We remember when we were just starting out in the industry. Didn’t know anyone. Couldn’t get a meeting. But…we thought we knew everything! Turns out, like a lot of new producers, we were pitching the worst kinds of projects to launch our careers. Now, years later, receiving hundreds of unscripted television pitches ourselves, we see the same mistakes we made way back when. So today our goal is to save you a ton of time, headaches, and heartaches. We’re telling you the three worst kinds of shows for new producers to pitch. But…we also tell you when you might want to ignore this advice, and offer tips for what you should spend your time on, so you don‘t waste it.
New Producers: The Right Mindset
As you know from over five years of podcasts, ideas are not enough. It‘s all about your package – that presentation you put together that proves you have unique access to a real person, place, or thing.
For instance, some will pitch a big music competition show concept, but have no connections to the music industry. You’re not gonna sell the next Voice if you don’t have someone as big as Gwen Stefani attached. Networks and production companies will not help new producers meet those people.
Our own competition show Scream Queens would have never been made if Lionsgate hadn’t put up a role in SAW – a world-wide release – as the grand prize. Otherwise, it was just a pitch about actresses competing for a role, just an idea.
Another example is someone who pitches a celebrity based show (“it’s a new show with Jennifer Lawrence!”) but has absolutely no connection to the person they are pitching. Remember, you can‘t pitch what you don’t have.
One other kind of show that gets over-pitched is the “we‘re a new startup company!” Unfortunately, if you have access to a brand new company who is just starting out, networks won’t bite.
For a business startup show to work, that business can’t run out of someone’s living room. There must already be major factors in place to make the company extraordinary. That might be a billion dollar investment from Silicon Valley, a true celebrity who’s come on board as a partner, or a business that’s so unique it already has real momentum. (By real momentum, we mean many people know the company exists, that they‘re already in the public eye.)
Use These Tips to Save Yourself Time and Trouble
We hope you use the tips here and in today‘s podcast ep to save yourself time and energy when developing new show concepts and assembling your packages. Whether you pitch to us, or anyone else, you’ll have a leg up if you‘re not the newbie pitching the wrong kind of show. Just some of what we cover today:
- Why some types shows are totally wrong for new producers to pitch
- Our own mistakes when we were starting out
- How to assess if your concept and package could be valuable
- Big newbie mistakes you should avoid
- Spending your valuable time wisely
- …and lots more!
Hit that giant PLAY button above and you’ll never make a newbie pitch mistake…ever!
Helpful and Related Links
Reach out to us on Twitter! We reply to as many tweets as we can, and hope to see you there.
4 other kinds of shows no one should pitch.
6 Must-Have traits of unscripted TV characters.
Be sure to read the Joke Productions Real Screen Story for an inside look at what makes us tick.
Let’s Make some TV Together
Looking to become a TV producer? Thinking about pitching to us and our company Joke Productions?
Here’s what you need to know:
Read our in-depth page about how to pitch us a show. It also talks about what it’s really like to work in our business, the unscripted TV and film industry.