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How to Get Your Idea in Front of a Commissioner

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You might have the best idea in the world, but if you never pitch it, it will never get made. But getting your idea in front of a commissioner can be the most challenging part of the process.

Here are some tips for making your initial approach:

Send an email.

· Sending a short query email can help you gauge if there is any initial interest.
· Good if your writing skills are better than your verbal pitching skills.
· You need to know the email address of the commissioner.
· You don’t know if they’ve received it, or it’s been filtered by their assistant.
· It might get lost in their inbox.

Upload your proposal to the channel website.

· You are complying with the channel requirements.
· The channel will have a system for dealing with submissions and a timescale for giving you feedback.
· Some channels are better than others at managing their e-submission systems.
· It’s impersonal.

Get a personal introduction.

· Commissioners prefer to deal with people they know.
· A referral from someone they respect will increase the likelihood that they will read your proposal.
· You need to know someone who knows someone.
· You need to attach yourself to the right people – not someone who has fallen out of favour.
· Finding the right person to back you might be as hard as getting a meeting with a commissioner.

Meet them at a festival.

· They are there looking for business.
· They will be giving talks and appearing on panels giving a broad overview of the kind of programmes they want.
· Meet Markets are set up to allow producers to pitch their ideas to the relevant commissioners.
· Pitching competitions that can help your idea get exposure.
· You need to be organised and plan ahead in order to secure a pitching slot.
· A pitching competition requires nerves of steel and there’s a risk of public humiliation if your pitch goes badly – and the risk that someone in the audience might nick your idea.

Bump into them in the bar.

· Meeting a commissioning editor in a relaxed setting and building a friendly relationship is a great introduction to a pitch.
· You don’t need to pitch – just make a good impression and ask for their card. You can follow up with a request for a meeting when the festival is over.
· You can gather detailed intelligence about their interests and commissioning needs.
· You will be competing with a lot of people for the commissioner’s attention.
· Festivals are an intense and exhausting environment and people just want to relax in the evening.
· Festival bars are noisy and crowded, which is not conducive to constructive conversation.
· Commissioners might want to hang out with their friends after a long day of pitch meetings.

Ambush them in the toilet.

· You will capture their undivided attention.
· The will never forget you.
· They will never want to see you again.

Get more development and pitching tips in Greenlit: Developing Factual/Reality TV Ideas From Concept to Pitch


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