What’s the Spin?


So let’s say you realize that lots of people might be entertained by your expertise as a French chef, your adventures in ghost-hunting or the hilarious fights your co-workers keep having down at the holistic diet center. Well, guess what? So have a dozen or so others. There’s still room for new faces in Reality TV, but there’s also growing competition for coveted airtime—especially in areas where there are already lots of shows, like cooking, pet care, and weight-loss.

If you would like to be a contender, you’ll have to realize that it’s not just what you’ve got, it’s how you’re presenting it. Assume that whatever your central idea is, producers have seen it before in some way, shape, or form (or they’ll assume they have), so it’s imperative that you invest some effort in the details. Here’s your checklist of…

5 Things You Need to Do To Make A Great Pitch:

    1. Use a show format that makes the most of your show subject and connects with your audience. For example, would 20-somethings prefer a show about young wives or basketball wives? Would families with teens be more likely to gather around the TV together to watch a show about travel, or a show about other families running around the world in a big race? As well-known past successes have shown, the spin you put on your show idea can make you stand out among the rest.

    2. Plan pitch materials that are appropriate to your concept, format, and potential buyers. Some ideas will require a power-point deck, others just need to be in word. Some need to be long and detailed, some short and to-the-point. For some, they are simply a backup for the sizzle reel. It all depends on what you are pitching, who you are pitching to and what they are known to want or like. And believe us—their preferences are pretty specific.

    3. Write it up right. Your show write-up needs to be well written. And by “well” we mean of professional can’t-put-it-down quality—all your pitch materials should be. Poor writing can stop a good idea from going anywhere.

    4. Make a sizzle reel. This is their best indicator of what it will be like to watch your actual show, so don’t skimp on quality. In fact, don’t shoot until you have a sizzle reel script at the ready.

    5. Do the necessary packaging. Some shows and even formats will simply not sell unless you have specific celebrity talent attached, so if you’ve got one of those, be prepared to do some outreach.

Specificity of format, write-up, sizzle-reel and talent packaging also has another added benefit—it makes your whole show idea much harder to steal. And in the world of reality TV where you’re not pitching a specifically copyrighted a hundred-plus page script, idea theft can happen without your even knowing it. In short, you’ve got to fit into the reality TV box, but bring something unique and new at the same time. Implement a reality TV format, add an innovative twist, and show it off with materials and great talent that will put you ahead of the pack.


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