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Developing Factual Ideas

Eleven Places to Find Onscreen Talent to Attach to Your TV Programme Idea

Photo by lemoncat1

Photo by lemoncat1

Attaching onscreen talent to your proposal can make or break your chances of getting a commission.  You have a couple of options when looking for talent – look for established talent who can bring their expertise to a subject, or who can be cast in an unexpected light (which can be expensive), or find brand new talent (which is cheaper but riskier). But how the heck do you do that?

Here are eleven places to look for your talent:

  1. Call talent agents to see if they have anyone suitable on their books
  2. Visit findaTVexpert.com
  3. Get on publishers’ press release lists – upcoming authors, especially in the science and history worlds, might be perfect
  4. Watch TED videos – see the most creative thinkers in the world deliver 18 minute presentations (the beauty of the Internet  is that you can see how people look onscreen before you even decide to approach them)
  5. Watch Academic Earth videos to see Ivy League professors give their lectures
  6. Look for experts or sidekicks in existing TV shows – is there someone who deserves a show of their own?
  7. Go out of the house/office – who’s on at your local comedy club? Does your barber/butcher/dog walker have onscreen potential?
  8. Read newspaper/magazine interviews with celebrities – do they have a little known interest in your subject?
  9. Search the blogsphere – who are the ‘ordinary’ people who have an expert knowledge that has brought them thousands of followers?
  10. Who are the journalists and writers in specialist magazines? Look for travel editors and writers who might be perfect to front travel shows, Wired writers for tech/science shows etc.
  11. Call specialist and trade organizations – who is well-known in their field and great at communicating their passion for their subject?

And if all else fails: hire a casting director.

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

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