This is an interesting question but hey, I thought I might as well ask. I do a lot of weddings and am doing a lot more commercials now but would love more than anything to have a full running show once a week on tv. I have more drive and ambition than I know what to do with but I'm having problems creating initial ideas. I thought I would see if anyone had ideas. What show concepts do you currently have going in your market that are working well and attracting an audience? Any other thoughts or suggestions are welcome...for a good sized market (300,000 pop.)
Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate all the info I get from this site and the great people that use it!
I find that people are only ever really committed to and are sustained in the crunch by things they are passionate about or really believe in. Money often is far down the list on what keeps a person going in the fire. I said that as while it may seem a good question to ask others what they are doing that works for them, I would ask you: What do you love? What are you passionate about? What story do you have to tell that you wish you could tell and that you think about most of the time?
If you have something like that, then seek out those in your area that share that story and see what you can do together to bring it to fruition.
That's where I would start. But hey, that's just me. I am sure that others here have their own and better ideas.
I agree with Ron. One thing about choosing the passion over the pocketbook though is this: don't let your love of the material blind you to the real marketability of the idea. That is, something that's too far out will never be successful, no matter how much you dig it personally.
I would add that the classic approach is to find an unserved or underserved niche market and exploit it. Find what is being done badly, then do it better, put a fresh spin on an old trope. That's what Alton Brown did, and his "Good Eats" show is probably the best cooking show out there. He started much like you or I; a video producer. He thought existing cooking shows were appalling. So he went to cooking school, learned his facts and technique, then made his own show his own way. Big success, I'm a huge fan.
You never know what the local market will go for. MST3K was once just another cheesy local monster movie presentation on a local TV affiliate. But it was so inspired and clever it took off big time.
I have a soft spot for programs about local color, history, culture, as well as locally produced original drama. One that is pretty good produceed by my PBS affiliate is called "Prarie Fire". I wind up learning somethign aboutt he local towns and history I never knew every time I watch. There are some great playwrights and actors in my town and I'd love to produce videos of their plays a la Playhouse 90.
Something else I'd like to work on is a science fiction radio drama podcast; low expenses, high production values and good writing and performances. Eventually, maybe I'd lay computer animations over the audio and send them out again.
These days broadcast may not be the cutting edge anymore; seems all the cool, relevant, avant garde stuff is all happening online with video blogs and video podcast sites. Partly because it's way cheaper. But also because it's more accessible to a wider audience. Your local cable access show a la Wayne's World would hit a few thousand homes and only a fraction of those would watch it. But when the audience is worldwide and distributed by internet, even a point-one-percent market share is millions of eyeballs. While most of the stuff is really just old fashioned broadcasting on a newer platform, the advantages of pointcasting, asynchronous serving up of the shows on demand, and the interactivity with the audience are all making this into it's own medium as it progresses.
Once again, I have to concur with Mark. I wasn't saying to eschew all interest in profit for the pure art of passion -- that's an expensive ticket to the poor house.
What I was saying and hope to clarify here, is that if you only do a thing because you hope to make money from it, it will likely not sustain you when the going gets rough. If it is something that you love and are passionate about, you will likely persevere when have to pass through the fire.
Like Mark, I love our local history here in central California and have read and learned so much about it that, one day, I know I will create a show about our history and while it won't make a bunch of money, I'll love it. I will get grants and sponsorships from local longtime families who want to preserve their family's place in the local history, get corporations who want to be good corporate citizens, etc., etc., and in the end, while it will take a lot of work, I know I will do it and make it work. Why? Because I am a good storyteller and when I get going with some of the stories I know that are drawn from the local area here, people often ask me where I learned these things and are very drawn into the story. Being a big tourist area of California, we sometimes overhear tourists in the local restaurants talking about things and Kathlyn and I introduce ourselves and tell them stories in which they often are completely engrossed in the tale. I always tell Kathlyn that we're "test marketing."
If you love something, you tell the story well; if you don't and are just doing it for the money, not only does the commitment lack if a test phase comes along, but you also often come off stiff and mechanical in the story/idea itself.
Think about the ways that you can draw people with money into your passion but don't forget that the story/idea is the primary -- if you do that, the money often just follows.
[Mark Suszko] "Something else I'd like to work on is a science fiction radio drama podcast; low expenses, high production values and good writing and performances. Eventually, maybe I'd lay computer animations over the audio and send them out again."
This is exactly the thought I had in mind when the options on a few of my scripts ended and the rights reverted. My biggest problem right now is not the skill sets needed - I've done the "theater of the mind" gig for radio and re-purposing the 'casts as "anime" is also doable. I just don't have the time to devote to it plus costs vs. R.O.I. at this time.
The second and largest hurdle for me is the business plan. Is 'cast penetration deep enough yet to make an advertising model? How does it pay its way? Netcasting is still shaky - do eyeballs make purchases or are they just "looking?" And at 10cents a click or 29 bucks a quarter can you make back your nut, especially if it's your whole nut and not just CODB? That's what really keeps me from doing my own netcast.
It seems like a brave new world right now, with endless possibilities at cut rate prices. So it would seem.
I really think that ship is about to sail. You might catch it if you get to the dock a.s.a.p. and have your boarding pass and content ready. Right now, its a game that still can be played by anyone with the spare or dedicated time and at least short pockets. But as sure as "video killed the radio star" the media/telecom congloms are embracing the new technology and its profit-rich environment.
As always, the adult industy blazed the trail. The buisness model used by adult sites, offering a mix of speeds, quality and delivery for a mix of subscriptions and fees is raking in the dollars with mimimum capital outlay. This has caught the attention of the mainstream, especially the folks at Disney. If the puryeyors of pleasure can do it, so can the purveryors of news, sports, infortainment and spectacle. And at volume rates.
Is everybody paying attention to the so called "Net Neutrality" hearings?" In scenarios being profferd by ISPs, Cablecasters, Congress and the FCC, better quality products will get charged a higher fee for both up and downloading of content. Other schemes will allow the service providers to create a tier system of fee driven quality or prioritization of delvery. Can you as a producer afford the channel and can your audience afford to download it? That is the future...as soon as the telco lobbyists out bid the cable lobbyists.
[Mark Suszko] "These days broadcast may not be the cutting edge anymore; seems all the cool, relevant, avant garde stuff is all happening online with video blogs and video podcast sites."
Brodcasting may have heard its death knell when ABC-Disney announced they had tried "free netcasting" of primetime product and delared it was good (profitable). For terrestrial stations that means when the US hits 51% DSL penetration HIC(households with internet/connectivity, forecast to be sometime in 2008 or 09), the major broadcast networks will have as much, if not more access to the home, via satellite and broadband, then they do with over-the-air distribution. And "affiliate compensation," "co-opted spots", and "net generated-local revenue" will be gone - that cash used to power the new technology. And with that, many stations will go dark.
Cable that already isn't in the mix with broadband will die so there goes that venue as a access oportunity. The telcos aren't about to get caught up in the "providing local O" issues and the cable franchisees aren't going to get stuck with it if the telcos don't. The prevailing attitude will be, "You want access? Buy into a server farm with a backbone, build content and charge a fee to offset costs."
[Mark Suszko] "While most of the stuff is really just old fashioned broadcasting on a newer platform, the advantages of pointcasting, asynchronous serving up of the shows on demand, and the interactivity with the audience are all making this into it's own medium as it progresses."
But it's still production by experienced people, with compelling visuals and sometimes compelling stories that's going to be profitable. Not Ms. Wayne's fifth period advanced media class. I mean, as much as I like Ms W's class and admire the spunk, the amature hour is just that and my attention drifts and the channel clicks.
I don't want to see crapanimation on my big screen or the latest cinematic manefesto from LaFe, the 14 yr old hip-hop wannabe - I'm paying enough for a fast stream as it is.
As a consumer, I'm going to want at least the T.V experience if not the Theater experience. Consumers accept crap now, because it's oh-so-new - but they'll tire of amature/low cost-low quality content. Just look how many cinemas are still making bank showing 16mm in oleophonic sound since 70mm Dolby-THX, even with compelling stories. Or check IFC's viewship numbers on households using cable. It's a write off for the parent - something you nor I (not to mention Ms W. and LaFe) can afford.
Factor in the brave new concept of paying to view it. Sooner or later all content will be charged back to the consumer - by speed, fees or subscription - and it becomes an issue of getting what you pay for. Even as we speak, the GAO is investigating the costs of legislation and enforcement vs. revenues for a screen licensing scheme. Those fees will impact PC and e-appliance screens as well - content can be played out from anything. And yes, the CEA and EIA are screaming...but look at how little success they had against the RIAA.
The brave new world (plus fees, if any) will be the same as the old one; for $206.99 a month, basic, you'll have access to 1,126,254 channels and nothing on. The bulk will be the Networks (remember them - they're the content owners) providing content to the ISP's, most likely in the same manner as they do with cable franchises today.
Out of the remaining 1,101,064 channels, 96,072 will be Spanish, 7,226 will be sports related including bat cams, hat cams, car cams, puck cams and crotch cams for 482 premieum niche sports related networks. 5,263 channels will be offering eBay auctions. 2,345 will be set aside for education, 762 channels for public access.
The rest will be porn.
Thank you for your input. I didn't mean to make it sound like or come across like I was just looking for a way to make money because that isn't the case. My first passion is actually my work. I'm one of those crazy people that just love to do work and projects and have an extreme satisfaction when completing things like that. I definitely love what I do! I was merely throwing the idea out there as to look for something bigger, more challening...to accomplish something that I haven't done yet. Obviously your comments would apply to that too and I will definitely take those and run with them.