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Greenlit: Tattoo Nightmares, Spike TV

Tattoo Nightmares – Real people with really bad tattoos seek the help of some of the best cover-up artists in the business to fix them.  The tattoos range from hilarious to downright disturbing, with reenactments that will show how these people wound up with their awful, ugly and embarrassing ink. The contestants will go under […]

Greenlit: Blood, Sweat and Luxuries, BBC3

Blood, Sweat and Luxuries (5×60′) – Six young British people travel to Ethiopia, Madagascar and Ghana for an eye-opening insight into the human cost of the manufacture of luxury goods. Channel: BBC3 Producer: Ricochet TX: April 2010 Source: Broadcast

Greenlit: Sliced, History

Sliced –  Documentary series that reveals how objects work by cutting them in two. Channel: History Producer: Powderhouse Productions TX: 2010 Source: Cynopsis

Greenlit: American Pickers, History

American Pickers w/t  (10x ) – Docuseries about expert antique hunters Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz who travel the back roads of America looking for treasures. Channel: History Producer: Cineflix Productions TX: 18th Jan 2010  UPDATE: The premiere a total of 3.1m viewers – History’s highest premiere since Ice Road Truckers. Source: Cynopsis

Greenlit: The Children Who Fought Hitler, BBC4

The Children Who Fought Hitler (1×60′) – which tells the forgotten story of a heroic battle to help liberate Europe from the Nazis fought by the children of the British Memorial School. The school served a unique horticultural community of former-First World War soldiers and their families who tended the war graves in Ypres. Channel: […]

Greenlit: Stacey Dooley’s Child Labour, BBC3

Stacey Dooley’s Child Labour w/t (2×60′) – Former shop assistant and Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts contributor, Stacey Dooley, is to get her own two-part documentary that explores the issues around child labour in Nepal and the Ivory Coast. Channel: BBC3 Producer: Ricochet TX: September 2009 Source: Broadcast

Greenlit: Restaurant in Our Living Room, Virgin 1

Restaurant in Our Living Room ( 8×60′) –  Hell’s Kitchen meets Come Dine with Me format in which two couples have three days and £500 to set up a restaurant in their home. They open their homes to the public, asking the diners to pay what they think the meal is worth. The couple that […]

How to Write an Arresting Tagline: Quiz Answers

Last week, we looked at loglines – where you boil your concept down into one succinct, hooky sentence – with a fiendishly difficult quiz. As promised, here are the answers (click on the headline to go to the answers). Remember, the first thing your buyer will look at is the title, so the logline should complement and build upon it, so they get an instant feel for the tone and content of your programme. Give yourself a point for each one (and subtract five if you failed to get no. 6 correct).

If you didn’t do that well, you can console yourself with the thought that the loglines weren’t doing their job properly.

And, as ever, feel free to share, tweet or comment. (Photo by ♠ le max)

How to Write an Arresting Factual TV Tagline: A Quiz

When you are selling factual television show, whether you are sending an email, writing a proposal or pitching in an elevator, you need to capture the attention of a buyer within seconds. The best way of doing that is to boil down your concept into a single succinct sentence that captures the essence of your programme, suggests the content and makes your commissioner want to know more.

A successful logline (aka tagline or strapline) looks deceptively simple and obvious, but they are fiendishly difficult to devise; and you need to have thought your idea through thoroughly in order to do it right. That means a lot of work, but you knew that, right?

The best way to understand loglines is to look at what other people have come up with, so here’s a quiz to get you going.

I’ve given you 20 taglines that have been attributed to factual TV shows – can guess which show each one refers to (I’ve removed the actual name of the shows in a couple of instances)?

(Photo by Nick J Webb)

Developing Factual TV Shows – How to Get the Best Out of TV Mole

TV Mole is now six months old and has grown hugely, so I thought it would be good to look back at some of the best articles and signpost how you can get the best out of TV Mole – whether you’ve been here since the beginning are are just dropping by for the first time. You’ll find 350+ potential ideas ideas for new programmes, information on 97 TV channels in the UK and USA and a range of resources to help you successfully develop and pitch your nonfiction TV ideas.

Read on to find out how TV Mole can help you generate new ideas, write a punchy proposal, research potential buyers, pitch, and engage with your audience.

(Photo by blmurch

http://www.flickr.com/photos/blmurch/ / CC BY-SA 2.0


Greenlit: Madhouse, History Channel

Madhouse w/t (13x ) – Follows the drivers and fans of racing on a Winston-Salem, NC race track. Channel: History Channel Producer: Triage Entertainment Source: Cynopsis

Help – I’ve Been Asked to Develop Some TV Ideas But I Don’t Know What to Do!

Have you been put into a TV development team for a few weeks but don’t know where to start? Don’t panic. Here is an easy (some might say cheat’s) guide to developing TV programme ideas, fast. All you need to get started is the TV Mole website, which will give you everything you need to […]

TV Proposal Writing Lessons from George Orwell

When writing a proposal for your TV show, you have to impress your commissioner, right? Wrong. You need to communicate to your commissioner exactly what you’re proposing as succinctly and clearly as possible. And that means cutting out long words and jargon. Less, in this instance is definitely more. And that’s because your proposal has […]

Greenlit: Prison Wives, Investigation Discovery

Prison Wives (13 x60′) –  This series introduces women who have fallen in love with and married a prisoner behind bars.  It examines the compassion and selflessness behind these stories of love, however unexpected.  These unconventional families provide audiences a look inside prison life and what keeps these relationships together, for better or worse, richer […]

The Surefire Way to Stop Your Brilliant TV Idea Being Stolen. And Five Better Suggestions.

Here is a guaranteed way to make sure no-one steals your idea: Don’t tell anyone about your idea. Ever. That’s is. That’s all you need to do. Unfortunately this strategy has a major drawback – if you don’t pitch your idea you will never sell it?  And what’s the point of that? There is always […]

Six Ways to Allay Your Commissioning Editor’s Fears and Sell your TV Programme

You might think that all you need to get your TV programme commissioned is a good idea. Not so.

Assuming you have a really good idea, and have sprinkled it with fairy dust for luck, it is still unlikely that you will get your idea commissioned. Why? Because your commissioner is scared. They’re scared of commissioning a programme that might fail. And failing programmes put their jobs on the line. Which makes it your job to allay those fears and make it easy for them to say yes.

Here are six fears you need to address in your proposal and pitch. (Photo by Kables)

Greenlit: House Crashers, DIY Network

House Crashers – Contractor, Josh Temple (Ex- America’s Toughest Jobs) surprises people in the DIY Store and offers them a free home-makeover. Those that accept have Josh and his crew descend on them for a couple of days to redo their living room, kitchen or bathroom. Channel: DIY Network Producer: The Idea Factory TX: Late […]

Greenlit: Pitchmen, Discovery

Pitchmen – Infomercial hosts Billy Mays and Anthony “Sully Sullivan” meet small inventors who have invented the next potential must-have product, and help them to find a market. The inventors and their inventions are followed from boardroom pitch to the filming of an infomercial. Channel: Discovery Producer: Original Productions TX: 15 April 09 Source: Cynopsis […]

Where to Pitch Your Idea (and Avoid the Commissioners)

Pitching is a bitch. Especially when you are just starting out. There seem to be so many different channels, all of them with closed doors.

But do you actually need to pitch your idea to a TV channel? No. It depends on your motives for pitching. You might think that the only reason to pitch your ideas is to sell them, but depending where you are in your career, there may be different reasons for pitching, and cleverer ways of pitching. (Photo by heiwa4126)

The Secret of Finding Fabulous Free Photos For Your Television Proposal

A well-chosen image makes your proposal stand out. It helps communicate the tone of the show and allows the commissioner to visualize how the programme might look stylistically. The finished show won’t look anything like your photograph, but at this stage you are in the business of seduction – and you wouldn’t put a ropey photo on your online dating profile. Would you..? (Photo by anarchosyn under Attribution-Share Alike CC)

Interview: Me!

Ruth from Ruth Trying Truth blog asked to interview me, so here goes: 1. What is your website, TV Mole, all about? It’s all about inspiring and informing factual TV Development – in other words, helping TV professionals and aspiring filmmakers to originate, develop and pitch their ideas. There is ‘Be Inspired’ section to help […]

How to Write a Proposal a TV Commissioner Will Actually Read

Commissioning editors can receive up to 80 programme proposals a week; few will be read from start to finish.

Many commissioners never read past the first paragraph, or even the title. On average, they make a decision within 40 seconds. Usually that decision results in the proposal being filed in the bin.

So how can you make sure a commissioner keeps reading to the end of your proposal? Here are ten ways to make your proposal stand out and keep your commissioner reading to the end.

Six Pitching Lessons from the Dragons’ Den

Dragons’ Den: Success From Pitch to Profit, is a book that profiles the dragons and examines case studies of people who have successfully or unsuccessfully pitched in the den. If you read it with your development head on it has a number of lessons that can be applied to the development and pitching of factual TV programmes. (Photo by e-magic.)

How to Turn One Subject Area into Ten Programme Ideas

Tribes: from documentary to reality in ten steps.

Field Guide to Factual Formats that Sell

A drama series is easy to recognize and categorize, but factual programming is more difficult to define. Different producers, commissioners, channels and countries use different names to describe the same thing.

15 Steps to Writing an Impressive Non-Fiction TV Proposal

Your written proposal is possibly your first – maybe your only – shot at impressing a commissioner so it’s important to capture their attention for the right reasons. Take the time to get it right.

Seven Reasons a Commissioner Will Reject Your Idea

Your commissioning editor needs to be reassured that you have the necessary skills and experience to make the programme you are proposing or they will reject your idea, no matter how good it is.