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Shooting a pilot: need advice

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Mandy MastromanicoShooting a pilot: need advice
by on Oct 6, 2009 at 7:31:31 pm

Hi Friends,

I am new to all this, so first of all - please excuse my lack of knowledge in this field. In answering, please assume that I don't know much about any of this and kindly refrain from talking over my head. :o)

That said - I have been asked by a large corporation to look into how much it would cost to shoot a reality TV show pilot. The clients are in the Far East, and I am their only connection to the US therefore they are coming to me. I have no prior experience in this field.

Can anyone give me an idea of how much it would cost to shoot a pilot for a reality TV show such as Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" or "Bizarre Foods". The subject matter in this case, is not food, but would require shooting here in the US as well as overseas.

Also, when production companies give me estimates for such a thing, should I assume they are shooting in HD? Is it necessary to shoot in HD? Does it add to the cost?

Thanks you for any insight you may have to share.

Best,

Mandy


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Chris BlairRe: Shooting a pilot: need advice
by on Oct 6, 2009 at 11:21:21 pm

That's a tough question to pin down to more than a just a broad range without more specific and detailed information.

A half-hour network quality program can be produced for anywhere from $35,000 (extremely low) to $250,000 (or higher) per episode depending on a whole host of factors.

You also say "shoot a reality show." I'm assuming you mean shoot it, edit it, create a graphic look, script intros, bumps, teasers (the things you see coming back from a break and going into a break or transitioning etc.)

My guess to ballpark something like this (considering there would be overseas travel) would be somewhere in between those two figures. But without a LOT more detailed information and at least some preliminary research on your part about the format, structure and content of the show, it would be impossible to give you a realistic figure.

Most "reality" shows are in fact very structured in that they follow a fairly specific format that breaks the show down into segments of roughly 4-6 minutes each (allowing for commercial breaks in between) that total anywhere from 21 to 23 minutes.

So, give us more info and people on here with more experience than me could probably give you a more narrow range.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Ettah GodfreyRe: Shooting a pilot: need advice
by on Jul 18, 2012 at 2:48:55 pm

Kindly could someone write for me a budget needed for shooting a live television show


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Arnie SchlisselRe: Shooting a pilot: need advice
by on Oct 7, 2009 at 1:58:46 am

[Mandy Mastromanico] "Also, when production companies give me estimates for such a thing, should I assume they are shooting in HD?"

Assume nothing that's not written down in the bid.

If the bid does not specifically state that it's HD, the odds are that it will not be. If you don't specify HD when you bid out the job, don't expect production companies to bid on shooting HD.

And don't forget to specify what flavor of HD you want, or you may wind up with extra costs down the line when you need to convert what was shot to what needs to be delivered.

[Mandy Mastromanico] "s it necessary to shoot in HD?"

Look at your calendar. It's the 21st century, the 3rd millennium. HD is no longer sometime in the future, it's on TV now.

If you don't shoot in HD, you'll be limiting your market & reducing the value of your show.

It's much easier to make a really good downconvert for those markets that are not yet broadcasting HD than it is to make a really good upconvert for those that already do.

[Mandy Mastromanico] "Does it add to the cost?"

Rest assured, the production company will be very quick to charge you more for shooting in HD, even though it may not really cost them more. After all, they're delivering more pixels!

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Bob ZelinRe: Shooting a pilot: need advice
by on Oct 7, 2009 at 2:54:47 am

Mandy,
you are a lucky girl. People with 100 times your experience will never get an opportunity like this. So, do you know what you do now ? You contact a production company (like one of the ones you see on TV in the credits), and say "I have a client that wants to do a show", and you will become the "executive producer" (a much better title than cameraman or editor) - and you will get a percentage of the show if it goes thru. The experienced production company, that actually does reality shows all day long, will talk to your client, do a proposal for you (you are the contact, so they will not want to upset this client, and make sure you are involved as a liason) - and you will get an accurate bid, and if it gets approved, you will not only get a percentage of the production costs, but you will get an executive producer credit ! Isn't that great ! Having the contacts to find clients that are willing to PAY for a show to be done is a lot more valuable than knowing how to use a camera or an editing system to make the show. Most people who are top cameramen or editors would DIE for the opportunity to have a contact like you have.

Contact an experienced production company, and take the easy road.

Bob Zelin




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Chris BlairRe: Shooting a pilot: need advice
by on Oct 7, 2009 at 5:04:40 am

As usual...Bob cuts through the clutter and gets to the REAL answer. That's exactly what you should do...but...you're STILL going to need find out and help generate a LOT more information for that production company before they can even hope to provide an accurate bid.

Having done a couple of pilots (which weren't picked up for production), budgeting for them is time-consuming, tedious and often a guessing game since there are so many variables and unknowns before anyone commits to going into production. But that's EXACTLY why Bob's suggestion is so "spot on." A production company that's already producing reality shows will be able to pull budgets and line items from their experience and be miles ahead of people that haven't done them.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Jason SirotinRe: Shooting a pilot: need advice
by on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:01:19 am

Mandy, we have done several reality shows and can help you through this exciting process. I can help you generate the questions for your client and create the estimate for you. Please feel free to contact me at sirotin@ecgprod.com.

Congrats and good luck.

Jason Sirotin
Producer/Director
ECG Productions ECGPROD.COM


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Mandy MastromanicoRe: Shooting a pilot: need advice
by on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:06:15 pm

Hi Bob,

Thank you so much for your guidance. We have a production company lined up, and are about to move ahead. Right now I am trying to figure out how to sell the show idea and who I can get to help me with the process.

All the best to you for 2010!


Mandy


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Marcello MazzilliRe: Shooting a pilot: need advice
by on Oct 7, 2009 at 7:16:27 am

I did on once.... check here... http://www.blueray.it/ita/SPECIALE_phenomena.asp
This was done on a very low budget considering is a full 52 episode.
I'm sorry is in italian. The show is about paranormal. The studio situation was shot in a museum empty room (black cloth in the background then we built the set with all stuff they had in the museum itself). We used 3 Sony Z1. We used live output just for a preview but we had tapes in camera and did the editing afterward. The outdoors part were all shot around Rome (we found paranormal stories all nearby for cost reasons). The final "paranormal contest" was shot in the same place, the same day, later in the evening (we took everything away and just used the black background). The fiction part was done by a young director in autonomous with an amateur actor company.
I created it, wrote it, produced, directed it and edited it.. and this kept the costs very low.
I am sorry I live in Italy and not in US.. otherwise we could have worked together. Hope this helps.
Marcello


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Ron LindeboomRe: Shooting a pilot: need advice
by on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:27:23 pm

[Mandy Mastromanico] "The clients are in the Far East, and I am their only connection to the US therefore they are coming to me. I have no prior experience in this field."

Not to be cruel, but this reads almost like the deposed-and-then-deceased warlord's son that wrote me yesterday while I was sipping my morning coffee, and who contacted me -- me, out of all the people in the United States (I mean, who would have thunk it, you know?*#@!?) -- because I was his only contact to the USA.

I knew that I must really be special to him as he began the letter, "My Dear One..."

He will be sending me 20% of his father's oil money that I can then invest in a project with you, just as soon as the promised wire transfer to my bank account is made. (He assures me that it will be soon and I know it will because it is coming from a respected company, Hotmail.)

I, too, would like to have you look into researching a show for me: one that would deal with people getting contacted across the internet to do things they have no experience in, because former warlords and major corporations with vast funds want to assist people in starting new ventures. In fact, it's become one of the ways that new start-up ventures are being created around the globe.

The new show, tentatively titled "Rubbing the Rube," will be hosted by Donald Trump -- well, once his current show is canceled, and he's again looking for work.

I'll be emailing him today from my Hotmail account, because he too, is a Dear One, and I will let you know what he says.

I think there's a market for this one on the Game Show Network.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry






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Mike CohenRe: Shooting a pilot: need advice
by on Oct 7, 2009 at 1:29:57 pm

This original post does have that mysterious tone to it. One would think that there are production companies in the far east (do we still use that expression? I thought it was now called Asia.)

Why would the client assume that the one person they know in USA would be able to create a reality show pilot? That's kind of like saying, "Oh, you're from New York? Do you know Bob Smith. I think he's from Manhattan."

If in fact the original post is on the level, then Mandy should heed the advice already given - hire people who know what they are doing and have a CONTRACT.

Mike Cohen



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