If you’re not going to write your show, who will?

I was chatting with an actor friend of mine the other day. She has a lead role on a show on the Sci Fi Channel and she is planning to pitch a show idea of hers to the Executive Producer. She told me she has the Pilot half written and has begun work on the Bible for the show.

She then told me she plans to pitch the show to him before she’s done writing it because she feels “she can pitch it better than she can write it”.

“What if he likes it?” I asked.

“Waddya mean? That would be great.”

“If he likes it and wants to take it to the Broadcaster what are you going to do then?”

“Well that’s what I want.” She replied.

“Yes , but what is he going to take to them? He can’t send them you. If he likes your pitch he’s going to ask for some material on the show; whether that’s a synopsis or a written Pilot he’s going to want something that he can send to them. And if you don’t have anything for him to send, he’ll simply see you as someone with a neat idea but who wasn’t willing to do the work to get a show made.”

“So I have to write it all out.” She said, with a kind of defeated tone.

“Well it’s your show. If you won’t write it, who will?”

I’ve met a lot of people who are pitching but aren’t prepared for the step after a successful pitch, and that step is: Executives wanting to know more about your show, thus Executives beginning to discuss your show.

And the first thing that’s going to happen in those Executive discussions is questions are going to get asked. If the Exec can’t answer the questions about what an episode looks like, what the first season looks like, and very importantly, what a second season looks like, they aren’t going to take it up the ladder, because every single time a show idea gets looked at those are the questions that get asked.

When you’re building your show and you want to take a shortcut, or ignore a piece of the puzzle because it’s too hard to work through, or too hard to figure out, just ask yourself this question, “If I’m not going to write who is?”

And the answer will always be the same.

“No one.”

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2 thoughts on “Who Will Write It?

  • November 21, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for a great and informative post. When one pitches a tv show does one need a script? What is the role of the script in getting a show on the air– can I pitch just the idea/concept? Thanks again. rose ellen

  • November 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Excellent question! Keith and I just finished a podcast on this for our membership site. Since we’re a couple months before we are accepting new members, I’ll give you the synopsis.

    If you write the script it will prepare you to answer any and every question about what happens in your show. Writing the script will also show you if you’re missing any key elements such as stakes in the story.

    Having said the above, you do not generally submit a script to an Executive when pitching your show, you pitch the idea/concept.
    Hope that helps!



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