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Greenlit: Developing Factual/Reality TV Ideas From Concept to Pitch – Recommended Resources

Greenlit: Developing Factual/Reality TV Ideas from Concept to Pitch reveals how to get an idea for a documentary or non-fiction/reality television series such as Touching the Void, The Apprentice or Supernanny from concept to commission and explains why having a great idea is not enough. Candid interviews with fifty top industry insiders – including international […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest: Through a Current Affairs Lens by Charlotte Fisher

The first time Charlotte Fisher went to Sheffield Doc/Fest, in 2011, she was a total novice in the world of documentary making. She was a TV news reporter making a switch to factual programmes and although she’d made current affairs half hours, this was another world. In 2015 she went to the festival as a journalist, going to seminars and watching films; getting an overview of the whole festival. But she was also taking an interest with her other hat on, as a freelance producer at an independent production company.

Greenlit: Bangkok Airport, BBC3

Bangkok Airport (6 x 60′) – Bangkok airport, the gateway to South-East Asia, is a thriving, bustling hub of excitement and anticipation, of pale arrivals to tanned departures and everything in between. BBC Three has gained unparalleled access to all aspects of the airport in this thrilling six-part series which sees young Brits passing through to […]

Greenlit: Russell Brand: Give It Up, BBC3

Russell Brand: Give It Up  (1 x 60′) – Following on from his critically acclaimed documentary From Addiction To Recovery, Russell has spent the last 18 months finding out more about addiction treatment around the globe, and investigates how we might best improve treatment for addicts in the UK. The film sees Russell concentrate on […]

Ten Reasons Not to Pitch Your Independent Documentary to Funders

All filmmakers have ideas. All filmmakers want to see those ideas realized. But not all filmmakers will do what it takes. Why not? Fear. A quite rational fear, as it happens, but fear nonetheless. Here are some of the objections you might be using to comfort yourself as to why no-one will help you make your idea and so what’s the point in trying? I’ve added some suggestions of how to overcome these stumbling blocks whether they are practical or psychological. Add your own tips in the comments or via @tvmole on Twitter. (Photo by dryhead CC BY 2.0)

How to Make Your Commissioning Editor Fall in Love with You

It’s tempting to believe that getting your idea commissioned begins and ends with a good idea. YOUR idea. But sadly, that’s not true. What gets your idea commissioned is a relationship. More specifically a relationship with a commissioner. Even more than that, a relationship with the RIGHT of commissioner, that is the one with whom you have good chemistry. So what if you aren’t fortunate enough to have fostered the right relationships? The best way might be to move house and get your kids into the same school as the target of your desires and nobble them at sports day. Failing that, there are some things you can do to make yourself more attractive to a commissioner during that all-important first meeting/reunion (should you be lucky enough to engineer one). (Photo by PV KS CC BY 2.0)

Funding 101: Funder Profile – Film Agency Wales

In 1970, a young British director Michael Grigsby made one of the first films about veterans returning home from the Vietnam war – the critically acclaimed and award winning I Was a Soldier. In forty years the funding landscape has changed enormously. I Was a Soldier was made for Granada Television in an era when films could be pitched with one sentence and funded by one broadcaster. One glance at the credits of We Went to War shows just how different things are today. (Photo (C) Rebekah Tolley 2011)

Greenlit: Stand Up to Cancer, Channel 4

Stand Up to Cancer – Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK are joining forces to launch Stand Up To Cancer in the UK. Television, music and film stars will come together in October in a new national fundraising event to galvanise the public in the fight against cancer. The on-air season will build over a […]

Development and Pitching 101: Getting the Greenlight

So you’ve pitched your idea and a channel has expressed strong interest in commissioning your documentary or series. Congratulations! But you aren’t home and dry just yet. There are still many things that can go wrong before you sign on the dotted line. Click through to find out how to avoid falling at the last fence. (Photo by U-g-g-B-o-y-(-Photograph-World-Sense-) CC BY 2.0)

Development and Pitching 101: How to Write a Nonfiction TV Proposal

Once you’ve developed your idea you need to commit it to paper. Although you might be itching to pitch your idea verbally, the process of writing it down can really help to flush out the flaws in your concept.

Although the pitching process often starts with a conversation, at some point you will need to submit a proposal, or longer treatment, before a contract agreement can be made with a channel so they can see exactly what they are committing to. And having a detailed written proposal creates a paper trail if you ever feel your idea has been ripped off. Click through to find out where to get sample proposals. (Photo by jm3 CC BY SA 2.0)

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 […]

How to Get Your Idea on TV as a Truly Independent Producer

Alom Shaha is a factual TV development producer who has started pitching his own ideas independently, and raising the funding to make his films himself. His latest film is an ambitious 360 multiplatform project that asks, “Why is Science Important?” He proves that an individual can get a project off the ground (in less time than going through the usual channels) and maintain editorial control. (Photo by *USB*)

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)

How to Increase the Impact of Your Documentary: The How and Why of Narrative Structure

Catalin Brylla is an editor and media lecturer who believes film theory has much to teach TV documentary makers. Over the next few weeks he’s going to present a number of different ways we can structure factual programmes in order to engage the audience through better storytelling. In this post he introduces his approach, which is based on Bill Nichols’ documentary modes. (Photo by quartermane under CC 3.0)