grants, air time
I want to start making videos about science-related topics and I have a few questions:
1. I know one way to gain a budget is to apply for grants. How do you apply for grants and who do you get them from. Can they be from anyone or are there people who give out grants specifically for science.
2. Who do you talk to and how do you go about getting air time on a major network. I'm sure it would be hard to get airtime for The Discovery Channel, but I would like to try for something more than public broadcasting.
Robert J. Grauert, Jr.
[Rob Grauert] "2. Who do you talk to and how do you go about getting air time on a major network. I'm sure it would be hard to get airtime for The Discovery Channel, but I would like to try for something more than public broadcasting. "
For public broadcasting you can approach stations directly. If you have any relationships with a local PBS station you can simply present the concept and ideas to them. Keep in mind that with all public stations you provide all the funding AND you pay for the airtime. Typically the airtime alone costs $250 to $300 per episode and all this does is have the station put your show up on a satellite feed. There are additional marketing fees that can add up to $5,000 or more per episode depending on what you want the station to do. So you need to plan for these fees on top of your regular production budget.
The documentary series that we cut "Assignment Earth" was sold in this way to KEET in Eureka, California. They are the presenting station due to a relationship built between the Producer and the station. We have already delivered 5 episodes with 8 more in pre-production.
The biggest thing you need is credibility when presenting your ideas or budgets to people. Many sponsors and the PBS stations themselves will want to know that you have already successfully produced and managed a complete series.
Right now I'm working on an original series concept that will shoot a pilot in October or November with full production starting in January. Even though I have almost 20 years of experience in the industry, my company has never produced a regular series. For this reason, I have partnered with another company that has 13 years experience doing nothing but producing national series. They give me the instant credibility of handling national television production AND give me an incredible resource in planning and budgeting the series. There are whole sorts of line items in the budget that I would never think about that is second nature to them. Just to give you an idea, our budgets include 300+ line items per season.
So my best advice to you is completely write up your show proposal, plan out the first 13 episodes (can just be a paragraph per episode), then shoot some sort of a pilot if you can so people can see the concept and host (if there is one), and then approach a production company with experience to help plan out the budget and pitch the shows.
Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
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This is very good advice and I really appreciate it. Teaming up with another production company that has experience is a great idea, and I would have never thought of that.
Robert J. Grauert, Jr.