Wednesday, 27 February 2008

How to get an idea on TV

Yesterday I got to participate in a Development pitch to Daytime Television for a terrestrial channel. Our department was pitching their game show idea so they rounded up a team of people to play and took us out to The Network TV Building where for 50 minutes we animatedly engaged in this general knowledge quiz show.

The object of the meeting was for my company to show how the game would play and the structure of it. There were no fancy graphics, no bright lights and no prizes but it was entertaining none the less.

Development fascinates me. They come up with a shell of an idea. Then they pitch that shell - which is sometimes just a catchphrase - to the channel commissioners who decide whether or not they want to hear anymore.

The team then goes off and develops the idea further. They put together a pitch proposal and take it back to the commissioners. The commissioners might tweak it further saying they are interested but want it slightly different. The team then goes back to the drawing board and panders to the commissioners desires. They tweak, change, redesign and ultimately try and create The Perfect Show.

Another presentation to the commissioner later they might be given a little bit of money to develop the idea even further. This does not guarantee a commission but is for the team to start finding talent and contributors to give the commissioners a clearer idea of what the heart of the show would look like.

This dance can go on for months. Even then you are not guaranteed a commission. You might get a pilot, or better yet a pilot which will be aired. The holy grail is to get a series commissioned with another 2 series off the back of it.

In the cab ride home yesterday the Development team decided that commissioners should give out trophies so you had something to show the team when you got back.

A certificate for a well pitched idea.

A tiny cup for a development grant.

A bronze cup for a pilot show.

A silver cup for a series.

A gold cup for 2 series.

Anything is better than hearing the commissioners say "We're very interested in this idea, BUT"

Even if they haven't heard the idea they're still interested.

I think they just like seeing how high they can make Production Companies jump.


The Chronicles of a Fashionista in PDX said...

This reminds me of the movie I recently watched with David Duchovny titled, "The TV Set". Have you seen it? I thought it had an interesting perspective from the Hollywood side of things.

The Divine Miss M said...

No, never watched it. I will take a look out for it though!

Have you watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip? I love that show.

The Chronicles of a Fashionista in PDX said...

No, I haven't watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I'm way behind on my TV! I'll have to check it out though! I hear it's good! :)

The Divine Miss M said...

It's brilliant. I don't understand why it got cancelled after 1 series! Damn those American TV channels. *humph*

The Chronicles of a Fashionista in PDX said...

I agree that American networks are always canceling shows with very original ideas! Like Arrested Development...I loved that show. :(

KaB said...

Pooh...I so want that job!

Must make changes in life...eek!

Sounds like far too much fun...howcome you're spending so much time with this think they've got their eye on you?!?

Anonymous said...

Why not extend the trophy idea to all facets of life? A guy asks you out, but you're not interested: he gets a Certificate of Appreciation (with the terms of the restraining order handily printed on the back for easy reference).

sweets said...

kyk that's a brilliant idea, then we can also ask for references and ask to see your portfolio... LOL

The Divine Miss M said...

@pdx - I've never seen that show. Must watch.

@kab - Ye, Development is great fun if you're creative. Naah it is just because I was sitting on the same floor as them and am friends with the big Development dude. He keeps wrangling me into these things. We also go out and get drunk together and talk silly tv shit, great fun.

@kyk - I LOVE IT! You are really on to something there! ;)

@sweets - Fantastic, can we also get 3 letters of recommendation given to us before we date the person?

Elise said...

That sounds like such a good job to do. Listening to people pitch and then deciding whats "interesting" and whats actually good.

I'd be pissed off if I was pitching and it got rejected though... I'd probably cry.

I love your blog. It provides such insight to the real world of TV.

I want your life! xx

The Divine Miss M said...

@Elise - I want your life! Should we swap for a day? ;)

Ye but being a commissioner must be stressful. If you pass on a show and it because a hit on another channel you can lose your job. All luck I suppose!

We were pitching to the guy who commissioned Deal or No Deal - that was a breakaway show.