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Anyone know how to get representation for a television series concept?

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Janice Celeste
Anyone know how to get representation for a television series concept?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 9:55:25 pm

So I see the Producer's Portal for submitting television shows is a bad idea (been there - done that) and submitting to other production companies just gets your idea stolen as well.

Is there a resource for where to go to seek representation when you have a television show idea? or do you have to find your own entertainment attorney and put him/her on a retainer?

Anyone have any experience with this as I already have had one show stolen which is an exact carbon copy (even down to the title) of my idea that I've been shopping around the past 2 years? It just makes me sick to my stomach to have so many ideas then to have someone steal them as I'm struggling to pay my mortgage.


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Bill Davis
Re: Anyone know how to get representation for a television series concept?
on Jul 21, 2011 at 5:16:19 pm

Janice,

Getting a "show idea" picked up is virtually impossible unless you're an industry insider.

The way US copyright laws operate, producers - particularly those at the high end - literally must reject submissions unless they come through established channels so that they don't muddy ownership issues if a similar project comes in from another source.

If you TRULY want to get into the "ideas for television shows" business - you pretty much have to move to LA or NYC and get to know the people inside the business.

It's a pretty closed system for legal reasons.

Sorry.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Mark Suszko
Re: Anyone know how to get representation for a television series concept?
on Jul 21, 2011 at 5:52:38 pm

I would say get an agent, and have the agent deal with one of the production companies that already serves Discovery Networks or whatever.

Anybody can steal your idea for free and get away with it, the "secret" is to lock up the specific assets needed to execute the specific expression of your idea. You would need to ink exclusive contracts with all the key people and content experts having to do with your idea, that they will only do TV thru you.

And this means of course you're going to have to advance these people some money, just to sit on their hands and not talk to any other producers. Whether your show gets picked up or not.

Even then, nothing is stopping a rival producer from developing his or her own, independent resources to execute the same show idea. So, the more generic the concept ( home improvement, auction finds, pawn shops, funky jobs, cooking, singing/amateur performance contests, gardening, man versus nature endurance tests, etc.) you have, the easier it is for someone else to mimic it with their own exclusive talent. And there's nothing you can do to stop it, except to make and market a superior, iconic version, and hope the public favors you, and spurns them.

If the show idea is so unique that there is only one person in the whole world that can host it or whatever, NOW you have something you can lock down with a contract and pitch to a network, and they might try to imitate it, but they can't duplicate it. And you can sue them if they try then, because you've got contracts in place.


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Janice Celeste
Re: Anyone know how to get representation for a television series concept?
on Jul 21, 2011 at 7:16:09 pm

Then how would someone get an agent?

I already had one title stolen that airs on Sunday. Not trying to have that happen again.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Anyone know how to get representation for a television series concept?
on Jul 21, 2011 at 8:56:09 pm

That, I can't help you with. The really good agents are so in-demand that they are courted by clients and are pretty picky about who they want to work for. I suppose you could cold-call some of the three-letter agencies and just ask how they decide. Have you looked over the resources at the WGA? Perhaps they have some links to reputable people that work in the development arena.


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Janice Celeste
Re: Anyone know how to get representation for a television series concept?
on Jul 21, 2011 at 8:58:59 pm

The agents who are listed on WGA's website as "Agents for Writers" are the same agents who represent you to major networks? If that's what you are saying then I definitely have an in. Is that true?

I was thinking there was some mysterious list. I would love to have a link so I can be clear.


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