, an observational documentary, whatever it is it has to be your idea and your idea only.

STEP TWO: Put it on paper

Once you have the idea, you need to “flesh it out.” This means you have to think the entire idea through from start to finish. How does the show work? Does it have a cast? Is it a competition? Who are the characters? What is the story? How will the series end? The entire program depends on the genre and type of the show. Type of shows include: Reality, drama, documentary, observational-documentary, game show, magazine show, talk show etc.

Write out a brief synopsis of the program. Create a show format and at least a breakdown of the potential pilot episode.

While it is not an absolute necessity it is a big recommendation that you film and produce a teaser of the program. It does not need to be its complete length and of a high budget, it should just be enough for your potential audience to view so that you can stem the idea into their minds.

STEP THREE: Create your pitch

Before you even think about making a phone call or sending an email you need to work out how you are going to get a production companies attention. Furthermore how are you going to get a programmers attention?

Programmers are quite possibly the most important person in television. Programmers are the ones who decided what does and does not go on the screen. A network programmer has years of experience in knowing what audiences do and do not want to see. If a programmer does not like your program then chances are neither will Australian audiences.

Why, out the hundreds of ideas that come through, is yours going to be any different? This is why you need to think of a creative way to inform your potential production company or programmer why your project is good enough to make them interested enough to buy it.

Your pitch should be tight (10-15 minutes) and have enough information included so that you can clearly explain your idea while simultaneously getting your listener excited about the concept. You might also want to consider coming up with a shorter 2 minute “elevator pitch” version (which refers to the amount of time it might take you to pitch your idea if you found yourself in an elevator with the right person), just so you have it in case you need it.

STEP FOUR: Find your contacts

Network, network, network! That’s right you need to start meeting people. Call up production companies – just like Rough Diamond Media – and give them that pitch you have been practising (See above).

You need to narrow down the list of potential outlets and find a company that specialises in producing the type of idea you have generated. This means if your idea is for a reality show, do not go to a company that produces TVC’s and corporate videos. Find a company that has previously produced a product of your genre.

Remember also that most companies don’t accept “unsolicited submissions.” Meaning, if they didn’t ask you for it, they don’t want it. So, if you just decided to type out your idea and send it off to a network or studio chances are it will either come back to you unopened, or with an “unsolicited submissions” form letter. Do not be disheartened, many companies – including Rough Diamond Media – may only produce a limited amount of unsolicited programs a year, but they do produce them.

Start making friends, who have friends, who know friends of friends, who work for friends of friends, which have a connection to a program director that can potentially take the time to view your idea.

Now What?

If you have the product, finalised all the information, practised your pitch and now have a contact the next step is to listen.

Yes, listen!

Because if your idea is not selected it is because it is not commercially viable or does not fit into scheduling at that present time. Adapt and change your idea, listen to your contacts suggestions and grow from it. Selling your ideas for television shows is not an easy task. But it can be done if you’re persistent enough, patient enough and most definitely, passionate enough to keep trudging ahead.

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Rough Diamond Media have a policy to always respond to unsolicited ideas. Please view our Concept Development page to see the requirements of how to submit your idea. We look forward to see what you have come up with.