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If you have an idea for a TV show, streaming platforms offer some of the best options for gaining exposure and opportunities. But before you bring your idea to these platforms, you need to know how to properly execute a pitch.
What is a TV Show Pitch?
TV shows don’t emerge out of thin air. Even in the era of independent streaming platforms and increased opportunities for exposure, entertainment executives are choosy about the content they serve their audiences. The first step to convincing them to consider your show is to deliver a compelling pitch.
“A television show pitch is a comprehensive document that includes a logline (or ‘elevator pitch’); the ‘bible,’ which provides a rough outline of where your series will go in the first season; and a completed pilot script,” MasterClass.com explains. “Some pitch documents may vary in their contents, but all should give network executives or production companies reviewing the pitch an idea of the show’s core idea, as well as a sense of your writing style.”
Most streaming platforms have a formal process that’s required in order to pitch them. And while they may have their own unique pitch formatting, they’ll usually look for some combination of a logline, series bible, and pilot script. Knowing how to master these elements is vital to your success.
6 Tips for a Better Pitch
Pitching is hard work. You’ll get turned down 99 times out of 100. But it’s the search for that elusive 1 out of 100 opportunity that keeps you going. Here are some helpful tips to increase your chances of securing a streaming platform deal:
As is the case in most industries, it’s all about who you know (not what you know). While there are usually “front door” methods of pitching a streaming platform, you’re better off leveraging a connection and coming through the “back” or “side” door.
- Gather Feedback and Proof
In addition to pitching your idea, you want to show streaming platform executives and decision-makers that people actually like your idea. The best way to do this is by gathering feedback from hundreds or thousands of people.
There are plenty of ways to gather feedback, but a Net Promoter Score survey (NPS survey) is arguably one of the most efficient options. Consider showing a trailer to people and then asking them the simple question: “How likely are you to recommend this show to a friend?” Answers follow a 0-10 scale. If you get lots of 9 and 10 scores, it’s an indication that your show has legs. You can use this to further support your pitch.
One of the biggest complaints streaming platform executives have with pitches is vague and generic concepts. If you want to set your show apart, you need to tighten things up. You can do this by asking yourself questions like:
- Is this concept actually unique and original?
- What makes this show’s world/characters unique?
- Am I showing viewers something they’ve never seen before?
If the answers to these questions are “no,” you need to tighten the concept up. This can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it’s necessary.
You can come in with a killer idea for a show, but if you only have one season planned out, you’re dead in the water. The decision-makers want to know that you have plans for at least two or three seasons worth of content. If nothing else, this indicates that you have vision (something that’s required in order to produce or direct a successful show).
- Research the Streaming Platform
Spend time researching each streaming platform you’re pitching. You should know the names and faces of every decision-maker in the organization. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the current content on the platform (especially shows in your niche or style). Watch as many of these shows as possible to be informed about what type of content they find valuable to their audience.
Practice makes perfect. Once you have a pitch, practice it over and over again. You should practice it so much that you can recite the words in your head when you fall asleep. This level of familiarity will give you confidence when you go into the actual pitch.
Putting it All Together
Let the tips and techniques outlined in this article sink in. Heed the advice, but avoid being overly robotic. In addition to the show’s concept and direction, streaming platform executives are studying you. They want to invest in creatives who have personality, leadership skills, and vision. Communicating your strengths as part of the pitch will go a long way toward your success.