Have a great idea for a reality TV show? Want to learn how to pitch reality TV shows?
How To Pitch Reality TV Shows
Despite what you might read in other places, reality TV shows are almost never purchased on the basis of an idea alone. However, there are lots of reality TV production companies that are looking to purchase reality TV ideas, assuming you follow the expected submission guidelines.
If you are serious about learning how to pitch reality TV shows, here are three steps:
1. To sell a reality TV show idea, make yourself and your team look attractive to potential buyers. Reality TV attorney Richard Jefferson has negotiated many reality TV show agreements. He shares specific tips about what is required to pitch and sell a reality TV idea.
2. Learn how to pitch reality TV show ideas using the five magic words. Experienced reality TV show producers Joke and Biagio (specials and pilots on A&E, The CW, Biography Channel, NBC, CBS, Discovery, E!, IFC, Logo, Oxygen, Style Network, VH1 and MTV) share the five words you must know to successfully pitch reality TV shows.
3. Produce a 2-5 minute promo reel of your concept. A necessary component of any project is your ability to produce that reality TV show idea.
A 2-5 minute promo reel demonstrates your concept and your ability to execute the concept. Fair or not, there are thousands of people trying to sell reality TV shows and the only ones who are taken seriously are the ones who have invested the time and developed the skills to actually do the job. When you have produced a compelling sizzle reel, you can contact reality TV production companies.
4. Partner with an established reality TV producer. If you haven’t sold a reality TV show idea before, the factor that will make the biggest difference in whether you sell your reality TV show idea is if you can attach an experienced reality TV producer. Focus on finding a producer who has credits in a similar genre to the show you want to pitch.
Beware of any reality TV production company or service that charges fees to submit ideas. Established reality TV producers do not charge fees to consider reality TV ideas.
Here’s a helpful article from Dan Abrams, Supervising Producer of The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie. This article series is from the Producer’s Guild Of America.
Part 1: Why Make A Sizzle Reel (Oh, and, er, what’s a sizzle reel?)
Part 2: Turning Your Great Show Idea Into An Effective Sizzle Reel
Part 3: Making The Sizzle Reel
Part 4: Using Your Finished Sizzle Reel
Here’s an example of the reality TV sizzle reel for Myles Of Style on HGTV:
If you’re looking for a legitimate conference to make connections and learn from established reality TV producers and executives, check out Reel Screen Summit and National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE). You can download a complimentary copy of the 2014 NATPE Pilot Bible, provided in partnership with Variety Insight, to access a complete guide to the new group of broadcast shows including the specific producers on each show.
If you have an idea for a reality TV idea, but you aren’t sure where to start, I recommend the podcast Producing Unscripted: Make Reality TV Shows And Documentary Series for excellent free advice about how to pitch reality TV show ideas.
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