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TV Broadcast

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Oliver DickinsonTV Broadcast
by on Jul 25, 2008 at 9:25:50 am

Hi,

I recently completed my first feature documentary (self-financed)and hope to have it broadcast. However, I have no idea how to proceed.

Do people generally write to TV channels or sell on film markets (MIPCOM, festivals...)?

The film is originally 70 minutes, but I've created 60, 56, 54 & 52 minute versions to try and fit into a wide range of formats I read about.

I live in France and hope to sell it internationally.

Hope someone can help,

Thanks!

Oliver


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Jason SirotinRe: TV Broadcast
by on Jul 25, 2008 at 11:34:09 am

First of all congrats on finishing the project.

There are many ways to sell something to a television network. In my experience with selling to cable networks I have found the best way is to find out who the head of programming for a particular network is or the staff Executive Producer. Many cable networks have Executive Producers whose job it is to seek out new programming. When you watch the credits for a particular show you will see the production company's EP credit and many times at the very end you will see a credit that says...

Executive Producer for Discovery Networks
Joe Blow

I always try to get in contact with that person via e-mail and phone. In the first e-mail I send the treatment and a short bio about myself. Many times they will not respond and that's when persistence is key. Once I make contact with them I ask them if I can send them a DVD of my pilot/film. Most times they say yes and they may ask you to sign a legal document stating that if they release a show that is similar to yours that you won't sue. That's a little scary but most people are honest.

This is just one approach that has been successful for me I can't wait to see the other suggestions from other folks on the forum.

Good luck and much success.



Jason Sirotin
VP Business Development
ECG Productions

Main Website: http://www.ecgprod.com

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walter biscardiRe: TV Broadcast
by on Jul 25, 2008 at 12:41:07 pm

[Jason Sirotin] "Most times they say yes and they may ask you to sign a legal document stating that if they release a show that is similar to yours that you won't sue. That's a little scary but most people are honest. "

One word of caution there. About 8 years ago I presented an original show idea to a national network here in Atlanta and of course I had to sign that statement. 18 months later I saw pretty much the exact show appear on another network right down to the same convertible car in my treatment. Came to find out later that the person in charge of the network where I pitched was notorious for passing ideas around to other networks. Nothing I could do since I signed the statement. So definitely buyer beware on this one.


Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!
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Jason SirotinRe: TV Broadcast
by on Jul 25, 2008 at 2:20:28 pm

That's the worst! Maybe most people are dis-honest. Probably better to err on the side of caution. Good luck with the four other projects you're working on Walter.

Jason Sirotin
VP Business Development
ECG Productions
http://www.ecgprod.com




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Oliver DickinsonRe: TV Broadcast
by on Jul 25, 2008 at 2:18:42 pm

Thanks a lot for the precious info!

So, according to you, going directly to the channels works better than joining film markets?

Which is the best strategy: writing to the major channels first and the smaller ones later if it hasn't worked out OR everyone at once? Same if I'm going for several countries?

Because there are exclusivity deals aren't there?

Thanks



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Oliver DickinsonRe: TV Broadcast
by on Jul 26, 2008 at 8:29:03 am

Thanks a lot for the precious info!

So, according to you, going directly to the channels works better than joining film markets?

Which is the best strategy: writing to the major channels first and the smaller ones later if it hasn't worked out OR everyone at once? Same if I'm going for several countries?

Because there are exclusivity deals aren't there?

Thanks




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walter biscardiRe: TV Broadcast
by on Jul 25, 2008 at 12:38:42 pm

I'll second the congratulations on the project, always great finishing a self published piece.

In the U.S. the absolute best way to market a show is to get behind a known Executive Producer or company that sells programming. The best example here in the states is Original Productions in Los Angeles. They're the most successful production company on Cable TV right now and ironically enough, one of my old bosses runs the thing. :-) If you pitched a show to them and they liked it, they would present it to the cable networks. Of course they would take a cut of the money.

In my case, I'm developing about 4 original shows right now and I'm working with another former boss who used to be the President of CNN to pitch the shows. She obviously has contacts and the ability to make phone calls that will get answered so it's a great person to work with.

Film Festivals are also another great way to get noticed, especially if your project is "honored" or "wins" some recognition at the event.

An event here in the states each year is the RealScreen Summit each January in Washington DC and it's essentially a sales conference to sell non-fiction programming. Cost is about $1,700 to attend but pretty much all the major players from all the major networks are there and you can do one on one pitches. You can also learn anything you want to know about each network, what their plans are for the next 12 months, what their budgets are and who to contact, etc.... I went two years ago and it was an incredible learning experience.

http://www.realscreensummit.com/2009/

actually it looks like it will be in February next year.

One Producer I work with got his series on PBS by approaching one of the smaller stations in the network and asking them to be the presenting station. This worked out really well as they are able to present a 5 part international documentary series that they would never be able to afford on their own and the Producer gets his series on PBS. And of course we get to create and sell the BluRays so that's incredibly cool for us!

Best of luck to you and do let us know if your project will appear in the states!

Best of luck to you on the project!




Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!
Read my Blog!
View Walter Biscardi's profile on LinkedIn


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