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)
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)
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
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.)
Tribes: from documentary to reality in ten steps.
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.
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.
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.