Help me make a TV show~!
March 17, 2008 8:36 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to shoot a TV program. How can I package and sell this germ of an idea?

My brother owns a classic car. A bunch of car-owners will make a cross-country trip in their cars in about three (3) weeks. I think it will be a bunch of 60-ish people stepping back into a bit of back-roads Americana.

How can I package and sell this germ of an idea?

I am a professional TV cameraman, can take great video and sound, but I don't know how to put something together that can make some $$$.
posted by DickStock to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1. Find other shows with a simlar look and feel, probably airing on cable.

2. Figure out what makes them work and why yours will work just as well.

3. Find out who produced them and contact them with your pitch. You need a phone pitch to get past the gatekeepers and a written pitch you can send them.

4. Rinse and repeat.

Bear in mind that what drives all shows of this kind are CONFLICT and JEOPARDY. Without these you don't have a show. The conflict and jeopardy can be of the most trivial kinds ("Will we make it to Abilene before we run out of gas? What will Elmer do this time if we break down?") but it has to be there. Most of the art of making these kinds of shows is manufacturing conflict and jeopardy and stringing it together into a coherent narrative.

If this sounds a bit daunting, it should. There is no shortage of ideas in TV. There is a shortage of ideas which perfectly meet the budgetary and scheduling requirements of the networks.
posted by unSane at 9:27 PM on March 17, 2008

As unSane says, you need a producer. You might be able to find someone local who is interested in working on an idea like this. I'd suggest delving into your address book and seeing who you can scare up through your professional contacts. That being said, I think a three week time-frame is far too short, even if you got an experienced producer involved tomorrow. These sorts of things are planned months in advance, and they tend to require more prep than you can imagine.

But my real advice to you is to join the road trip, bring a camera, shoot as much footage as you can, and try your hand at directing a documentary. And as a side note, turn your television to basic cable -- Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, TLC -- and watch as many of these sorts of shows as you can find.
posted by incessant at 11:22 PM on March 17, 2008

Two thoughts:

- Sell the idea before you shoot the event. That way, if you *do* find someone interested, you can tailor the footage to the buyer's needs and edit the documentary to suit. If you're a professional cameraman, you may already have connections that can help you market this to the right people.

- Or, don't try to make money with this one. Shoot it and edit it and use it as a sort of demo-tape to help you take the next step up the career ladder. You can always show your finished product on public access cable or internet.
posted by OilPull at 7:26 AM on March 18, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for your imput.

I was hoping some idle TV producer would see or hear of the post and swoop down and rescue me.

I am astounded at how quickly this question was "buried" by more recent questions. Just got lost in the blizzard, I guess.

I am taking your advice. It's too soon before the trip. To do it well would require more time, $, and maybe assistance. And I don't really like working on "spec".

FYI, it's a trip down historic Route 66 by a bunch of Corvette owners. I would require a 'chase car' and driver at the very least.

All the best.
posted by DickStock at 7:32 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

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