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Old 09-18-2018, 08:27 PM   #1
Script Curmudgeon
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 67
Default Pitching a Concept Only

I have written quite a few features but recently came up with a documentary-style reality TV concept (words I never thought I would utter). I went ahead and wrote up a logline and a two-page synopsis but, the thing is, I know nothing about the television side of the business.

I have searched the DD boards and haven't really seen an answer to this: Can you pitch and sell a television concept based only on a premise?

Since this is for a documentary style show, I can't write up a couple of sample scripts or a bible. I am also outside of Los Angeles and, while I've had a couple of options, none of my features have been produced.

Any thoughts or experiences would be greatly appreciated.


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Old 09-19-2018, 10:32 AM   #2
KitchonaSteve's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 451
Default Re: Pitching a Concept Only

Disclaimer: This is not my area of expertise.

However, I do know a few people in the reality space, or at least people who were in the reality world. You are correct that most of these shows are sold with just the concept and maybe a sizzle reel. Documentaries are hot right now with Netflix and HBO leading the way. I have seen producers on who take reality pitches. The other way to go is to find a prodco or two that produces similar types of shows and pitch them. The danger here is that you can't copyright ideas, so theft is a possibility with reality concepts more so than other genres of TV.

The other possibility is to do it as a podcast if that's feasible with your concept. That gives you a proof of concept and IP.

Sometimes there are ideas that are good to great ideas, but are so far outside your wheelhouse that they're just not worth pursuing. It's tough to give up on a great idea, but do you really want to put in the time and energy to learn that form or gain a foothold in that end of the industry?

Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

-Steve Trautmann
3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:06 AM   #3
Script Curmudgeon
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 67
Default Re: Pitching a Concept Only

Thanks, Kitchona. All great points. I appreciate the insight.
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