How To Successfully Pitch A TV Show


You’ve spent the last 10 years locked in your attic, perfecting the best comedy sitcom idea since “Seinfeld” and now you’re ready to pitch your television show. Before you take a meeting, it helps to understand what you will need to sell it. One of the best ways to break into industry is with a strong spec pilot script. A great idea for an original television series and a strong spec pilot script can open doors. Even if nobody ends up buying your pilot idea or script, you could find work as a scriptwriter for someone else’s television series.

In the U.S., you will need to hook up with a good agent to help you get your foot in the door. These folks are connected … and lets face it, their network is most likely better than your network. They might even be owed favours and favours come in handy when armed with a great script from an unknown writer.

Many TV shows in Canada are produced by independent production companies, usually in cooperation with a network. If you’re new to the business, it might be worth your while to hook up with an independent to sell your idea. Once you’ve been around for a while, you’ll discover that many TV execs prefer to suggest/guide/decide which production company best suits your project.

TV Pre-Production Process

Pre-Development – The project becomes a fleshed out pitch and, where required, includes the following elements:

Logline
Outline
Research
Mini-bible development
Show run down

Development Phase A – Project enters formal development: scripts, bible, additional research, and detailed outlines.
Development Phase B – Project continues development and has further drafts of scripts, casting conversations and preliminary financial model and budgets discussed.

Pilot Production – Project moves into production of the pilot or one-off.
Evaluation – Creative evaluation process takes place at this stage. Testing, schedule placement, promotion potential, digital platforms, talent packaging, further creative development if needed.
Green-light for Production – Decision to proceed with production of the series, based on the final analysis of the project’s budget, financing, digital rights, casting, distribution etc.

Now let’s break down some of the process pieces. After all, you’ve got a such a great idea the thing practically writes itself!

What’s a Logline?
This is the one sentence that sells your show, it goes on the top of the outline or treatment, which is the 2-3 pages of pitching material you leave to prospective people. It could be something like, “It’s a show that’s about three muslim families putting down new roots in a small rural town in the prairies, and the hilarity that ensues when two cultures collide.” Yes, we often see them written as a run-on sentence, but feel free to break it into two or three chunks if run on sentences offend you.

What’s an Outline?
Before you begin your pilot script outline, you must have a strong idea of what happens in your pilot script and how many characters will be in it. Decide how many acts will be in your script and whether it will be an hour long or half hour show. Get copies of television scripts that are already on the air so you can compare your structure to theirs.

Step 2
Outlines for hour-long drama scripts can be anywhere from 7 – 10 pages long. Structure the outline into the appropriate number of acts and make sure you’re pacing your main plot story and subplots evenly throughout each act. Be sure to include cliffhanger endings at the end of every act and something compelling at the beginning of every act. The stories shouldn’t get resolved until the very end of your outline.

Step 3
To begin your spec script outline, start with a cold open (also called teaser), which comes at the very beginning of your pilot script – and before the opening credits. This is a great place to introduce your main character(s) and set the tone for the entire series.

Step 4
Every scene in your pilot script outline should have its own paragraph. Start the paragraph with a word or two about where the scene takes place. Then describe who’s in the scene and what happens. Include snippets of dialogue if it helps the reader imagine the scene better.
Here’s an example:

The Bridle Path, suburban Toronto.

Missy recklessly pulls her Mercedes through the iron gates, into the driveway of her imposing mansion with Baron in the front seat next to her. Baron is dumbstruck at the sight of the huge house and manicured boxwoods that define the gardens. Missy tries to reassure him;

“Look – I know all this can be intimidating but this is me – it’s who I am – okay?”

She looks at him a little more kindly – the reality that this good-looking man could really be her long lost brother dawns on her:

“I thought we lost you.”

She lunges to hug Baron but he shoves her away.

Step 5
Once you really love your TV script outline, show it to other writers and get their feedback. Ask whether the plot lines were clear, whether the characters were interesting, and whether the story kept their attention. Keep rewriting your television script outline until the answers to all these questions is ‘yes.’

If you’re worried about someone stealing your idea, know that networks are in the business of protecting themselves, as well as your intellectual property. You should be asked (and if not, insist) to sign a release form or NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) that acknowledges your ownership of the idea that you’re pitching.

What’s a Mini-bible, Bible or Writer’s Guide?

Every TV series has one. But even if your own concept is still to be sold, the process of building a series bible for another series can be a giant step toward your goal of selling your own show.

Here’s how to do it:

Write out the concept aka logline of your series in not more than 1-2-3 short paragraphs.
Write about where your concept takes place aka Location.
Write a short bio of your continuing characters. Who they are and what they want. Define their relationships with the other characters.
Write the challenges that will be faced by your characters each week.
Write some sample stories that will be told in your concept. Do this in only a few sentences and a single paragraph.

Come up with a creative, inventive way to package your bible. A collated binder with colour copies inside is fine, but the more creative you are with your materials, the bigger the impression you’ll make. You can spend a couple of hundred dollars on a DIY Bible or you can spend a couple of thousand dollars having it professionally written and art directed. How long is your ball of string?

The Wind-Up And The Pitch: Independent producer or TV network

Keep it simple
Your initial pitch should be simple and focused: just a presentation of your idea or concept and any additional supporting material that you think is needed – but – don’t just pitch an idea, pitch physical material. If you can’t shoot a pilot, shoot a short teaser to help people see your vision, make posters for the show, or some sort of gimmick. Producers and Execs are way more willing to invest in something tangible than an idea on a ragged piece of paper. Slick professional materials are the goal.

While I am often contracted to write professional pitch bibles, you don’t need to develop a complete series “bible” to submit a program proposal. Whatever best illustrates your idea could be your the golden ticket.

Sell it! Tell the producers/Execs why is this show perfect fit for their production company/network. (This is where your research comes in)

For network pitches:
Your proposal should briefly address the question of the business case. Why should your program be aired on their network? At CBC for example, this means that you should know what we’re looking for based on our corporate strategy (i.e. audience potential, supporting successes, distinctiveness, multi-platform potential, regionality, diversity, etc.). CBC’s business is “engaging, informing and entertaining as many Canadians as we can.” and therefore you should keep selling back to that.

Final Advice
Be on time, be brief, be open to change or suggestion, and give the independent producers or TV network reasons why they should buy your show idea. At the very least, you’ve created a new contact to bring projects to directly. At the very best, your project just might make it into production. And next year, when your name is called at the Emmys, don’t forget to thank me.

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About Jill Atkinson

From concepts and smart headlines to original content and transmedia storytelling, to television pitch materials, directors treatments, long format writing, blogs and web copy with SEO, I write it all. I'm a writer, copywriter, and a content writer. My job is to help you say it better with ideas and language that get noticed. With copy and content that engages customers and audiences and ideas that make a connection with them. Ideas that generate a response. Materials that can sell a pitch. When you work with me you're working with the big boys: Maclaren, BBDO, Taxi, Sharpe Blackmore and also a great bunch of mid-sized agencies, b2b shops, a national television network (CBC), 15 specialty channels (History Channel, National Geographic, Showcase, Action, IFC, BBC Canada, + many more) and start ups who have taught me everything I know about how to get you noticed, remembered and sold. Or clicked. Or talked about. There are lots of ways to try to sell your products or to sell people on your offer or to engage them in your content and your show. But there is only one way to get it done right and on strategy. My experience is a foot in the door for your brand or your television idea . And no matter the size of your project, my commitment and attention to detail remain the same, big or small and always on deadline. Great conversations have to start somewhere. Give me a call or shoot me an email zookeepersboot@sympatico.ca Check out my work at http://jillatkinson.com
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70 Responses to How To Successfully Pitch A TV Show

  1. Ian David says:

    Great insight. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ellen says:

    Copyright registrations become public record in the Library of Congress, i.e. searchable and more easy to steal.
    Also, copyright doesn’t protect ideas, so if someone likes your script or outline, they could take the general concepts, rework them, and that might be stealing, but it’s not copyright infringement.
    I tell my clients to register their story concepts/script outlines with the Writer’s Guild because those filings remain confidential.
    I also recommend that they intentionally put a small misspelling in each script/outline they hand out so that if it is copied, they can trace it back to the source.

  3. YouNxt says:

    Great advice and very handy to have this – I would add that in a TV script/concept (unlike a film idea) act breaks (those cliff hangers before we go to commercial break) are extremely important.

    • jillatkinson says:

      Thanks for the input Jaime. Identifying hi-points in your script certainly adds value to the overall presentation and helps to underline the dramatic tension.

  4. Paul says:

    Excellent advice, but how does one go about getting a meeting with a network or production company in the first place?

    • jillatkinson says:

      If you want network interest go to the corporate website and look up the contact info for the heads of the particular genre you best fit. CBC for example has a head of drama and a head of comedy that you can pitch to.
      Good luck.

    • Typist44 says:

      Google it. It’s fairly simple to get an appointment with a tv station. Just call them up and ask where the nearest one is, then set a date.

  5. senorsquishy says:

    In relation to protecting one’s intellectual property and the convergence of all forms of media, if an idea for a new television show had a title character and showname that was extremely unique and the concept dissolved without these critical components would registering the character’s and show’s names under the .com and .ca domains also effectively protect an idea from being stolen?

  6. senorsquishy says:

    Thank you Jill for taking the time to consider my question and offer some
    resources that will help guide me in the quest to protect intellectual
    property before presenting it publicly.

    I’d like to thank Ellen too for the tip about filing with the Writer’s Guild.

    I was also thinking that in this day and age of media convergence going beyond domain registration and registering an idea on the social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter would also be a wise and pre-emptive means of protecting one’s intellectual property.

    My idea runs counter to much of what is available nowadays in terms of TV
    programming (cop/doctor/lawyer shows with lots of pretty actors and reality
    shows that have lost most of their original focus of being unstaged and
    populated with real people that made them special initially) and is filled
    with comical Canadian content and characters that has a very broad appeal far
    beyond Canada. It is unique and original.

    I’ve told my idea to a few people that I trust and each and every one of them
    keeps coming back with a big smile on their faces looking for more afterwards.

    So now to work on a pilot script outline and “bible” as per your advice and then
    reveal!

    I’ll keep you in the info loop as to what happens.

    SS

  7. Andrew says:

    I have a funny tv show idea and I don’t know how to pitch it . I told people I know about it and they all think it would be a funny show, what can i do?

  8. Kate says:

    Here’s a question: I’m applying for a traineeship program in Britain, I have 1 minute to pitch my fact based science show, a la nature of things only more fun, what is vital to include do you think?

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Kate
      A 1-minute pitch sounds like the format for a new game show. Good luck with that. At some of the independent film festivals they have those kinds of “Speed Pitches” where you get 1 minute with a producer to do your pitch. But most networks give you more than a minute. 30 minutes is typical … but in your case … okay you have a minute. Here goes:
      Since timing is of the essence, you will still need all your full-up presentation materials to give them as a leave-behind. Your log line is only one sentence and you will write and rewrite it until it’s as tight as it can be. You’ll do the same for your outline … you will have approx 35 seconds to verbally present the logline and outline. The remainder of your time should be spent SELLING your pitch – tell them how THEY will benefit from airing your show. Spend time figuring that out. Look at the network demographics. Pay attention to the types of advertisers who buy commercial airtime/digital space and who does not. Present a solid one or two sentence benefit statement.
      Now practice, practice, practice your pitch in front of a mirror (50 – 100 times is not unusual until you know it cold). Speak quickly, but clearly. Practice making eye contact with your imaginary audience.
      At the end, ask if they have any questions.
      Thank them for their time as you hand out your leave-behind.
      Break a leg! Let me know how it goes.

  9. Emilie says:

    Thank you for this informative post. I’m finding that it’s hard to locate info on this subject. 🙂

  10. Grace says:

    I have an idea for a TV show – however, it’s not a sitcom – more like a reality show on the topic of the esoteric. Any advice on how to begin to pitch this to cable/satellite? (Think Ghost Hunters – but taking it to another level.)

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Grace
      You could take your pitch to an agent but with reality I’m never sure there is enough potential money to interest an agent because ratings drive the amount of money that can be made from advertisers who buy time on the shows. In Canada, there are a few government and corporate funds that you can access, but there are strict rules regarding the content and there is something called the 60/40 rule – 60% has to be Canadian (production, talent, content etc). In the US there are some networks like National Geographic that are set up to accept project pitches online. You might want to try that route if you don’t get any interest from an agent.

  11. Jill Laine says:

    Hi Jill,
    Thanks for all the great information, it is most appreciated! Here is my quandary: I have developed a 30 minute lifestyle show (not a sitcom). I have the business proposal and pitch ready to go. I developed a pilot for the show that would give examples of the various segment ideas, and then scrapped that because I was told by an entertainment lawyer and others to present a 3 minute ‘highlight reel’ instead. Last week I met with a producer that said I would need a pilot to pitch (commence screaming). What would you recommend, do I need to go into my pitch meetings with a full pilot? Any other advice you can offer is welcomed!

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Jill
      Lifestyle shows are a little different. I’ve seen lifestyle shows pitched both ways. Both can be effective. Much depends on your host (if you have one). If they are unproven talent, the network will want to see how they are in front of the camera. If they are proven talent, a highlight reel to get across the personality of the show should be fine. A lot depends on your format … if it’s tried and true, the highlight reel works. A highlight reel, also called a sizzle reel, will work wonders to get everyone in the room excited about your pitch. If you are doing something really fresh in a format that no one has ever seen before … then at the very least have a few segments in the can for your presentation because the new new needs to be seen to be appreciated … and understood. Because there are no rules really, I would recommend a minute and a half sizzle reel that leads into a few pre-taped segments to get across your show idea and how your host is on-camera … if you have the resources to do this.
      Good luck and let me know how it goes.
      Cheers,
      Jill
      I should add that if you’re in the US, it’s wise to engage an agent who can advise you on the best way to pitch your show.

  12. Pingback: How to Successfully Pitch A Radio Show « Adlib

  13. ellissa says:

    Would a producer with a pitch idea, ever pitch a show to a network/studio without copyrighting it or registering it first? If the producer had a deal with the network/studio, like a first look /development deal, would they pitch it without registering it? Would a network ever go to pilot without having the producer/creator/writer of the show register or copyright a script or treatment? Would network/studio want validation of ownership before it shot a pilot or went into series production? Thanks for any info on these questions.

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Ellissa
      Pretty much every major network that you pitch to will insist on your signing a release form before you pitch … to protect them, as well as you. This release form acknowledges your right to the intellectual property (the idea or concept of the show). Trust me, no network out there wants to be sued for “stealing” your idea. It’s bad for business, bad for the network and bad for the industry. Establishing rights to intellectual properties protects you from everyone else LOL who may want to borrow from your idea.

  14. F. Paul Corneal says:

    Hi Jill, I have three (3) tv pilots, one game show and two reality shows. I am in LA, California looking for an agent. Question: Should I sign with only one agent? I also have three (3) registered scripts. Should they be all with one agent?

    • jillatkinson says:

      Wow Paul … you’re a prolific writer!
      Here’s the thing, and there are two schools of thought on this. First of all … do you need an agent? If you have your own connections in the industry, you many not need an agent at all. If you watch reality on television, you’ll notice that there are only a handful of production companies producing them. You might be better off approaching one of them with your ideas. Same thing goes for your television ideas. If they’re good ones, hooking up with an independent production company will allow you to make use of their contacts, and they will definitely have relationships with the heads of the entertainment divisions at the network level.
      So why go with an agent? First of all, the agent is the person with the contacts. And presumably they are owed favours. They are networkers extraordinaire. A good agent can get your script in front of the right people. For the most part, they are expert sales people, negotiators and deal closers. But an agent won’t take on just anyone. Your stuff has to be saleable in their eyes. And the three strikes rule applies. No one wants to waste his or her time if your work doesn’t sell right away. No one will be as passionate about your work as you are … so you have to ask yourself “who is best suited to sell it?”. Sorry, I don’t know the answer to your last question.

  15. LaVelle says:

    Hello Jill would you answer this for me,after you register your idea, would you use a company like tv writers vault? And what do you think of the fees they charge.

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi LaVelle
      I can’t comment on TV Writers Vault – I’ve never used their service and don’t know anyone who has. Let me know if you decide to use it.
      Cheers,
      Jill

  16. Mark says:

    Jill,

    You are awesome! This has been so educational for me to read.

    I am an actor in LA who has been told by a few people (some well connected) that I should write. So I did. I wrote a 29 page pilot for a TV Show. It introduces the characters, base plot of the series, and the tone of the show.

    So, now I have this work. I have let a few people read it and get generally good feedback. I really want to shop this around and see if anyone is interested.

    What do you think my next step should be?

    Again, you are awesome!

    Thanks!
    Mark

    PS- Want to ready it? I would love your feedback.

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Mark
      Good for you! Putting pen to paper (not literally in the digital world) is the toughest part. Selling it should be a walk in the park, right? Okay … maybe I’m being a little sarcastic. Selling requires almost the same level of skillset as the creating. You’re just switching hats really, from creative to producer. Because you’re an actor, and no stranger to the movers and shakers in LA, I would suggest that you shop your project to a local agent, one that has a track record in the genre that your show is ie. comedy, drama etc. His or her feedback will be solid – and they’ll add lots of value to the process. They will also be in a good position to know what the heads of programming are looking for as far as your project. You’re choosing an agent based on his or her network – they’re the ones with the connections you wish you had. Once you’re hooked up with someone, they can give you the best advice as to what presentation materials will be needed … directors treatment, budget, etc. And thanks for the nice comments. Trust me, I would love to read your script, but it’s not a good idea to share it with strangers. As a writer myself, I’m careful who I show my work to … if only to protect other people from “accidentally” repeating a concept I might have created … in their own work. But it can happen, and it’s usually unintentional. But why take the risk? Good luck and keep me posted.

  17. Alex says:

    this is really helpful. but what i want to do is create a sitcom that i have ideas and characters already laid out so do they actually use those or do they take your idea and turn it into another, but still give you credit? and how old should you be to do this?

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Alex
      Yes, they will use your ideas and characters … they’re buying into your vision. I would imagine you would have to be of legal age to legally sign contracts.

  18. RK says:

    Jill, it’s amazing that you are still getting comments and questions a year after you posted the original info.
    I have a TV talk show that I have already produced and it has aired regionally. However, I hope to place it on a national network now.

    I have contacts in the cable industry, so wanted to know if you think I still need an agent. Also, how can agents be found? (I didn’t use one when I originally got show on regionally.)

    RK

    • jillatkinson says:

      I should think you would do just fine if you already have contacts in the industry. At least it’s aired regionally, so you have something concrete that you can show. Best of luck!

  19. jlainestyle says:

    Hi Jill,
    I’m still following my dream for a lifestyle show: my sizzle reel/mini-pilot is nearly ready, and I’ve created a business proposal for the show as well. Now I’m looking to start reaching out to production companies, but many of them don’t list contact information (surely because everyone wants to pitch them their TV show!). Do you still recommend an agent, or can I find a way into these production companies so I can pitch them myself? I’m looking for the next steps I need to take, so anything you can recommend is highly appreciated, thanks!
    Best,
    Jill Laine

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Jill I’m sure you’ve found success by now but for others reading this here’s my advice. Network the industry! Use LinkedIn. Join an organization and use their database. Where I am we have WIFT – Women In Television and Film plus many other industry-based organizations. attend industry functions, looking to meet the right people. Reach out to an exec producer at a network. It’s no different than finding the holy grail I’m afraid. Hard work, homework and sheer determination ( plus loads of luck and timing) are needed.

  20. James Albin says:

    I’ve been searching the web for about 4 months now and can NOT find any samples of how to write a pict. I contacted a production company and this is what they want.

    Project submitted (name, format and short description, attach synopsis and other related materials) (the “Project”): To Be Attached in E-mail.

    Isn’t a fomat the same as a short description ?? and isn’t a format and short description the same as a synopsis ?? I just don’t understand how to do this.. If you could give me an exanple of this in order of how they want it, that would help me.

    Thank youvery much for your time.

    James Albin

    • jillatkinson says:

      Format: production structure
      Description: a short paragraph about the show/concept or theme
      Synopsis: longer than the description, the synopsis is a breakdown of the major details and how they would play out in an actual episode

  21. mike says:

    hey jill i have a comedy sitcom script and im trying to sell it. what can i do to get it out there? im broke and i need a change in my life. please help.

  22. Anna Fenech says:

    Hi Jill,
    I live in the GTA. How do I go about finding an agent, one who would actually consider an unknown writer? I have a great idea for a game show. How much are the fees for the Writers’ Guild and is the material really protected?
    Thanks.
    Annie

  23. venessa says:

    Great insight. I am a writer who consistently reads random insight on how to prefect my scripts, ideas, and YES… selling my first show. I know I need an agent, but I am still searching for a good one! I have written short stories, bios, a couple of small stage plays but nothing too big. I have a two great sitcoms I am currently working on and two reality shows I’ve created. I would love to see them get picked up. How would you suggest finding a good agent? I live in Los Angeles. Thanks for the article and feedback 🙂

  24. Nathan says:

    I have an outline for a Canadian crime/drama series and have a couple questions about censorship, budgets and creative control. As written my pilot script is very realistic in the way violence, drug use and the way people talk are portrayed(I.e swearing and blood). If I were to pitch this to CBC would they allow “Sopranos-like” violence and course language? I was also wondering what the typical budget of an hour long canadian drama series would be per episode? I don’t want the production company passing just because the script reads like a 3-4 million dollar show. In my series bible I have strict rules that every episode must follow(an example being that I don’t want a musical score only sourced music heard by characters listening to the radio etc). Would this hinder my chances or demonstrate that I have a clear vision and know the atmosphere of the series? I know compromise is the name of the game but I don’t want my pilot turned into some cookie cutter feel good garbage. Am I having delusions of grandeur thinking/hoping I can have creative control? Thanks for writing this article, it’s a great tool for anyone wanting to tell stories for a living. Any help with the above questions(especially regarding budgets/censorship) will be greatly appreciated

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Nathan
      CBC will be interested in the quality of the idea, the format, genre and how your series fits CBC’s mandate to share Canadian stories. Yes the corp. is a public broadcaster, but they are no stranger to murder and violence if it’s not gratuitous. Didn’t you watch White Pine Picture’s excellent series “The Border” on CBC? 🙂
      I’m afraid I can’t speak to a typical budget … There’s no such thing as a typical show. Number of cast members, shooting on set or location, crew size, need for FX, all have an impact on cost.
      A series bible usually outlines those things that contribute to your creative idea – the core things about your show that make it unique and special – the threads in the sweat her that shouldn’t be pulled. As in any business relationship, there is going to have to be give and take. You are about to share your baby with many, many people, all whose impact will tweak and refine your series. You have to be open to the conversation. A network isn’t going to give you carte blanche. You will have an experienced, professional team giving you guidance and feedback throughout pre- and post-production. If you cannot collaborate or persuasively defend your ideas, you should find your own financing and produce it yourself for online.
      Hope this helps.

  25. jon says:

    Jill, this is most helpful and I thank you. I have a 1/2 hour sitcom pilot that I am working on. I also have about $6000 to put toward a teaser/demo/ whatever we are calling it. I am unclear exactly what the demo should say. I basically made it the first 5 minutes of the pilot episode, as that really tells what the entire concept is. It introduces my main character, supporting characters, potential conflicts, and the ideas within my log line. Is this the correct approach or should it be snippets of various situations that may arise. I hope you are still available to answer. Thanks so much.

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Jon
      Unless you are working with a production company or have already shot footage, save your money on a sizzle reel. Your log line should be sufficient. If you want to invest capital, put money on packaging your presentation with easy to navigate, we’ll designed presentation materials. Break a leg!

  26. Hi Jill,

    Just wanted to say thanks for this post, I’ve got a pitch meeting in LA a couple of weeks and it’s my first, so all the advice I can find is helpful! It’s good to know I’m on the right track and what I need to add.

    Thanks again!

    Gavin

  27. syntk says:

    Thank you for a great blog post that retains its relevance! I have written treatments for three television shows (all suspenseful, dark dramedies – one four seasons, one nine seasons, and one of undetermined length). Based on your article, I’ll add a little bit more detail. When I have all the details worked out, would it be best to only discuss one idea if and when I get to talk to someone? (I am optimistic about getting at least a quick discussion, and I can take it from there.) I’m wondering if having three might make me seem unfocused, or may dilute the focus of my pitch. Or, is it a good idea to mention that I have more series that I can pitch? I know that if I get a meeting, it will be quick and I have to hit hard and I don’t know whether to hold all my cards or show them.

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  29. Your way of explaining the whole thing in this piece of writing is actually good, every
    one be able to without difficulty understand it, Thanks a lot.

  30. Baron says:

    Hi Jill, I have an idea for a supernatural animated TV show, note that I didn’t say a ‘cartoon show’ and that is because it has a more complex animated style. It’s about four teens who come up against supernatural occurances and all kinds of paranormal evil every week. I wanted it to be very well animated and to look like a movie every week. The characters are all very unique with strong, funny personalites but although it is fun, it at times has serious themes and although it’s about attractive animated characters it has continuity and it plays like a regular supernatural TV show, every season the gang go to new places since they become their own league. Sound good? I would like to pitch it with illustrations of each character and an outline for each season. It is Scooby Doo meets Buffy and Angel meets The OC meets Glee meets Teen Wolf meets Spider-Man with the animation style of recent hand drawn animation Disney movies or Dreamworks Prince of Egypt. If I pitched the idea to Dreamworks or Warner Brothers with illustrations and series outline, what do you think they’d say? Thanks!

  31. Dear Jill,

    Thank you for amazing insight. I am a U.S writer who’s written what I think to be a great pilot.

    Just want to re-iterate that the following is the proper protocol;

    I should probably pitch to an agent and/or producer and THEY will be able to get me the meeting to pitch to network….While pitching to agent and/or producer, I should have the SAME EXACT pitch ready as the one I will pitch to network…which consists of the following:
    Log line
    Outline
    Research
    Mini-bible development
    Show run down:

    To my understanding “Development Phase A, Development Phase B, Pilot Production, Evaluation, Green-light for Production” are matters/issues to be dealt with after the Pilot presentation is pitched (and therefore won’t have to worry about now)?

    So there are 2 questions here.
    1. Should I have the same pitch for the agent and/or producer who will get me into the door with the network person
    2. Are the 5 factors I mentioned the only 5 I should worry about when pitching (and the others I won”t have to worry about…till after)?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    -Chris Lazzaro

  32. William Ayers says:

    Hi Jill,
    Good advice as I was reading it. Have a drama-supernatural police crime that would like to pitch to the networks. Logline and concept are set in place but also have a pilot shot for the show itself. Can executrives work with this information of a pitch, or would they be willing to want to know more or can they work on this information alone? Any helpful information would bwe greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time and consideration,
    William

  33. I need to to thank you for this excellent read!
    ! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it. I have you book-marked to check out new stuff you
    post…

  34. ken sherwood says:

    listen i am sick of the regurgitated norm if you want new ideas get me at kensherwood1313@gmail.com.Its ridiculous watching crap over and over i need to create tv that is worth watching;)

  35. Hi! 🙂
    I was just wondering if it is possible for someone to be the scriptwriter of a show AND star in it. I have an idea for a show that I might consider pitching to CBC, and I would love to be in it as well. Can that work?
    -Thanks!

  36. weriley says:

    Great article! I’m new to this process, and I plan on pursuing an idea I have for a drama series. This is exactly what I needed to hear!

    Thanks,
    Will

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  38. doc911 says:

    An interesting & informative piece. Well worth the read & the hyperlinks to other material related to this subject was greatly appreciated.

    Thank You for your efforts.

    Cheers

  39. Jongee says:

    I would like to introduce a Reality Show idea to you. Its about todays barber lifestyle. The new era of barbers has no comparison to the past. The new generation of barbers is here to stay. Let me give you a glimpse of it.

    Welcome to the 909. On the corner of the historic route 66, twelve barbers each on their own hustle strive to be the best barbers in the west coast, some have what it takes and some won’t make the “Cut”. “THE SPOT BARBERSHOP” transports you to another place. It’s like the bar scene in the first Star Wars movie where every type of species comes through the door and you don’t know what could happen next. Everyone stays to listen to all the back & forth banter/ sports talk between clients and barbers. The Spot Barbershop has a bazaar atmosphere where the shopkeeper allows street vendors to pitch their items freely to his customers. We are a dysfunctional family, there is no way we could create this environment for our community if we, as the barbers, didn’t love and hate one another like family. No matter what our faults are, we are all there for one another. Our barbershop is our home away from home. Come on in!

    We have a completed Sizzle Reel upon request.

    Contact Information:

    Jongee
    Cell (626)253-8079
    Email jongee1967@yahoo.com

  40. Pingback: Pitching Week | Rona's Blog

  41. Lani Akande says:

    Hi Jill,

    Thanks a lot for your tips. Very helpful. Now, in addition to having a ‘pitchable’ script, if you can direct and shoot your pilot, does this help? Or would TV networks rather have just the script?

    Thanks, again.

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Lani – Absolutely! The more you’re able to bring your script idea to life the better … but only if you can make a pilot with good production values and talent. You want to be careful to not kill your idea with a poorly shot pilot. Networks don’t expect you to have a finished episode in the can, but even a sizzle reel put together with a selection of your best scenes/stock shots etc will provide impact for selling the idea through.

  42. Brian McLane says:

    This article is excellent. Going to use it to our benefit!! Thanks Jill

  43. 3'reeg says:

    Thanks.

  44. Usman Khan says:

    Hi Jill
    You are a great lady, Giving a lot of time without any interest, If I succeeded to air my idea I,ll specially narrate you in my show. I am from Pakistan and I have a brilliant talk-show idea which is different from other and I don’t wants to sell it but I just wants to be host in my own program.. Is it possible?. Which will target a large market in Pakistan, Pakistan,s political and civil issues will be discus in the show in a unique way. But problem is that I just doing graduation in commerce so neither I have any friend who can help me in media field because they are also inexperienced nor I have any idea where to pitch, how to find right persons.. As a student I have just pocket money.. Idea on paper, I am confused whether meet to any media head or find a production company.. If I contact with production house does they will charge for all cost which will incur from beginning to end of my idea ? Does they will arrange the experts to help me for Q and A from my show guest ? same question in case of connecting with TV channel heads…. I focused in my idea how to capture a large market, and also I fixed the topics.. plz help me

    • jillatkinson says:

      Usman, if a production company or network likes your idea, they will carry the production costs to get the show made.

  45. Lynn Burnett says:

    I just stumbled on here! I really didn’t even have time to read all the comments. I’m a High School teacher with a few minutes at lunch and just was searching the internet. As crazy as this sounds. I have this thought (actually it started as a weird dream LOL) and my mind ran with it as a drama type sitcom. It had a catchy title in my dream and a “theme” and I’ve been thinking about different ways it could go off and on the past few months. I’m not a writer or anything like that but I can’t seem to shake it from my mind. I really wanted to just find a place online that I could drop the idea to someone in a network to see if it might be worth looking at as a cool story line. However, it just seems to be overwhelming!!!

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