PITCHING REALITY FOR SUCCESS
In Hollywood, delivering Pitches is your path to break-through in the TV Industry. After finishing your reality draft, it is time to refine and polish the elements of your reality that will be read by agents, producers and networks executives. The pitch, which includes a title, logline and synopsis is the absolute business in selling Reality TV scripts.
obviously, is the name of the proposed show and is usually one to three words. In a nutshell, the title reveals the nature or theme of the show. When appropriate, a play on words or catchy word title can elevate initial interest. The logline defines in two to three sentences what the show will be about. It reveals the genre and reality type such as a formatted or docuseries type show. It needs to be concise and motivate the reader to want to know more.
SAMPLE TITLES AND LOGLINES
TITLE: GOLF SQUADRON
Adhering to golfing etiquette norms is a laughing matter as squadrons face off in this clash of a Wipeout vs Holey Moley play-off. Squadrons may get a bit agitated as crocks, tossed frogs and bird flocks impede their progress. Overcoming obstacles and outrageous distractions by rival golfers is the natural order of the contest, as golfers wrangle to post the low score in this hybrid, pro links-miniature golf challenge.
TITLE: LIFE BOAT UNHINGED
Making a big splash is the objective in this nearly, anything goes cruise, as shipmates hit the waters for fun, competitions and jaw-dropping revelations. After wetting the appetite with some exciting water toys, guys and gals are back on board to engage in a theme of the day party. Drama persists as contestants try to advance to the black-tie semi-final. Ultimately, like Survivors, mates’ resist being voted off as “Least Desirable” with hope to stay afloat, to the season finale.
TITLE: PET CELEBRITY
In a wildly funny show inspired by America’s Funniest Home Videos, individuals display uniquely funny, bizarre and sometimes crazy actions of their pets that were captured on camera. Animals emerge from anonymity to celebrity as category winners of video and photos advance to the "Show Offs" competition and a chance to win it big at the "Best-In-Show" finale.
TITLE: IMAGINE THAT
In a fusion of Jeopardy and Family Feud, contestants in this image recognition contest, earn $1,000 if they are able to ID the first and partial image of the Mona Lisa. A regression in the dollar award results when contestants require larger segments of images to be displayed through a progressive 5 stage format. With a correct ID of the stage three image, contestants earn $500. Bonus dollars are awarded when a contestant correctly answers, who the artist was: Leonardo da Vinci
- Make a 2-5 minute tape featuring the main elements of your show, Film the star of your show in their natural environment, Try to capture what makes them special or unique. If you’re making a show about a group of people, film them all interacting. Make sure you include the main characters or locations of the show. For example, if your show is going to be about a group of employees at a barber shop, go to the barber shop and film them as they work and joke around with each other. Don’t worry about using special camera equipment at this stage. You can film with a regular digital video camera, your phone, or a computer.
- Craft a 1-5 page logline and synopsis about your show. Make the write up short and simple. Tell production companies what format and style your show is and briefly mention the characters and what the storyline will be like. Give them a sense of what a typical episode will be like. For example, you could introduce your write up with something like “I’m envisioning a self-contained format series featuring a psychic couple that travels the country, helping people redecorate their homes along the way. Not only will the couple give their own interior decorating opinions, but also those of the deceased former inhabitants of the home. Each episode will feature a different family and their home.”
- Take headshots of the main characters. They don’t need to be fancy; just clear, straight-on photos that you can attach to your pitch. Production companies will want to know what the characters in your show look like. Write the name of each character on their headshot. You want executives looking at the pitch package to be able to match up their faces with the character descriptions you provide in the write up.
PITCHING THE SHOW
- Get an agent if you’re new to the industry. An agent can help you connect with potential buyers and make it easier to get your pitch package in front of the right people. Look for agents in your area that specialize in reality television and see if you can get someone to represent you.
- Team up with an established reality show producer. Look for a producer who’s already produced reality shows similar to the one you’re pitching. If you’re new to the industry and you don’t know any producers, pay to attend a conference like the National Association of Television Program Executives that takes place annually in Miami, Florida,or the annual RealScreen Summit in Washington, DC. Attending a conference with high-level TV executives can cost over $1,000 (€843), so you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared if you decide to take this route. Make sure your pitch package is all put together and consider having multiple ideas to pitch. At the conference, attend sessions hosted by network executives you’re interested in networking with, and introduce yourself after the session. Have cards with your contact information on them that you can hand out to prospective buyers.
- Pitch directly to the networks. If you have an agent, have them arrange a meeting between you and some network executives. Choose a network you could see your show airing on; if your show is about CEOs renovating their own penthouses, look for a network that airs home-improvement-style shows. Come to the meeting prepared with your pitch package (short tape, write up, headshots) and convince the network execs that your show would be a hit. If your show centers around the bold personality of a particular character, consider bringing them along to the meeting to help woo the network.
- Keep shopping around your idea until you get a buyer. If one network isn’t interested in your idea, that doesn’t mean other networks won’t be. Keep attending meetings and pitching your show. Take the feedback you get from network executives and TV producers and use it to make your pitch package better. If you’re not having any luck, consider changing the premise or structure of your show so it’s more marketable.