Let’s talk about how to pitch a reality show to Hollywood.
Reality TV is a different world and it takes different strategies to succeed.
How To Pitch A Reality Show
Reality TV shows are almost never purchased on the basis of an idea alone.
To learn how to pitch a reality show, you need more than an idea – you also need to prove that you have the talent and skills to execute that idea.
That’s a pretty high barrier to entry (which filters out the non-serious people).
How To Pitch A Reality Show – 3 Steps
So, if you are serious about learning how to pitch a reality show:
- Make yourself and your team look attractive to potential buyers.
- Learn how to pitch a reality show using the five magic words.
- Produce a 2-5 minute promo reel (aka “sizzle reel”) of your concept.
A 2-5 minute promo reel demonstrates your concept and your ability to execute the concept.
Fair or not, there are thousands of people who are either learning how to pitch a reality show or are actively trying to sell reality TV shows.
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 reel, you can contact reality TV companies.
How To Pitch A Reality Show – Pro Tip
If possible, partner with an established reality TV producer.
If you don’t know how to pitch a reality show, or 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.
How To Pitch A Reality Show – Sizzle Reel
The Producer’s Guild Of America posted a helpful article from Dan Abrams, Supervising Producer of The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie, about how to make a sizzle reel.
- 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.
How To Pitch A Reality Show – Warning!
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.
How To Meet Reality TV Producers
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.
How To Start Developing Your Reality Idea
If you have an idea for a reality TV idea, but you aren’t sure where to start, I recommend experienced reality producers Joke and Biagio (Snapped, Caged, Beauty And The Geek, Scream Queens) and their podcast Producing Unscripted: Make Reality TV Shows And Documentary Series.