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getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.

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dale
getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
by
on Jan 9, 2007 at 12:23:51 am


I have a brilliant idea for a show but i have no idea about how to even start to get it off the ground. I work in the local media as a freelancer in brisbane oz but the show has more of an international appeal to some parts of asia and limited parts of the rest of the world.

Im after some advice on what to do. i have no idea where i might even start and im fearful of sharing it and then the idea being stolen.

any advice on anything is very much appreciated.
dale...


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tony salgado
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Jan 9, 2007 at 4:05:27 am



I regret you cannot copyright an idea at least not here in the USA.


Tony Salgado


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Mike_S
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Jan 9, 2007 at 11:46:50 am

1. Most ideas are pretty much like other ideas ... is it really different?

2. As the man said, you can't copyright ideas.

3. What you can do is work up your idea in as much detail as you can - specific detail which might work to make your show special (unique seems unlikley!) - and put it into written form.

Then you perhaps need to research producers / prod cos in your area of interest, and approach them with a minimal "teaser" and try to get a meeting - that's a hard stage. Why would they see you ...?

Then see a lawyer and get a confidentiality agreement / non disclosure agreement for your chosen producer(s) to sign before you go into detail with them on the show. Hard sell ...



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Tim Wilson
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Jan 9, 2007 at 2:03:33 pm

[Mike_S] "What you can do is work up your idea in as much detail as you can - specific detail which might work to make your show special"

That, to me, is one of the two keys. That's the "what." The other key is to lay out as much of the "how" as you can before you begin. Good ideas are easy to come by. The skill and the will to pull it off are another thing altogether.

Ron Lindeboom loves to tell people how to build an online community just like The COW, revealing every detail of everything he's learned along the way.

(Hint: it doesn't take money. Kathlyn and he started with nothing. Twice.)

He begins every retelling by saying, "I don't mind telling you exactly what to do, because I know you're not going to do it."

Now, if your idea would be easy for anyone to do, you might need to spend a little more time on preparing, so that you're at least ahead of anyone else who tries.

Finally, as David Bowie said, it's not who gets there first. It's who gets there second. He was talking about rock stars wearing makeup (Marc Bolan of TRex was first, but we remember Bowie), but I think the principal applies...with the additional proviso that doing it best counts for something too.

Tim


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Mark Suszko
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Jan 10, 2007 at 4:15:24 am

Dale, chances are it has been thought of before, perhaps in a different context, or you're putting a different spin on it. The execution of the old idea in a new way is everything.

I have a good laugh with my wife every Friday. I had what I thought was a can't-miss idea for a documentary show. I described it to the wife, in loving detail. Over weeks I had worked out a lot of it in my head as recreation during the duller bits of everyday living and whatnot.

She heard out my pitch, said: "that's the STUPIDEST idea for a show I've ever heard of, NOBODY is going to watch that except for a handful of nerds like you. You mean to say there's an audience willing to hear doddering old nearly-dead ex-pilots blather on thirty-forty years later about a 2-minute combat they had, while you fill-in around them with computer animation of planes shooting each other? Rubbish!"

"Dogfights" airs on History Channel in the U.S. every friday night, around 9 PM Central time. It's everything I imagined my own version was going to be, except they recap too often and too much after breaks, and are a little too Jerry Bruckheimer-like with the excessive head-on-into-the camera and close-passes-that-shake-the-flying-virtual-camera shots. But otherwise, it's the same show I would have pitched to Discovery Networks, had I an inkling of how to go about it. I was afraid to share it for a long time in case someone else would "steal" it. Obviously, the guys that do the show had the same idea, and likely before I did.

Had I actually got up the stones to DO something with my show idea, I would have had to start raising some operating money to shoot a demo or pilot program, done some test animations of the dogfights and some final renders at show-quality, and gotten enough pre-production planning and interviews and the like going that I would have a great advantage over anybody else that wanted to "steal" the idea and get it out in the marketplace first. Then I'd start trying to get heard by the development people at those networks, to pitch them the idea and see if they'd let me put a package together with them. I'd have needed a good entertainment lawyer as well as maybe an agent for that. many times you do all that and find out their in-house team is already in developmenton something like it. Other times they want to buy out your idea and run it themselves, and there's not a lot you can do about it, if they change it sufficiently to be able to call it "original". NDA's are good to try, but might just as often kill a deal before it's even born, if they refuse to sign.

I chickened out, I'm too poor and tied-down with responsibility to get started on any of that, so I gave up on the risks and heavy burdens of pursuing that idea, then started sharing it with a friend or two here and there. They all said it was a HELL of an idea, THEY'd watch it. But the wife never liked it, and I set great store by her everyday every-person sensibilities. She was absolutely right in terms of a mass audience in the traditional sense, but we both had no idea how many history/military/aviation nerds there were for our potential audience. Obviously with narrowcasting on cable networks that cater to them, there are plenty enough to base a show or two on! :-)

And there's your difference, Dale. Are you willing to put it all on red and give the wheel a spin? Put your family's life savings into hock and take a year off a full-time bill-paying job you may not get back, to bankroll the beginnings of an idea that has every chance of getting shot down at every place you pitch it?

Still, we watch the show every Friday, she's very good-natured about it, it's become just a running gag between us... and I make her repeat her line at the start of each episode:

"That's the STUPIDEST idea for a show EVER! NOBODY is going to watch THAT!"

I'm thinking of making that my new sig file.


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Tim Wilson
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Jan 10, 2007 at 10:46:57 am

[Mark Suszko] "
"That's the STUPIDEST idea for a show EVER! NOBODY is going to watch THAT!"

I'm thinking of making that my new sig file."


In the running for best sig ever.

My number one for now remains, "I feel so much better since I gave up hope."

My number two is, "One: cut a hole in the box. Two: put your junk in that box. Three: make her open the box."

But you have every chance of passing them on your way to the top.

:-)



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Steve Wargo
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Jan 15, 2007 at 8:48:39 am

17 years ago, I had an idea for a TV show. I asked around and everyone agreed that it was the most stupid idea that any human being has ever had. My idea? Simply hop in the back of a police cruiser and record what they do. I needed to have just done it and sold it. But no, I listened to all of the genuises in my circle of friends and skipped it. Today, "COPS" is one of the most syndicated programs on TV. I kick myself in the ass every Friday night at 7PM. I keep waiting to see my brother in law from Florida in one of the episodes.



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!


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Bob Cole
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Jan 15, 2007 at 3:54:55 pm

[Steve Wargo] "But no, I listened to all of the genuises in my circle of friends and skipped it."


On the other hand, Steve, that shows that your circle of friends has much more sophisticated taste than the average group.

But I wonder about this "stealing ideas" issue: How much is "the idea" and how much is luck, and how much is deep pockets. Somewhere I read that there were about two dozen small companies that were doing much the same thing as the people at YouTube. Some were even doing it better. They are of course totally bummed out that YouTube's founders made billions, and they made diddly squat. The speculation was that it could have been just one or two "hot" videos that gave YouTube its cachet.

It is true that by not making a pilot, you lost your chance at megabucks. But I suspect that you would have found you were swimming with the sharks, in very deep and turbulent water, when it came to making a success of any "hot" but non-copyrightable idea.


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Steve Wargo
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Jan 30, 2007 at 7:08:26 am

Yeah, not only does it require a great idea but also the ability to implement that idea in a timely and high quality fashion. I probably couldn't have done it back then but it taught me to move on my ideas and not listen to others. Most people don't belive in what doesn't already exist. Just imagine when some folks in Europe wanted to strike out and find out what was beyond the horizon. Who could believe that they would discover an entire continent or two. Completely inhabited by the way.

I asked a very wealthy friend what he thought was the key to success. His answer: Opportunity and preparedness. That is so true.



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!


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Bob Cole
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Jan 30, 2007 at 12:57:54 pm

[Steve Wargo] "I asked a very wealthy friend what he thought was the key to success. His answer: Opportunity and preparedness. That is so true."

I know envy is a sin, but this is what makes me envy rich people: they have enough money so that if they have an idea, they can afford to throw some money at it to see whether it will fly.

otoh: Steve, if you have a very wealthy friend, next time you get an idea like this, he may want a piece of the action.


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Steve Wargo
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Feb 6, 2007 at 7:36:20 am

[Bob Cole] "otoh: Steve, if you have a very wealthy friend, next time you get an idea like this, he may want a piece of the action."

The reason he has lots of money is because he hasn't been giving it to idiots like me. Not that I'm an idiot, but, there has to be some reason that I am not wealthy. I am a better person, by the way. but then, maybe being a rich a-hole isn't so bad. I would have no idea.

Steve



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!


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malcolmland
Re: getting my idea off the ground without it being stolen.
on Feb 12, 2007 at 10:39:27 am

Hi Dale, I'm in Adelaide and am just in the same process you are in. I have a contact here in Adelaide who is getting me some names of people to speak to who know the right steps to take. I'm sure their advice will support what has already been said in the previous posts, however, they may be people who are slightly more accessible to you and aware of local law. I hope to hear of something in the next week or so. Feel free to email me at simon@memoramedia.com.au to see how things are going. Hope I can help somehow. Have a great day, Simon.


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