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Friday, 5 April 2013

A beginners guide to...

DEVELOPMENT: devising, developing and selling TV shows to broadcasters.

Notebooks at the ready!
A cold and windy Wednesday night was brightened up by the smiling faces of our Network applicants who traveled (some far and wide!) to attend our Network taster event at the Roundhouse. And what cracker it was! After a technical glitch to two we opened the doors to a queue of people snaking round the block, all armed with notebooks and keen faces.

After a quick run down of what to expect up in Edinburgh we were lucky enough to be joined by committee member extraordinaire; Cat Lynch, Head of Development at Initial and Andy Brereton, Head of Development at Tiger Aspect. They delivered a fantastic crash course in development and judging by the multitude of questions at the end it definitely got those creative juices flowing.

So to help you along with your Network application all the best bits from the masterclass are right here!

Development is a pretty exciting place to be working in TV. You're the ideas man that comes up with the programmes on our screens. However it's not all white boards and brainstorming, the process from conception to delivery is often a long one and entails many different skills including:

Writing; a treatment is how you succinctly sell you programme idea on paper.

Pitching; takes practice and above all confidence. A pitch can range from a simple presentation to even re-creating the show in front of the commissioner.

Making promos; some companies prefer to present their progamme idea on film.

Casting talent; finding the right presenter or contributor is essential to any good show. Think of I'm a Celebrity or The Apprentice, it's the characters in them and the relationships between them that makes it crackle on screen and leaves you coming back for more. If you don't get the casting right, a great idea can fall flat on its face.

Researching; anything from contributors, to experts and stats!

Now down to the nitty gritty of what to consider when coming up with your idea...

A format is something that is unique and can be replicated...Think the blind bake challenge on Great British Bake Off, the diary room and eviction in Big Brother, the boxes & banker in Deal or No Deal, or the love lift in Take Me Out.

So where do those all important ideas come from?

  • News - a headline or a story can spark your imagination
  • Films/songs/books 
  • Real Life - listen to the stories and experiences of those around you
  • Mixing genres 
  • Old shows revamped

Here is handy checklist to run through before submitting any idea:

1. What else it out there?  Make sure your programme idea hasn't been on TV already!
2. What is the USP? If your programme is good enough you should be able sum it up in a sentence. For a little inspiration have a flick through the TV guide.
3.Who is it for? Always think about what Channel it would work best on and why? Who is your audience?
4. What is the format? Is there enough contact for a half an hour/hour show? Remember the format points, why is your programme interesting to watch, what makes it unique?
5. What is it called? Although not essential, a snappy name can give you confidence in your programme and grab people's attention.

Not only are these useful points to consider for Question 2 of your Network application, but TV is all about ideas! We can guarantee that you'll be asked to come up with a programme idea on many more applications in the future.

Remember applications for The Network close on 21 May 2013. Get cracking!

1 comment:

  1. This looks like it was a fantastic opportunity. Sadly I missed it because I am based out here in Kuwait, getting really excited now about attending the TV Festival at the end of August, I do hope there will be lots of pitching opportunities.