How To Pitch A TV Show

Let’s talk about how to pitch a TV show so you can become a TV writer.

We’ll compare how to pitch a TV show to how to pitch a movie and look at TV pitch examples.

We’ll also consider the “problem of originality” and learn a process for developing a TV pitch.

How To Pitch A TV Show – Overview

The key to learning how to pitch a TV show is the same as learning how to pitch a feature film.

You need to have a strong core concept.

That’s no surprise, but I want to be clear about this before we move on to the granular details of how to pitch a TV show.

How To Know If Your Core Concept Is Strong

In my experience, the best way to assess the strength of your core concept is to look for patterns in the feedback from potential audience members and at least one Hollywood pro.

In other words, your concept is strong when:

  • You have given the verbal pitch for your TV show to at least ten people in your target audience and they respond positively to your pitch.
  • You have submitted your one-sheet for coverage from a professional reader and received a Recommend.

Does Your Core Concept Resonate With The Audience?

To me, learning how to pitch a TV show requires actually pitching your TV show and finding out if it resonates with your audience (and with at least one pro reader).

Don’t worry about the pilot episode, casting, locations, or even future seasons.

Get the concept right first.

What Is A TV Concept?

Learning how to pitch a TV show means understanding what makes a TV concept different from a movie concept.

Here’s a short pitch template for a movie:

“My story is a (genre) called (title) about (hero) who wants (goal) despite (obstacle).”

I like this formula because it forces clarification of the central conflict. Typically, a story that is clear can be framed in terms of an entity (the hero) that is seeking something (the goal) despite some significant problem (the obstacle).

For a TV pitch, however, you need to add four elements – three are visible and one is invisible.

The Three Visible Elements Your TV Show Pitch Must Have

Your TV pitch must specify the:

  1. Distribution channel
  2. Length of the show
  3. Time slot

This is because TV is actually a much larger medium than film, and the different segments of the world of TV are mediums unto themselves.

This means literally saying whether your TV show is:

  • Cable vs. Network (the channel)
  • Prime time vs. Morning (the slot)
  • Half-hour vs. Hour-long (the length)

Thus, this TV pitch structure:

“My show is a (channel) (slot) (length) (genre) called (title) about (hero) who wants (goal) despite (obstacle).”

Example:

“My show is a cable prime-time hour-long action-drama called Privateers about a group of hackers trying to level the playing field in American politics despite powerful government forces.”

Film pitches don’t need to do this. When pitching a film you don’t need to specify that your film is intended to be a studio project or an independent project, and you don’t need to say whether it’s 90 minutes or 120 minutes.

For TV, in many circumstances, you do.

When Are These Elements Implied?

Often when you say “drama” it implies an hour, and “comedy” implies a half-hour.

But as TV adapts to new distribution channels (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu), more types of shows are evolving, and it can be easy for listeners – especially if they are not Hollywood insiders – to get confused about your core concept.

You’ll want to customize your pitch to the listener when you’re in any kind of pitch meeting.

The Invisible Element Your TV Show Pitch Needs

The one additional element that must be present in your TV pitch isn’t something you say out loud, but it has to be there.

You need to demonstrate the source material for future episodes.

Typically, a deep vein of future source material comes from:

  • Current events (legal issues, police stories – e.g.: The Good Wife, CSI)
  • Historical events (fall of empire, inventions – e.g.: Rome, Halt And Catch Fire)
  • Personal issues (love, growing up, race – e.g.: Friends, Freaks And Geeks, Blackish)
  • Workplace environments (security services, a TV set – e.g.: Homeland, 30 Rock)

Of course, most of these sources can be mixed and matched.

How To Pitch A TV Show – The Problem Of Originality

When you’re learning how to pitch a TV show, you need to consider how original your idea is and adjust your pitch accordingly.

The fact is that your pitch can fail if it’s not original enough – but more often, it fails because you’re pitching it as something which is too original.

The Right Amount Of Originality

Creative professionals (like you and me) tend to value uniqueness and originality.

The desire to do something original stimulates others to innovate, entertains audiences in new and challenging ways, and holds a mirror up to new aspects of our culture.

However, originality scares decision-makers.

To a decision-maker, words like these…

  • revolutionary
  • unique
  • unprecedented
  • breaking new ground
  • completely original

…are code for: “so far, projects like this have never been successful.”

The lesson is this:

The more original your idea, the tougher it is to sell.

The Wire Poster How to Pitch a TV show

How To Pitch A TV Show – The Wire

The Wire is considered by many to be not only the best show in the history of television, but also one of the most original.

Let’s look at how David Simon pitched The Wire and see what we can learn about how to present our most original ideas in a way that doesn’t scare decision-makers.

Lead With a Familiar Context

From David Simon’s original pitch for The Wire:

The Wire is a drama that… will be, in the strictest sense, a police procedural set in the drug culture of an American rust-belt city, a cops-and-players story that exists within the same vernacular as other television fare.

Now, Simon knows how to pitch a TV show. He also knows that he has a new and ambitious take on the genre of police procedural. However, he doesn’t lead with his complex, intellectual ideas about writing a Greek tragedy.

He leads with what is familiar.

Use Comparisons to Give a Sense of Precedent

After Simon establishes the familiar context for The Wire:

…The Sopranos becomes art when it stands as more than a mob story, but as a treatise on the American family. Oz is at its best when it rises beyond the framework of a prison story and finds commonalities between that environment and our own, external world. So, too, should The Wire be judged not merely as a descendant of Homicide or NYPD Blue, but as a vehicle for making statements about the American city and even the American experiment.

This part of Simon’s pitch (clearly customized to HBO), demonstrates that there is precedent for a show like The Wire.

End With What’s Original About Your Project

Only after a familiar context and precedents are established does Simon segue into discussing originality:

…In the end, the cost to all sides begins to suggest not so much the dogged police pursuit of the bad guys, but rather a Greek tragedy. At the end of thirteen episodes, the reward for the viewer—who has been lured all this way by a well constructed police show—is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead, the conclusion is something that Euripides or O’Neill might recognize: an America, at every level at war with itself.

Note that even when Simon finally says the words “Greek tragedy,” he still gives the context of the familiar “well constructed police show.”

Battlestar Galactica How to Pitch a TV Show

How To Pitch A TV Show – Grey’s Anatomy

If you’d like to see the story bible, original pitch, and pilot of Grey’s Anatomy that Shonda Rhimes used to sell the show, I highly recommend Shonda Rhimes’s MasterClass in Television Writing.

Shonda Rhimes MasterClass Review HeadShot“I feel like I’m at the stage in my career, where honestly, I’m interested in building the next group of showrunners and the next group of writers and really make it possible for people to have better careers and know more and learn from any mistakes I’ve already made.”- Shonda Rhimes

I took the class and here’s my detailed review.

How To Pitch A TV Show – Battlestar Galactica

On the other hand, sometimes the problem is a lack of originality.

For example, when Ron Moore and David Eick went to pitch the reboot of Battlestar Galactica, Eick received a suggestion from Bonnie Hammer, Chairman of NBCUniversal:

‘You’re going to have to explain to me again when you come in to pitch this why the world needs another space opera.’

In other words, the space opera genre had become boring (at least to Hammer) and so what was needed was to emphasize originality.

Moore obliged and instead of leading with a familiar context, led with the way in which his project was original.

Here’s an excerpt from his written TV pitch, titled: “Taking the Opera out of Space Opera”

Our goal is nothing less than the reinvention of the science fiction television series. We take as a given the idea that the traditional space opera, with its stock characters, techno-double-talk, bumpy-headed aliens, thespian histrionics, and empty heroics has run its course and a new approach is required. That approach is to introduce realism into what has heretofore been an aggressively unrealistic genre. Call it “Naturalistic Science Fiction.” This idea, the presentation of a fantastical situation in naturalistic terms, will permeate every aspect of our series.

Star Trek How to Pitch a TV Show

How To Pitch A TV Show – Star Trek

Often the issue of originality is especially difficult for science fiction projects because their nature is already to be so different.

The key to learning how to pitch a TV show in the genre of science fiction is to be able to answer this question:

“What are the rules?”

What The Rules Are

The rules are the laws of your milieu, and the basis for why your alternate universe is realistic and believable.

If you know the rules and can explain them clearly to decision-makers, it becomes easier to suspend disbelief and share your vision of a different world.

Different Versions of “What Are The Rules?”

You might be asked questions like:

  • “What are the rules?”
  • “How is this world different from Earth?”
  • “What are the uses of this (device name)?”
  • “How does the (device name) work?
  • “What are the consequences of this technology?”
  • “Where do the aliens come from?”

How Star Trek Did The Rules

Here’s an excerpt from Gene Roddenberry’s original pitch for Star Trek:

Star Trek offers an almost infinite number of exciting Science Fiction stories…. How?

Astronomers express it this way: Ff2 (MgE) – C1R11 x M = L/So

Or to put it in simpler terms, by multiplying the 400,000,000,000 galaxies (star clusters) in the heavens by an estimation of average stars per galaxy (7,700,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000), we have the approximate number of stars in the universe….

So… …if only one in a billion of these stars is a “sun” with a planet… …and only one in a billion of these is of earth size and composition… …there would still be something near 2,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 worlds with a potential of oxygen-carbon life…

… or (by the most conservative estimates of chemical and organic probability), something like three million worlds with a chance of intelligent life and social evolution similar to our own.

Or, to put it in the language of television… Star Trek is a ‘Wagon Train’ concept—built around characters who travel to worlds ‘similar’ to our own, and meet the action-adventure-drama which becomes our stories….

Make Complex Scientific Ideas Accessible

Roddenberry needs to demonstrate a deep vein of future source material.

But he doesn’t just say “a new world each week.”

That doesn’t explain the rules of the Star Trek universe.

Instead, he explains the equation so that his concept seems like a logical extension of the scientific truths of our own world.

In other words, Star Trek can find a new world each week because based on the rules of our world, alien life must (mathematically) exist.

Now, to be fair, the incredibly successful Star Trek franchise has been called out for it’s share of scientific mistakes (as has Star Wars, Dr. Who, and more).

My point is that Roddenberry uses the known astronomical data at the time to make the case for his concept – not only for the future source material, but to place the original nature of the series in the familiar context of Earth’s scientific laws.

Get The Details Right

In my experience, sci-fi fans are smart, knowledgeable about the genre, and care about details.

I believe this is one reason, for example, why Ron Moore took such care with the realism of Battlestar Galactica, and why James Cameron hired a professor of botany and plant science to help design the lush world of Pandora in Avatar.

Respect the sci-fi audiences (and the decision-makers who can greenlight your project) by making your complex scientific ideas accessible and getting the details right in your pitch.

How To Pitch A TV Show – Structure

Let’s go back to the difference between how to pitch a TV show and how to pitch a movie.

Typically, a movie pitch starts with a short pitch (1-3 sentences), then goes into the complete pitch (5-10 minutes) of the three-act structure.

In contrast, most written TV pitches are structured like this:

  • Core concept pitch
  • Show summary
  • Character descriptions
  • Pilot episode story
  • Future season short pitches
  • Future episode short pitches

While each of these aspects is important, as I said, the most important aspect is the core concept.

How To Pitch A TV Show – Process

You may have read my post about how to pitch a movie.

Let’s take the concept from that post and develop it for TV. That way we can illustrate the research aspect of the process which is so crucial to developing the core concept.

Step 1: Draft The Initial Short Pitch

Here’s the initial pitch for the original film idea:

It’s a comedy called Nerd Ops about the National Security Administration’s nerdiest technical people who must become field operatives to save the world from a terrorist hacker organization.

The essence of this pitch is that nerdy technical people become field operatives. Let’s explore how to pitch a TV show with that as the DNA.

Step 2: Identify Possible Genres

Here’s a way to generate ideas for genre descriptions:

  • Go to IMDb.com/tv/
  • Look for produced projects that are the most like your idea
  • See how they are classified

Here are some TV shows with brainy people and field operatives:

  • Burn Notice
  • Covert Affairs
  • MI-5
  • Intelligence
  • MacGyver
  • Nikita
  • The Unit
  • 24
  • Alias
  • NCIS
  • Chuck
  • The Big Bang Theory

Here’s how to note the genre classification:

Suppose I picked the show Burn Notice as an initial point of comparison. On IMDb, just under the title where it says “Burn Notice (2007-)” it says, “TV series – 44 min – Action | Crime | Drama.”

After looking up all of the above projects and noting their genres, it looks like Nerd Ops could be classified as:

  • Action crime drama
  • Action adventure crime
  • Action comedy

Step 3: Identify Length, Time Slot, And Channel

All of the projects we’ve researched so far are prime-time and hour-long except Big Bang Theory. This argues for specifying that this is a prime-time hour-long show.

As for whether it’s more cable or more network, at this point it’s not clear, but there’s nothing so far that seems too edgy for a network to consider, so I would provisionally go the network route.

Step 4: Identify Themes

While I do believe that it’s important for a finished project to have one core thematic premise, at this stage we’re interested in looking at themes more broadly.

Here are some themes that I could see being relevant:

  • Weaknesses can be strengths (and strengths weaknesses)
  • Warriors for the 21st century
  • The brotherhood (and sisterhood) of geekdom
  • Humans vs. machines

Step 5: Identify Structural Elements

Structural elements are aspects of the project which are obvious and relevant but which you don’t want to classify as themes.

Some structural elements of this story could be:

  • The culture of elite hackers
  • The NSA recruiting process
  • “Hell Week” training
  • Powerful supercomputers

Step 6: Build A Table To Hold Comparison Data

What we’re going to do now is build a table full of data.

Set up a table with five columns: Title, Genre, Length, Date, and Pitch.

You can do this in a word processor or use a spreadsheet such as Excel or Numbers.

Step 7: Fill In The Table

First, I’ll search IMDb.com for Burn Notice. I’ll enter the genre and length in my table.

Second, I’ll look for the project summary. I’ll highlight it, paste into a text file to remove the formatting, edit if needed, then cut and paste into my table.

My table looks like this: GIAR Research Nerd Ops for TV Example

Step 8: Look For Patterns

These are some of the patterns I see:

  • Almost all projects are hour-long action, thriller, adventure, drama, and generally “shoot-em-ups.”
  • The only material that is comedic is Chuck and The Big Bang Theory.
  • While most of the comparison pitches hint at the future source material, the pitch for Nerd Ops does not.

Step 9: Develop A New Version Of The Core Concept

This is the part of the process where you, the writer, go into a room by yourself and figure out something amazing.

When you go into the room you have:

  • DNA of nerds becoming operatives
  • Antagonist of a terrorist hacker organization
  • Themes and structural elements (see above)
  • Research on comparable projects

Then, you emerge from the room with a new concept:

Virtuality is a network prime-time hour-long (genre) about an elite group of MIT students who have to save the world by defeating a terrorist hacker organization in a terrifyingly real Virtual Universe containing an infinite number of virtual worlds.

Step 10: Add More Comparison Projects

Now that we’ve got a revised concept, we need to redo our research to help clarify the genre.

We’ve added new elements: virtual reality and multiple worlds.

Based on this, new possible comparisons include:

  • Sliders
  • Quantum Leap
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • VR.5
  • Virtuality (a TV movie with the same title)
  • Disclosure
  • Inception
  • The Matrix
  • The 13th Floor

You can see the full table here: GIAR Research VR for TV Example.

Step 11: Look For New Patterns

Based on the new comparison projects, a common genre is sci-fi action adventure, and common thread is that there is a secret hidden in the virtual world that would have consequences if discovered/let out into the real world.

Step 12: Adapt The Core Concept

After the writer goes and does more creative work:

Virtuality is a network prime-time hour-long sci-fi action-adventure about an elite group of MIT students who have to save the world from a terrorist hacker organization by finding the ultimate codebreaking program hidden in a terrifyingly real Virtual Universe containing an infinite number of virtual worlds.

I grant you, this is clunky, but now we at least have a core concept that works for TV and describes the project accurately.

Step 13: Expand The Core Concept Into A Summary

Again, the writer goes into a room and comes out with:

When MIT Professor MacGivens invents “The Skeleton Key,” a code-breaking program which can penetrate any encryption, before he can find sanctuary with the authorities, he is murdered by the terrorist hacker organization, “The Ten Thousand Suns” (TTS), who promise to release the Key and render all banking firewalls useless.

There’s only one problem – Professor MacGivens hid the Key in pieces inside an immense, multi-dimensional, Virtual Reality (much like the Triforce in the video game, The Legend of Zelda).

The operational division of the National Security Administration, called “The Department,” recruits Professor MacGivens’ five graduate students to help them find the Key before the terrorists do.

Soon, the students realize that they are in over their heads. The terrorists are smart and deadly, and if they die in the virtual world, they go into a coma in the real world.

Luckily, MacGivens stored a copy of his mind inside the VR world, where it functions as a “Hari Seldon” (from Asimov’s Foundation novels) kind of advisor.

Unfortunately, it’s not long before operatives from TTS discover who the students are. TTS attempt tracks and attempts to kill the students in both the virtual and the real world. The students must learn how to protect themselves in both worlds while seeking the Key and outwitting their highly intelligent, sociopathic adversaries.

Step 14: Get Feedback

You may remember that the first point I made was about the importance of pitching and developing your core concept.

Now is when you do that:

  • Take your short pitch and your summary and email it to a few friends who like this kind of TV show.
  • Meet with more friends one-on-one and deliver the pitch and summary verbally.
  • Submit your work in writing to a professional reader and see what he or she thinks. (You can find the consultants I recommend on my Resources page).

Step 15: Draft The “Bible”

Once you have tested your core concept, you’re ready to expand things into a “Bible.”

A Bible includes material such as:

  • Detailed character descriptions
  • Pilot episode story
  • Backstory
  • Future season summaries
  • Future episode short pitches

I hope this post helps you learn how to pitch a TV show.

Any thoughts on the process I’ve described? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Discussion About How To Pitch A TV Show

  1. sifiso jona

    good day i would like to pitch a reality tv show but im not sure whether a drama/comedy tv show and a reality tv show pitch are the same cause my template is not about a reality tv show.

  2. John hall

    Working on a TV pilot about two outlaws amid the unrest in Texas after the passing of the Compromise of 1850. Its titled Death & Compromise and has met with good feedback. Just don’t know how to get it in front of people to get in on air!!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I like the title, John. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in most cases, the writers who get the opportunity to pitch original TV shows are experienced TV writers. Typically, TV writers work on other shows first, build a strong reputation and connections, and then have the chance to pitch their original ideas.

      • KT

        Then how did Sam Esmail get in the room? He never wrote for TV in his life and only had one short and one independent film before he got Mr Robot on the air.

      • Stephanie Palmer

        He wrote and directed Comet which got a lot of notice and a lot of decision-makers are fans. While most TV writers work their way up through the chain of command by working on other shows first, there are examples of writers who have excelled in another medium (eg. playwrights, film writer-directors) and are able to get to pitch original ideas.

      • James

        Hi Stephanie, if only experienced professional writers get to pitch original shows, does that mean the only way to get in the industry at all is to land a gig writing for an existing show?

        If so, how does one get their foot in those doors? I presume one has to have some kind of writing experience, but then that would present the old Catch 22: How do you get work experience if employers only want experienced writers?

      • Stephanie Palmer

        Hi James – Thanks for your comments! These are all GREAT questions! There are other ways writers with little-to-no-experience can break in, including success writing in another medium (like novels, comic books, etc), winning contests and having a unique life experience that aligns with the show being created. Happy to discuss this in more detail with you if you wish. Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance.

  3. Mary Margaret Moton

    We have a TV show and I sell 30-minute segments to small businesses. Do you have any ideas besides the title, genre, core elements, and price? I am looking for venues to market to.

  4. Cecile B.

    I am an established tv showrunner pitching an original TV series (for the first time) to several networks and this is helping me further develop the verbal pitch. So thank you! I have also put together an exciting 3 minute sizzle reel. I was wondering if you have an example on how to write the one-pager? Is it a variation of the verbal pitch? Thanks again!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Sorry that I don’t have a sample to share, Cecile. Yes, it usually is a version of the verbal pitch. Think of it like a selling document. What information would need to included so someone could pass this document up the chain of command (without you there to pitch it) and understand and be interested in the show?

    • Terry M

      Great article Stephanie–most appreciated. Piggybacking of your comment to KT, I come from the world of stage and theater. Been produced nearly 100 times in venues in this country and others. Short Plays, One Acts, Ten Minute Plays and such. I produced and directed as well. Now with an original sitcom series near to finish and hopefully a sizzle this Summer, what would be the best way to leverage these credits? Is it a good idea to contact showrunners and producers that came up from the theatre as well? If so, how? Perhaps a mentor here?

      • Stephanie Palmer

        Hi Terry – Thanks for your comment! Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone with a background in both theatre and TV/film who can offer you individual guidance on all your great questions.

  5. David Nelsen

    Stephanie: I really like your “How to Pitch a T.V. Show” Article. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience! I am in the middle of writing what my Partner and I believe will one of the Best T.V. Shows of 2017! I know you hear that often but we have been working on this project for the last 27 years and the timing and technology are now perfect. Love to share it with you and see if there was any way we could help each other. Let me know if you would be interested. Thanks

  6. Michael Hudon

    I am a US Army Veteran who has written a novel loosely based on my life and background – coupled along side real life issues at the US Mexico border – here in San Diego, CA.

    Tecate Peak traces the ebb and flow, the frenzy and the calm that is the day to day life of Harry Dugan,
    a cop from a family of cops who proves to be the epitome of the old adage,
    “no good deed goes unpunished”.

    I have started the adaptation – but time and money has always been my worst enemy.

    Please visit the Amazon site to read the entire synopsis.
    https://www.amazon.com/Tecate-Peak-Michael-Joseph-Hudon/dp/0578127652

    I really need help.

    God Wiling

    Michael Hudon

  7. Mathew Taylor

    I have a show like American idol and the voice only better. Can’t even get an agent to hear it, just need to get in front of the right person.

  8. Boikai O. Hill

    I am from Liberia, West Africa. I want to pitch a show called “Coming To America” about an African who travels to the United States to attend college. since I am a novice, is it possible to collaborate with more experience and/or accomplished writers to pitch my ideas?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Yes, collaboration does happen. The challenge will be attracting interest from high-level writers as they have lots of projects to choose from, but it is worth pursuing.

      • Melissa

        Hi There, just saw your article (which is fantastic and very helpful!) and am reading the comments. Love your comment here regarding collaboration. How does a novice go about finding a collaborator that is already in the industry? I have no connections and am working on my very first pitch, so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

      • Stephanie Palmer

        Actually, Melissa, as a new writer, you probably don’t find a collaborator who is already in the industry. Those people are looking for each other – not for novices to partner with. You probably work with someone who is at “your level.” This is actually a good thing, and it’s also how the business really works. You find collaborators who are starting out, you bond and grow together, and in the long run, you help each other to navigate the challenges of the business.

  9. SHELL WALKER-COOK

    PUBLISHED AUTHOR, LICENSED ATTORNEY, LIFETIME VIDEOGRAPHER NOW WRITING SCREENPLAYS AND TV PILOTS-SERIES SEEKS MENTOR SCRIPT-STORY EDITOR AND ETC. TO BRING MY WRITING STRUCTURE UP TO NEXT LEVEL. IN RESIDENCE AT UCLA EXT. BUT NEED MORE ONE ON ONE.

  10. Bradley Olson

    I have gone on several websites like yours looking for advice on how to sell a tv show idea and always run into the same problem;every one thinks you want to be a screenwriter.I’m not sure I have what it takes to commit myself to learning the craft of writing for film or tv or whether I’d be any good at it.What I’m interested in is finding out if any of the eight stories that I’ve created over the last 20 years would make for good movies or tv shows.Is the advice you would give to someone like me a lot different than someone who wants to be a screenwriter too?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      One option is to pay for script coverage to get a sense for how your ideas rank amongst the competition. I will caution you though, that screenwriting is a profession and highly competitive. Just like other professions, it takes years of work and practice to be at a professional level. Just like there isn’t the chance to just play quarterback for one professional football game, there isn’t a way to just casually be a professional screenwriter. If you have stories to tell Bradley, I recommend considering writing them as short stories, articles, novels, or other written work that you can control and get out into the world without the barrier of having to pursue a new career.

      • Bradley Olson

        I think I gave you the wrong impression of what I’m trying to accomplish with my first email. I am getting ready to pay a writing consultant an hourly fee not to help me start a new career but first,just to tell me his opinion on whether the only one of my stories that could be a tv show is actually good enough to merit him working with me on it to come up with a compelling logline and a detailed synopsis that might stand a chance at being sold to someone who would find their own writers to move it forward.If my idea,which I’ve been working on since September 2002 ended up just being good enough for him to say it’s good but needs a,b,and c then I would work to make it better so that maybe at sometime in the future I could say to myself that my stories had value to people with informed opinions rather than just me. I have spent 20 years driving 2.5 million miles hauling cars all over the country with no need for music or a CB radio because the 8 stories I’ve kept out of the 100 that I’ve created keep me living in my imagination and except when I get tired I never get bored.I’m 58 years old and I’m not sure that trying to become a screenwriter now is a wise choice.

      • Stephanie Palmer

        That makes sense, Bradley. While I do consult, I don’t do the kind of consulting that you are looking for. Here are some consultants I recommend.

  11. Linda

    Your how to pitch a TV show was very helpful, but I still have a burning question. How do I get the chance to give my pitch to a production company or producer?

    Thank you

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Good question, Linda. TV is developed internally and by established TV writers. There is so much money involved in producing a TV show, that TV producers want to work with experienced writers. Typically, after working your way up on other shows, then you’d have the chance to pitch original ideas.

      • RAHMA MOHAMED

        Hi Stephanie thanks for keeping it real!!! we all think we have the greatest idea since sliced bread… but after actually sitting down and writing my play and potential tv show idea …..it was hard and is still hard to sit down and hope the diaologue flows….im banking on my life experiences to help these stories emerge…. Question how does one get on an existing tv show?

      • Stephanie Palmer

        Getting hired as a TV writer on other shows is a combination of having excellent material and getting meetings with the showrunners who are hiring. A good number of staff writers also started out as the writing assistant or production assistant on shows to start making connections and building their reputations.

  12. A.T.

    Hey there,
    Thanks for this. I currently have a project into a production team/acency which has several established shows. They’ve sent my pitch into 2 networks and 2 other larger production companies. They are waiting for feedback to find out how to move forward. How long does it take to receive feedback typically?
    Thank you for your time 🙂

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Congrats, A.T.! This varies, but generally one week to one month is a normal timeframe to hear a response. Fingers crossed for you.

  13. Marlena Arguello

    I have an idea for a TV show drama about social work. Social workers are typically shown in a negative light. I am a social worker and believe it would be great to see a TV show about every day social workers doing their jobs. I don’t just mean DCFS social workers. But also hospital social workers, social workers in police stations, social workers in shelters, clinical social workers, etc… It would be a great drama and I believe a successful show. I am not a TV writer but I do believe this would be a popular show.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Social workers do such important work and are often unappreciated. Thanks for all that you do, Marlena.

  14. Jackson

    Thank you so much, Stephanie. Very good information and very needed as we form our pitch to a major group! Really appreciate what you shared here.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Glad this was helpful, Jackson.

  15. George Maxwell Hayford

    please could you send me a sample or format of an already written tv show so that i can edit to ssuit what i want to develop? thank you

    • Stephanie Palmer

      While I do not host screenplays on my site, you can find lots of TV show scripts online. I recommend checking out this site which hosts lots of TV scripts.

  16. Inigo Laugermann

    This is great information! Thank you for sharing!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Welcome!

  17. Damarco

    I would kill for a few pages of actual treatments. I have Googled this subject to death, and all I am finding is the same lecture repeated differently. Don’t get me wrong. This is all solid advice. But just as we had to learn screenplay structure largely by reading other screenplays, we can’t have any idea how a treatment works until we see a bunch of them, and lotsa luck finding them.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Damarco,

      It’s true that there are a lot fewer treatments that are shared publicly, however, there are excellent treatment examples on Wordplayer and John August.

      • Katya

        Thank you Stephanie for a great article. I am also looking for examples of treatments. I went to Wordplayer and John August but could not find treatments on those websites. Could you please provide links?

      • Stephanie Palmer

        Here are some examples from ScriptNotes: https://johnaugust.com/2016/outlines-and-treatments

  18. Andrew Bryan

    This is beyond helpful. I’ve done a wealth of research online over the past year on this topic and this is by far the best and most detailed instruction I’ve come across.

    I am not a seasoned TV writer nor do I live in LA, but I do have a finished pilot for an hour-long drama series called “Shepherd” about a Catholic priest who turns vigilante after becoming fed up with the crime and murder plaguing his inner-city New Orleans community. Two years ago, I made a 10-minute concept short that caught the eye of an investor who approached me about shooting a full-length pilot. The hope is that a proof of concept may overcome the hurdle of there being no established names or recognizable faces attached to the project. I never expected to end up on primetime cable or anything, but with there being so many SVOD platforms available now, I thought there may be a chance to land a deal somewhere that would allow further production of the series (maybe not Netflix but one of the lower tier distributors).

    The pilot is currently in consideration at several festivals and we have begun to “shop it around” through various connections. Unfortunately, we just received our first rejection from (don’t want to name anyone) an agency director who asserted that the concept was not original enough for him to set up a meeting with a particular executive we were hoping to pitch to. He watched the entire pilot and though he was very impressed by the writing, acting, and overall production quality, he specifically referenced AMC’s “Preacher” (which will soon air its second season) and said that the vigilante clergyman narrative is overdone.

    I told him how I was aware of Preacher before we shot the pilot and tried to stress its differences, in that Shepherd was more serious, true-to-life, urban, gritty, and featured a black male lead and predominantly black cast whereas Preacher has a more rural setting and is largely a dark comedy set in a supernatural, over-the-top comic book world. In fact, my high concept explanation was that it is Preacher meets The Wire (a huge influence and one of my all-time favorites). However, he simply reiterated that it is still not original enough.

    It was refreshing, to say the least, to read your section about using a familiar context because I feel like that is what I at least tried to do. But where do you draw the line? Is my concept too familiar? I certainly don’t plan on giving up after one rejection, but I know I am in uncharted territory here and I don’t want to keep driving towards a dead end. Do you think there is any hope for Shepherd? If so, do you have any advice on how I should revise my particular pitch going forward?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Congrats on getting funding and shooting a pilot, Andrew! Both of those are very challenging milestones and you have surmounted them. Without seeing the pilot, it’s hard to give specific advice, but you are smart to pay attention to the feedback you receive. One data point (even from a VIP) shouldn’t be taken as the gospel. Instead, you want to look for patterns in the feedback you receive as that will show you what may need to be changed. Keep showing it and if you consistently hear the same feedback, it may be time for a re-edit or other adjustment before you continue marketing the project.

      • Andrew Bryan

        Thank you for the response! I’d love to share the pilot with you if you’re interested in watching it and giving your own feedback. Unfortunately, I can’t post it on this thread since we’re in consideration at several festivals and sharing it publicly may disqualify us. But if you don’t mind emailing me at shepherdseries@gmail.com, I can respond with the link.

  19. Marylyn Brooks

    Hello! Thank you soooo much for providing this great info!
    My company started out as a publishing company- printing and distributing books that I had written and illustrated, then I moved into creating , designing and manufacturing products based on the characters in my my books. I began writing a treatment, script and story boards for a television show based on the same brand of characters. I am currently still very heavily involved in the apparel retail side, however, I have interest from a network associate who is pressuring me to send her my pitch deck. So I am rushing to complete it today, even though I know nothing about pitch decks 🙁 my question is; should I include the books and retail products in the pitch ?
    Thank you so much for your time and wisdom ! You are a truly amazing individual and I respect you so much for the work you do ! <3
    Warmest wishes and respect,
    Marylyn

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Marylyn, Congrats! It sounds like you have some fun projects in the hopper. Is the pitch deck to use to try and get financing? If yes, then assuming there is potential financial upside with the books and retail products, I would include them. If you are just pitching the story, I don’t recommend using a pitch deck and I wouldn’t include the retail aspects– just focus on the story.

  20. Squeaky moore-white

    Great information regarding the invisible elements to a pitch. Thanks

  21. Braydon Jones

    How old do you have to be to pitch a tv show? Is there an age limit at all?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      No age limit, however most people who sell TV shows have experience as TV writers or producers on other shows first.

  22. Musto Pelinkovicci

    I have actually shot the Boris Comedy Pilot and am now editing a trailer to submit to TV Networks and Cable. Boris is about an old fashioned Eastern European single dad who denies his teenage son and daughter every freedom that their American friends take for granted. It’s hilarious comedy. Would like to find someone who can get it in the right hands for it to be seen and hopefully get picked up for a regular half our series.

  23. Daniel Santana

    Hi Stephanie,

    I found your document very useful and insightful.

    I did have a few questions in regards to structure for pitching an animated series.
    I wrote a script with a colleague a while ago and had the opportunity to pitch it to a couple of studios here in Canada. The script was for an animated feature film and in the pitch a lot of the elements you mentioned were included. Both studios showed interest however, the first one ended up passing because they had three films already slated for the next few years and the other one had a project in development that would have been somewhat in competition with our proposal.

    The head of stories for one of the studios recomendad that the universe we had created for our film proposal was vast and interesting enough that would be served better as a serial and that maybe we should take this approach. We are currently developing a new pitch document for a tv show based on these recommendations and so far most of the elements you recommend here have been addressed. I have also been able to attach a director and a production designer to the project who have a very strong reputation in the TV animation industry both in Canada and the US.

    So the question is how far should I go in terms of my pitch document. We are drawing concept art and sketching some preliminary character design to include in the Bible to help ilustrate both the nature of our world and the look of the show. Is this something that could work against my pitch? Is there more to the bible on an animated show based on the fact that the style of animation, look development, etc, would affect the final product?

    I know this is not the usual way projects are pitched but based on the directors connections and some connections of my own we are actually getting some traction for future pitching opportunities and I want to have a documents that exedes expectations while staying within format.

    Sincerely,

    Daniel

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Daniel,

      Congrats on the progress you’ve been making! That’s terrific. There isn’t a specific requirement when it comes to animated pitches so you have some leeway. I have seen a number of different kinds of presentations work based on the creator and the type of show being pitched. A word of caution is that any visual pieces that you include should be absolutely top-notch as decision-makers are generally used to professional calibre (expensive) work and anything that isn’t at that level can be dinged for being “amateurish.” Sometimes, it is more effective to describe the look but let the decision-maker imagine the best representation of the idea in their head.

  24. Assistant

    I am currently an assistant in Hollywood (hoping to someday be an executive), and would love to hear more about what types of questions you (or any executive) might be asking in a pitch room or if there is a general “guideline” on how to analyze or listen to pitches?

  25. Christina Martinez

    I just have an idea for a show I don’t want to necessarily be the writer I just know it would make for great tv. It is like a “Last Man on Earth” type of comedy show, but for the audience of “Superstore.” I just want to pitch the show is that something that is done in this industry.

  26. Jacob Bowen

    Hello, I’m aspiring to be a show writer in animation for teens and young adults. I wanted to know how exactly I’d be able to apply to certain tv networks in order to later make my own pitch. I aim to make a darker more violent action show that dwells on self identity and discussions of mental disorders and don’t think that cn, disney, or nick would want to endeavor in something of that sort. I was thinking possibly adult swim, but still don’t know how to apply.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Jacob. TV shows are generally developed internally and they don’t accept pitches from writers without established credits. After you have experience writing on other people’s shows, then you would have an opportunity to pitch original ideas.

  27. ANTHONY HALL

    i OWN NINE SCREENPLAYS (6 MOVIE, 3 COMEDY SITCOM EPISODE SCREENPLAYS) AND OVER 50 TELEVISION AND MOVIE PITCH CONCEPTS. i’M LOOKING TO PITCH THEM TO FILM AND TELEVISION EXECUTIVES. MY ASKING PRICE FOR EACH IS LISTED BELOW ATTACHED TO THIS EMAIL. i KNOW EVERY ARTIST FEEL THEY HAVE THE NEXT BIG HIT, BUT i’M SURE THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY WILL BE MORE THAN IMPRESSED WITH MY SKILLS AS A WRITER AND PRODUCER ONCE THEY HAVE REVIEWED THE GENIUS OF MY TALENT. i JUST NEED THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOWCASE THEM.
    ANTHONY HALLS’
    SCREENPLAY CONTRACT REQUEST

    COMPENSATION PAYMENT
    – Anthony Hall (Screenwriter) is seeking $100,000.00 for each of his 9 screenplays: (6) Movie Screenplays, (3) Comedy sitcom episode screenplays and for his 50 movie and television pitch concepts as well.
    – 2% of all profit royalties after the initial purchase, with no cap on royalty payments.
    – 8% of net profit of the initial purchase of the picture’s revenue.
    CREDIT
    – Anthony Hall (Screenwriter) must be granted credit to movie masters.
    – Anthony Hall (Screenwriter) must be granted right to retain promotional copies of picture.
    – Anthony Hall seeks full / partial creative control.
    – Anthony Hall seeks Executive Producer / Producer credit.

  28. Kal Victors

    can someone help me with a copy of a profession tv programme proposal so that i compare with the one i have made. i want to compare and see if my proposal is good enough to push me through. the proposal i have writen is about a entertainment and celebrities’ show

  29. aggie gold

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am in the process of writing a TV Sitcom treatment, and although I feel it’s for women, men, teens, all nationalities, how do I word that in a paragraph on Demographics? Are demographics even important in a treatment?
    thanks
    Aggie

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Demographics are important and it would depend on your show, but in general, focus on the core audience who will really love it. To a decision-maker, a show that’s “for everyone” often means it’s “too unfocused and probably for no one” and further that you don’t understand your audience. Think about the fans- who will be your shows superfans?

  30. kelly

    hello. I am working on pitching a tv series a romantic drama. I am having a hard time coming up with a pitch to send out to production companies, I would really like your advice on how to go about it. thanks

    • Stephanie Palmer

      What’s your main challenge, Kelly?

  31. Kyrila Scully

    I want to pitch a TV show to a religious channel. It will be a forum of women in a “book club” setting to start and then progress into crafts and cooking and reports of community outreach and as credits roll, we’ll see them gathered around a buffet table of healthy snacks and beverages chatting socially with each other. It will be a diverse forum of women discussing issues important to women, in regards to their personal relationships with God, each other, their husbands, children, extended family, church family and community. It will be a template for women’s ministries to start their own similar forum in their home churches. Any ideas on how best to pitch this to a denomination specific cable channel?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hmm. This is a complex and difficult question to answer. My one instinct here is that finding a comparison/precedent for your project will be key. I wonder if you’ve seen Jon Favreau’s old show, Dinner For Five? Could be something to consider.

  32. Angela Sawan

    Hello Stephanie,
    i Have come up with an original idea of a reality TV show and prepared a real Pilot, written the bible so far.
    My questions are:
    1- How do I go through with identifying potential investors being Production firms ? Cable networks? how do I present the idea? who should I target?
    2- Can i target multiple investors together and study my options ? or should I go by one by one and move on by elimination?
    3- How do I present? should i send the package? or should I pitch live to decision makers?
    4 – is there any NDA and rights legal document that i need to make them sign before hand? where can i find this document?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Stephanie Palmer

      My recommendation is that you read/listen to everything you can by Joke and Biagio.

  33. Gregory D.Sansing

    First of all, thank you so much Stephanie. Your in-depth article here has finally made sense of the steps I need to take. However, I noticed there was no advice for a show that’s animated, which is the direction I want to take.
    Do you have any tips for pitching an animated television series that could prove overwhelmingly useful?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks for your kind words. However, I’m not enough of an expert on animation because I haven’t worked on any animated projects.

  34. Paul R. Schweitzer

    Hi Stephanie: I have what I believe is a great idea for a home show (cooking, decorating/style, simple DIY projects, entertaining, parents and kids projects, organizing, etc.) for television. Its originality lies in the background and real life experiences of the proposed host (me). I have a diverse background and unique blend of qualities, and a lifestyle that reflects a fresh and growing perspective on, and aspects of modern life. I have begun writing a treatment, and am planning to collaborate with my sister, who works in the industry (although as a stage manager and assistant director, not a writer), to try to get my proposal in front of the right people. Her show has won many Emmy awards in its genre. She also freelances. I am thinking my show is a one-hour cable show. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions for me? Do you think collaborating with my sister is a good idea. Thanks so much for your great article, and for your consideration, Paul R. Schweitzer

    • Stephanie Palmer

      A lot will depend on your experience hosting – and the number of people who would tune in to see you (your platform). How can you establish and communicate your credibility as a host? That’s the key question. Or, would you be open to producing the concept and working with an established host (e.g. Property Brothers, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, or other established DIY host).

  35. Heather H

    This is great. Thank you! Once your have the pitch and bible ready to go, what are the best ways to get pitch meetings? (This seems to be the one piece of information that is difficult to track down. :))

    • Stephanie Palmer

      It’s not a direct line. You need to be networking, writing new material, and learning how to access your network at the right time. Keep in mind that new writers sell feature specs every year, but in TV, only established writers get to pitch original ideas.

  36. Rory

    have a tv show ideal for stations like HBO, Netflix, etc…but it is hard to describe

  37. JAM Shakwi

    My team and I have created a bible for our original dramatic series. We also have a strong proof-of-concept sizzle reel, I’d like some direction in regard to the package cover letter. Please advise.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I wouldn’t use a cover letter because I wouldn’t send it to anyone you don’t know. If you’re sending it to someone you do know, call first, ask them if they want to see your work, and if they do, then the cover letter can be simple, e.g., “As we just discussed….”

  38. Anvi Srivastava

    I read your article and thought it was very helpful and am thinking about pitching an idea. The problem is that I’m only 15 and don’t have any connections. Is there any way I could get my idea out? Thanks!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I’m not aware of opportunities for high school students (though they may exist), but this is the perfect time to start making connections. I am still close with some of my friends who I did plays with in high school and there are lots of other students whom you could meet who might have similar interests to you, Anvi. Good luck!

  39. Valerie

    Hi, Stephanie – I own one of your programs (thanks!) and am getting a lot out of it. I’ve been invited to have a general meeting with a TV channel’s acquisition team – it’s my first “meeting.” I have what I think is solid writing cred and a pilot script that would be appropriate for the channel (2nd draft – still early for me), but also a body of shorter work that would be good for the channel’s tone & web content. I’ve been struggling with how to best to focus my prep and how best to start talking about my work (after your recommended small talk, etc.) Any advice for me? Many thanks!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Congrats! And thank you – as for my advice, especially in this first meeting, focus on building rapport and developing the relationships. Be likable, be interesting and interested. That’s the top priority. Second priority is to work on that one sentence that defines your expertise that someone would be able to remember and pitch to someone else after you’ve left the room.

  40. Stephanie Arapian

    Just wanted to say thank you for compiling this! The Imdb research spreadsheet and re-working of the pitch examples were especially useful. Thanks again!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks so much!

  41. Jacob Paile

    Good day, I would like to pitch for a talk show that will run for an hour, that show will involve both medium visual aid and medium aid for chosen organizations that will team up for such initiative. I wrote proposal down but I haven’t approached any of the organization that I want to pitch this concept to-I want to find if my proposal makes a business sense before sending it to the preferred production with proposal on how this will work going forward. It is an hour show that I guess has a quality on its own but I want know if would this be possible if being taken forward.

  42. Proposal Structuring – Official-Workbook

    […] Example taken from goodinaroom.com […]

  43. AL

    Thought of a reality show reminiscent of how the show Cheaters is presented but this one is to locate parents of children who have unreasonably refused the other parent contact with the kid(s) after the breakup/divorce.

  44. Alex P.

    Hi Stephanie, I’m a high school student in Junior year and thank you for writing this article. I found it really helpful and it gives me a lot to think about. I have an idea for a show, animated. I have the name of it down, and a lot of characters that I personally think contribute to the plot.

    I’ve been talking about the synopsis of the show with a few of a my friends and have gotten positive feedback so far, I’m thinking about talking about the synopsis with my teachers as well. I want this show to entertain not only kids and teenagers but I also want it to be able to draw the attention of adults and keep them interested.

    The show in itself is kind of basic, these three teenagers inherit a great responsibility that was passed down from their parents. With only one relative left to guide them they have to learn to fight the oncoming darkness while trying to keep normalcy within their teenage lives.

    At a point in the show I would introduce a character that adds to the story, knowing more about the threat. And with that knowledge and the introduction of new characters forced from their world the main three begin to understand how serious their mission is and start to wonder what their parents did to stop the darkness at first, or if they were actually the ones to bring it forth.

    I have a lot of ideas and I’ve been doing a bit of world building as of late, to give a story for the parents and their role in unintentionally spreading the darkness.

    I have a strong passion to get my idea to be a show, but I have to ask, where would the best place be to start for something like this? But either way I have taken a lot away from reading this so thank you so much either way!

    If you see this thank you for reading this long winded comment, and have a nice day/night

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Great question, Alex. TV and film are different, and within each medium the animated part of it is different. Take a look at How To Become A Writer For TV, and remember 1) that TV shows are aimed at niche audiences – I recommend focusing on an audience of kids OR teenagers OR adults – and 2) it takes writing a lot of shows to get good, so keep writing.

  45. Shant

    Super useful breakdown of tv series bible’s Stephanie and loved the step-by-step approach, which makes things a lot easier. Is there a template you’ve been using that you recommend?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I haven’t used Studio Binder, but I’ll check it out.

  46. Josh Thomas

    The Office, Parks and Rec etc seem to a have cinematography treatment as well as environment as core. People relate to these. Next character development in the sandbox seem to be in 3rd spot. Character development is critical but is it character interaction with each other character within the environment, then cinematic treatment. Cheers had a bar, the office is a paper company, mash had a tent,

  47. R

    Hey Stephanie,

    Your article and this website is a gold mine. I am a first time writer for a tv show and the reason I’m attempting this is purely because of an idea I believe could make an interesting travel show. Yes, that’s right! I’m attempting to write a show based on travel however I am unable to find any material on the internet that could guide me to write one. My question – could you help guide me on how to write a pitch for a travel show?
    Your help and guidance will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. 🙂

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I recommend researching the many travel shows that are on the air to see if you can find their original reels, pitches, or other documents. It’s amazing what you can find with some effort. Start building your list of all of the travel shows that you like or that are in any way similar to the show you are envisioning. Good luck!

  48. Lights, camera, action! – Eliska Peskova

    […] of pitching in front of three media professionals. To prepare for it, I read several articles like “How to pitch a Tv show” and  I knew I have a strong concept because I have already presented it to several people from the […]

  49. Andy

    great work, author

  50. Erin

    Greetings Stephanie,
    Thank you for writing such a great article. My husband and I created a sizzle reel for a new reality television show, but don’t know how to get it in front of producers or networks. Do you have any suggestions on how to shop it around and how we keep our idea safe, so no one can take it without our permission?

  51. Jon

    I have written a spec script of the television show “Family Guy”. I would like to know if I send it in to a scriptwriting contest, would I be able to write for that particular show or another comedy show based on the strength (if it has any) of that particular script. I took a look at a produced script for “Family Guy” to get the format and the characters. I have also written a pilot script for a new show I have created. My question is: Should I wait until I get feedback from my spec for “Family Guy” before I send in the pilot for the show I have written?

  52. ransford lawrence

    good day i would like to pitch a tv show

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Lawrence,

      Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance.

  53. Thomas Crawford

    Are there any available examples and/or templates for “The Bible” element you describe above – specifically for Pilot episode story, Backstory, Future season summaries and Future episode short pitches ???

    Thank You !!!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Thomas,

      I’m fairly certain that the bible for THE WIRE is available online. You should be able to find several other series bibles online as well. I’d recommend a search term like “TV series bible pdf.”

  54. James Grmim

    Hello Stephanie,

    Thank you for a great article. Would there be any differences in writing a pitch based on a trilogy? I have completed one and a half books of the trilogy when I decided to start writing a pilot episode and treatment.

    If you have any tips related to how to mention the books, or things from the books, I would be really grateful.

    Thank you.
    Jim

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your email! I’d recommend figuring out how your trilogy could be structured as a series. Does one book equal one season (as it was with GAME OF THRONES for its first several seasons) or is there enough material to expand it further?

  55. Billy Jean

    I’m confused. If, as you say , you’re best and only chance of pitching your TV show comes when you’ve had substantial TV writing experience, then what was the point of this article? My guess, most readers are not equipped with substantial TV writing experience, and the tone of this article reflects as much.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Billy Jean – Thank you for your comment. Due to the vast amounts of TV now content needed, the prospect of writers with minimal TV writing credits selling a show through a pitch has increased, though it is still rare. Those writer “newbies” who do sell their pitch are then often paired with experienced showrunners or producers or the pitch is developed within a production company so that it can be taken out with higher-level attachments (producer, director, cast, showrunner, etc).

  56. Keisha Greaves

    Hi, I am looking to pitch a tv series to either LifeTime network, TLC or any stations who would be interested. I am looking to do a series of me and my friends people who have disabilities and I want to videotape us in our everyday lives living with disabilities going out to drink, party having fun, dating and letting people know not all people with disabilities are at home being sad but like to have fun and enjoy their life. I have an idea what I want the video to be, and the scenes and where I want to tape but I would like to know what ia the best approach, what should the footage be, anything else I should submit besides videp footage?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Keisha – Thanks for the comment! Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance.

  57. CHRISTINE HANF

    Starbucks drama. Enough said. You won’t be able to turn it off!!!!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Go for it, Christine!

  58. Sachin thakar

    I have a story to tell about what has happened to me in recent times there is a lot involved

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Sachin – That sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance.

  59. Rhenon Williams

    I’d like to pitch show ” She’s doing it “. About a woman who went to prison several times and has come out to the “real world “. There are so many elements to this its never ending. Since leaving, I’m dealing with life as a felon, life as a recovering drug addict,I have to deal with reality of life. My son was shot execution style by a police officer and I watched it. I got married after and it’s a huge struggle.
    It would be about tackling issues of being a felon in this society, issues of mental illness, losing everything over drugs and crime, and I believe one big issue is that in 2014 my only son was shot and killed by a police officer. Yes the media had their side, actually everyone had something to say. I personally was there through it all.
    So basically what I’m pitching is life after going to prison, getting clean and staying clean and out of the drug world, while maintaining a mentally stable life.
    I’m also in the middle of working with Senators and congressional leaders to make it MANDITORY for any on duty officer to wear a chest cam that they cant turn off.
    Basically it’s about the daily fight of a ex convict who is changing her life daily while tackling issues that matter ALOT right now to our society.
    I truely believe it would be captivating, as well as showing struggles we exconvicts have on a daily basis.
    I know it would draw a wide range of audience because of all the issues involved.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Dear Rhenon – Thank you for sharing your incredibly harrowing and inspiring story. If you are interested in finding out how to adapt it into a TV series or film, please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance.

  60. Will Hart

    I am very thankful that I found your informative outline. My biggest problem is still putting my concept together. I have the audience; the idea; the main on-screen talent or face of the show; pretty much the production crew and basic equipment to video tape and edit it as well as the reasons why it can and will be successful. The money to get the pilot is now where I am focused and going to go to a major sponsor to help get me started. Note because of my audience; I want to offer it through a streaming vehicle, but still do not know which is best for my potential audience… Anyway thank you for your help. Will

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Will – Thanks for your comment! Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance and help lead you through all of your questions.

  61. Quinn King

    I have a great idea for a sitcom reality show on ordinary people working hard to get ahead.
    My Family!!!! Two daughters supporting themselves with great jobs and finishing college with children in school doing great things and the other daughter just had a baby alone working and in school working for an oil company that will not hire her until she has her Bachelors Degree but will work her bunnies off as a contract employee!! I am Mom, and I live with one of my daughters and help with the kids and work full time and teach them to be silly while Mom works hard at teaching the proper way to behave.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Quinn – Thanks for your comment! That does sound like an intriguing idea. Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance on how to develop it into a tv/film project.

  62. Joshua

    First and foremost, these have been great posts — I appreciate them! (and you). Quick question, in a series bible — specifically a one hour western drama, how important are visuals? (after having all the necessary components of a series bible of course). Specifically, vision/mood boards and such to give the reader an idea of the aesthetic.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Great question! I covered this topic in a post you can read HERE.

  63. James Vaughn

    This is great info! Very clear, detailed, organized and accessible. However I see two missing elements that I expect most would-be “pitchers” will also be concerned about:

    1) How do we *approach* a network/studio/etc?

    – More than just how we find the right person to submit our pitch to, are there other considerations about how we approach them that can make the difference between success and failure?

    2) How do we (unknown, unpaid, would-be professional writers) ensure the network/studio exec doesn’t just run with our ideas on their own without crediting us?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi James – There are no guarantees that executives won’t steal your ideas, but overall, this is fairly rare. The best way to try to prevent it is to make sure you register your material with the WGA along with keep an email accounting of who you sent it to, etc.

      Your first question is something that’s better discussed person-to-person. Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance.

  64. Lauren

    I’m looking to pitch a TV show to History Channel. How would I go about getting ahold of the right people to pitch the show to? Who do I contact to try to pitch the show to?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Lauren – Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance.

  65. download pdf

    Hello just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let
    you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve
    tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks so much for the info. We’re on it!