We all want to keep creative control when we sell our shows. And chances are we’re not going to get to. Not yet.
If you’re in a position where you’ve sold or given away creative control of your show because that is what the Broadcaster said you had to do, you’re miles ahead of where you were when you started,and, there are a few thousand people who would LOVE to be in your place…so let’s talk about what it looks like when you have to hand over your baby to a stranger.
But first let’s answer the question “Why do we want to keep creative control anyways?”
Answer: “Because nobody knows our show like us and we don’t want the Execs bastardizing our vision. And if it’s good enough to make it this far it’s good enough to be on TV.”
Unless you have other show ideas that have been made into actual TV shows you will likely end up with no creative say in your show once it has been picked up….which is not necessarily bad.
Remember three important facts:
1. You have a great idea for a TV show, but it is still only an idea.
2. This company actually makes TV shows, so they probably know what they’re doing.
3. This company that makes TV shows wants to make your idea into a show!! They’re not in this to screw it up. They want to succeed! They want this show to be the one that knocks American Pickers off the top of the heap. So maybe we should try not to get in the way.
You have to buy into that. You have to be able to trust, because if you can’t? You will drive yourself, the company, and everyone else around you nuts.
We just shot the demo for my show and it is in post-production right now. I haven’t heard a peep from them about the edit, except for thoughts on how I would say certain things so they can write my voice-over correctly.
And that is the one exception to the “You’re not going to have any say in anything” rule. If you are an expert on what the show is about, you will get a little bit of say in things. Then they will most likely have you look at scripts. “Is this how this would be said? Is this fact true? What happens in this situation?” You get the point.
But, they will NOT be asking your opinion on how the show is cut or on what direction it should take creatively.
I worked on my show for 6 ½ years. And we’ve shot the demo that the Broadcaster asked and paid for, and it is now completely out of my hands.Does it worry me? It could, but I don’t let it.
I’ve seen the shows this production company and Broadcaster make (because I’ve done my research) and they make good TV. I’ve seen the work the post-production Supervisor has done (again – research!!) – it’s great and the work the EP does at the Broadcaster is great as well so why the hell would I want to jump in and say to these people, “Uhm…maybe we should do it this way.”
So the only worry I have to get past is that it won’t be exactly like I envisioned. But you know what? That’s fine because my vision was only borne out of a good idea. Their vision is borne out of a good idea coupled with years of making television. And I think that’s a problem worth getting used to.
So as you go forward remember to make your show as thorough as possible, not leaving anything to the imagination. And that way, when you hand your baby over to the Execs you are giving them as much as of your vision as you possibly can.
And that, my friends, is all the creative control you’re going to have for now – which again, is a hell of a good problem to have.