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Developing Factual Ideas

Copyblogger Articles You Need to Read Before You Write Your TV Proposal: Part I

(Photo by AuthenticEccentric CC BY- SA 2.0)

Writing a concise, compelling proposal is a task that many  TV producers and filmmakers find difficult: coming up with the idea and visualizing what it will look like probably  comes easily to you; but being able to put your idea into words in a proposal or in a pitch is a different matter entirely. You have to switch from thinking like a director and start thinking like a copywriter. Copywriters (at least good ones) sell stuff and that’s the purpose of your proposal – it’s a sales pitch.

Copyblogger, named by The Guardian as one of the World’s 50 Most Powerful Blogs, is a site all about marketing online content, but you can adapt Copyblogger’s principles to help you write your TV proposal. In the first of this three-part series on turbocharging your development skills we look at some articles that explain the simple writing rules that you should use to polish your proposal so it looks professional:

  1. Do You Make These Seven Mistakes When You Write? - This article explains how to avoid common pitfalls such as using loose instead of lose; the difference between Me, Myself and I; correct placement of the apostrophe among other common mistakes.
  2. Five Grammatical Errors That Make You Look Dumb - Do you know the difference between Your and You’re? Its and It’s? Their and There? Read this article to make sure.
  3. Seven Bad Writing Habits You Learned in School It can be tempting, when writing a proposal, to write as though you are writing an English paper or thesis by using lots of long sentences and big words to impress. In fact, you should do the opposite: use short paragraphs, simple language and a narrative that will engage and draw in your audience, not bore them to death.

Don’t forget to read  Part II and Part III.


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

Nicola Lees (8801 Posts)

I have worked in the media - radio & TV, production and post-production - for more than fifteen years. I have extensive experience as a TV development producer, and have originated, developed, written and pitched proposals for award-winning documentaries, docu-dramas and interactive TV events for a range of UK and US channels, including BBC, Discovery, TLC, Travel Channel and Science Channel. I'm the founder of TVMole.com, a website that provides industry intelligence to help TV professionals and aspiring filmmakers get their programme ideas commissioned. I've written two books for Methuen Drama/Bloomsbury: Give Me the Money and I'll Shoot! Finance Your Factual TV/Film Project (2012) Greenlit: Developing Factual / Reality TV Ideas From Concept to Pitch (2010) I've produced industry panels for Televisual's Intelligent Factual Festival (2010) and am a regular speaker at universities and film festivals (e.g. Sheffield Doc/Fest, Open City Docs Fest, Northern Nights Film Festival, Televisual Intelligent Factual Festival, Broadcast Video Expo). I've served on several film festival juries, including: FD4W International Film Festival, WFTV Awards, Northern Nights Film Festival and TV Collective Film Night at Portobello Film Festival.


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