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Alt 10.09.2006, 19:13   #1
PTravel
 
Beiträge: n/a
How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

Those of you who know me, know that I'm a video-obsessed amateur who makes
his living in a relatively non-creative but well-compensated profession.
I've got an idea for something that I think I could be of use to one of the
Discovery channels, and I've got enough well-produced material to provide 3
or 4 examples (I don't mean a demo reel, but full-length, fully produced
"pilots"). My projects are shot in SD -- HD isn't a possibility unless the
idea sells, in which case I would invest in HDV (but not HD) equipment.

I was wondering how best to pitch this -- would a DVD with a cover letter to
who ever does development at Discovery be the right approach, or would this
mark me as a hopeless amateur? I'd assume that, at this point, 3/4" is
obsolete. Do I need to get the projects transferred to Digibeta or
something similar, just for the purpose of pitching?

Any suggestions (other than, "leave it to the pros") would be appreciated.


 
Alt 10.09.2006, 21:00   #2
Larry in AZ
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

Waiving the right to remain silent, "PTravel" <ptravel@travelersvideo.com>
said:

> I was wondering how best to pitch this -- would a DVD with a cover
> letter to who ever does development at Discovery be the right approach,
> or would this mark me as a hopeless amateur? I'd assume that, at this
> point, 3/4" is obsolete. Do I need to get the projects transferred to
> Digibeta or something similar, just for the purpose of pitching?


That person, whomever it is at Discovery Channel, probably receives 50
pitches per day in the mail, all accompanied by DVDs, VHS, etc. You'll be
hopelessly lost in the clutter.

My advice is to use whatever friendly connections you have in the business.
Surely, you know an entertainment lawyer or three..?

--
Larry Jandro
Video Engineering & Equipment Rentals
Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
[Remove spamtrap in ALLCAPS to reply]
 
Alt 10.09.2006, 21:13   #3
Richard Crowley
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

"Larry in AZ" wrote ...
> "PTravel" said:
>
>> I was wondering how best to pitch this -- would a DVD with a cover
>> letter to who ever does development at Discovery be the right
>> approach,
>> or would this mark me as a hopeless amateur? I'd assume that, at
>> this
>> point, 3/4" is obsolete. Do I need to get the projects transferred
>> to
>> Digibeta or something similar, just for the purpose of pitching?

>
> That person, whomever it is at Discovery Channel, probably receives 50
> pitches per day in the mail, all accompanied by DVDs, VHS, etc.
> You'll be
> hopelessly lost in the clutter.
>
> My advice is to use whatever friendly connections you have in the
> business.
> Surely, you know an entertainment lawyer or three..?


Indeed. Dunno how any "over the transom" projects ever
get seriously considered. Take full advantage of any
contacts (or friends/associates of contacts). That seems
to be how the business works. And if you look at it from
their perspective, it forms a sort of "vetting" process to
filter out the flack.

In the last year or two there was an article about a guy and
his girlfriend who pitched and sold a travelogue (French
wine country or somesuch?) The magazine piece discussed
how he pitched the project, and then how it was shot, edited,
getting sponsors, etc. Recommended. If only I could remember
which magazine it was...

 
Alt 10.09.2006, 21:18   #4
PTravel
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?


"Larry in AZ" <usenet2@DE.LETE.THISljvideo.com> wrote in message
news:Xns983A7A34D723thefrogprince@70.169.32.36...
> Waiving the right to remain silent, "PTravel" <ptravel@travelersvideo.com>
> said:
>
>> I was wondering how best to pitch this -- would a DVD with a cover
>> letter to who ever does development at Discovery be the right approach,
>> or would this mark me as a hopeless amateur? I'd assume that, at this
>> point, 3/4" is obsolete. Do I need to get the projects transferred to
>> Digibeta or something similar, just for the purpose of pitching?

>
> That person, whomever it is at Discovery Channel, probably receives 50
> pitches per day in the mail, all accompanied by DVDs, VHS, etc. You'll be
> hopelessly lost in the clutter.
>
> My advice is to use whatever friendly connections you have in the
> business.
> Surely, you know an entertainment lawyer or three..?


I do, but it undercuts my attorney credibility if I try to peddle my
non-lawyer skills.

>
> --
> Larry Jandro
> Video Engineering & Equipment Rentals
> Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
> [Remove spamtrap in ALLCAPS to reply]



 
Alt 10.09.2006, 21:32   #5
Richard Crowley
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

"PTravel" wrote ...
> I do, but it undercuts my attorney credibility if I try to peddle my
> non-lawyer skills.


But surely *they* (fellow attorneys) should understand that
you (lawyers) are not single-dimensional beings? That they
may have diverse talents. I doubt that you are the first IP
attorney to venture into prorgram production. Go for it.
 
Alt 10.09.2006, 23:39   #6
Frank
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

On Sun, 10 Sep 2006 12:13:59 -0700, in 'rec.video.production',
in article <Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?>,
"Richard Crowley" <rcrowley@xpr7t.net> wrote:

>In the last year or two there was an article about a guy and
>his girlfriend who pitched and sold a travelogue


Indeed, there was. It appeared, on pages 34 thru 40, in the July 2005
issue of a certain magazine.

>(French wine country or somesuch?)


Would you settle for the Tuscany region of Italy?

>The magazine piece discussed
>how he pitched the project, and then how it was shot, edited,
>getting sponsors, etc.


Correct, it did indeed.

>Recommended.


Absolutely.

>If only I could remember which magazine it was...


I have a memory like a computer, especially for stuff that I read.

It was DV magazine and the article can be found online at
http://www.dv.com/features/features_...leId=163105722

--
Frank, Independent Consultant, New York, NY
[Please remove 'nojunkmail.' from address to reply via e-mail.]
Read Frank's thoughts on HDV at http://www.humanvalues.net/hdv/
 
Alt 11.09.2006, 00:39   #7
nobody special
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?


I had a friend try to pitch a show to them. Discovery has a small
number of "favorite son" production companies that feed product into
them. Your only real hope is to go thru one of them, and once you do,
they basically make you sign over the idea and most of the control over
the idea to them (as well as most of the profits). You get a small
piece of it unless you can retain some producer credits on it.
Discovery and TLC get many more pitches than they know what to do with,
so they cherry-pick the very best packages, those where the production
values will be the highest, where the visuals will be stunning, where
you can get celebrity hosts or narrators, that sort of thing. On the
reality show front, they look to over-hype the interpersonal conflict
aspect, what I call the "American Chopper Effect". It's not enough to
have a story full of heroism, adventure, personal sacrifice, high-tech
and science, the principal characters involved have to drop everything
and get to a near-fistfight at least once an episode, or Discovery
isn't interested.

 
Alt 11.09.2006, 00:58   #8
PTravel
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?


"nobody special" <msu1049321@aol.com> wrote in message
news:1157927973.758072.99430@b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
> I had a friend try to pitch a show to them. Discovery has a small
> number of "favorite son" production companies that feed product into
> them. Your only real hope is to go thru one of them, and once you do,
> they basically make you sign over the idea and most of the control over
> the idea to them (as well as most of the profits). You get a small
> piece of it unless you can retain some producer credits on it.
> Discovery and TLC get many more pitches than they know what to do with,
> so they cherry-pick the very best packages, those where the production
> values will be the highest, where the visuals will be stunning, where
> you can get celebrity hosts or narrators, that sort of thing. On the
> reality show front, they look to over-hype the interpersonal conflict
> aspect, what I call the "American Chopper Effect". It's not enough to
> have a story full of heroism, adventure, personal sacrifice, high-tech
> and science, the principal characters involved have to drop everything
> and get to a near-fistfight at least once an episode, or Discovery
> isn't interested.


I don't want to say too much about what I'm doing, but it's not full-form
series format -- it's something else that I haven't ever seen used on
Discovery but that I suspect might be useful to them. I read the article
cited in the other posts -- rather depressing, but encouraging at least to
this extent: my production gear is directly comparable to the article
author's.


 
Alt 11.09.2006, 17:52   #9
Steve Guidry
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

I haven't done this, but here's my best guess . . .

Find someone who's done it, and get some advice. I think that once they
realize how good it would be to have a guy like you as a friend, you'd have
no trouble getting them to open their rolodexes to you and maybe even
helping you pitch it. Emal me privately, and I will give you a

The same goes with the guys evaluating the show. Your position in the
industry - - even though it's in an allied part of the biz should be a real
asset. While I understand the "lessen my stature" argument, but you can
probably minimize this (or even turn it to a plus) by characterizing it as a
midlife fling or saying something like "I decided to do something like this
for FUN, instead of just working all the time - - it was either that, or
take a year off to sail around the world ! You should do the same thing,
Bob." I suspect that your colleagues will admire you for it, and wish they
had the guts to do something similar. You can spin that part of it, trust
me . . .

Steve


"PTravel" <ptravel@travelersvideo.com> wrote in message
news:nJXMg.5$7I1.0@newssvr27.news.prodigy.net...
> Those of you who know me, know that I'm a video-obsessed amateur who makes
> his living in a relatively non-creative but well-compensated profession.
> I've got an idea for something that I think I could be of use to one of
> the Discovery channels, and I've got enough well-produced material to
> provide 3 or 4 examples (I don't mean a demo reel, but full-length, fully
> produced "pilots"). My projects are shot in SD -- HD isn't a possibility
> unless the idea sells, in which case I would invest in HDV (but not HD)
> equipment.
>
> I was wondering how best to pitch this -- would a DVD with a cover letter
> to who ever does development at Discovery be the right approach, or would
> this mark me as a hopeless amateur? I'd assume that, at this point, 3/4"
> is obsolete. Do I need to get the projects transferred to Digibeta or
> something similar, just for the purpose of pitching?
>
> Any suggestions (other than, "leave it to the pros") would be appreciated.
>



 
Alt 12.09.2006, 16:15   #10
Bryan Heit
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

nobody special wrote:
> I had a friend try to pitch a show to them. Discovery has a small
> number of "favorite son" production companies that feed product into
> them. Your only real hope is to go thru one of them, and once you do,
> they basically make you sign over the idea and most of the control over
> the idea to them (as well as most of the profits). You get a small
> piece of it unless you can retain some producer credits on it.


This is probably the only route to go, but I don't think it is the
"death sentence" you make it out to be.

Firstly, if you look at what is needed to make a documentary of the type
which appears on Discovery, National Geographic, etc, its pretty obvious
you need a full production team. For the "average" documentary of this
quality you'll need:

Film crew(s) + audio crew
Researchers
Audio technicians/editors
Video technicians/editors
Host(s) and/or narrator(s)
Script writers
Animators
Lawyers (for licensing, releases, and so forth)
Music composition (or licensing)
Someone to keep everything on track (Producer)
Plus directors to keep all of the sub-groups organized

Although one person can do all of these jobs (I've done all of this for
some of my own work) it is doubtful one person could do all of these
jobs well enough for Discovery-level production. Not to mention the
vast amount of time it would take to make a single episode.

But this doesn't mean that you'd have to give up control, or make very
little $$$ from it. For example, if your documentary involves a
technical field you could easily work not only as a creator, but as a
researcher/consultant. If you're decent at writing you may also be able
to do work as a writer. Any stock footage you may have may also be used
- either for the planning of the footage they shoot, or used directly in
the production. All of these would give you additional input into the
work, and probably get you a little more $$$.

Another option to consider is approaching a smaller (i.e. local)
broadcaster first. This would give you the opportunity to develop the
show, be it with fewer resources, but this would give you greater
control over the project. This way you have the opportunity to develop
the show, work out the bugs, develop a small team, etc, before you
approach discovery or a larger production studio. You're far more
likely to be taken seriously if you come to them not with an idea, but
with a project that has some history - even if its just a small show
which runs on a local station.

Bryan
 
Alt 12.09.2006, 17:27   #11
PTravel
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?


"Bryan Heit" <bjheit@NOSPAMucalgary.ca> wrote in message
news:ee6fdh$jff$1@news.ucalgary.ca...
> nobody special wrote:
>> I had a friend try to pitch a show to them. Discovery has a small
>> number of "favorite son" production companies that feed product into
>> them. Your only real hope is to go thru one of them, and once you do,
>> they basically make you sign over the idea and most of the control over
>> the idea to them (as well as most of the profits). You get a small
>> piece of it unless you can retain some producer credits on it.

>
> This is probably the only route to go, but I don't think it is the "death
> sentence" you make it out to be.
>
> Firstly, if you look at what is needed to make a documentary of the type
> which appears on Discovery, National Geographic, etc, its pretty obvious
> you need a full production team. For the "average" documentary of this
> quality you'll need:
>
> Film crew(s) + audio crew
> Researchers
> Audio technicians/editors
> Video technicians/editors
> Host(s) and/or narrator(s)
> Script writers
> Animators
> Lawyers (for licensing, releases, and so forth)
> Music composition (or licensing)
> Someone to keep everything on track (Producer)
> Plus directors to keep all of the sub-groups organized
>
> Although one person can do all of these jobs (I've done all of this for
> some of my own work) it is doubtful one person could do all of these jobs
> well enough for Discovery-level production. Not to mention the vast
> amount of time it would take to make a single episode.
>
> But this doesn't mean that you'd have to give up control, or make very
> little $$$ from it. For example, if your documentary involves a technical
> field you could easily work not only as a creator, but as a
> researcher/consultant. If you're decent at writing you may also be able
> to do work as a writer. Any stock footage you may have may also be used -
> either for the planning of the footage they shoot, or used directly in the
> production. All of these would give you additional input into the work,
> and probably get you a little more $$$.
>
> Another option to consider is approaching a smaller (i.e. local)
> broadcaster first. This would give you the opportunity to develop the
> show, be it with fewer resources, but this would give you greater control
> over the project. This way you have the opportunity to develop the show,
> work out the bugs, develop a small team, etc, before you approach
> discovery or a larger production studio. You're far more likely to be
> taken seriously if you come to them not with an idea, but with a project
> that has some history - even if its just a small show which runs on a
> local station.
>
> Bryan


I appreciate your taking the time to post this, but to pull it back on track
(and as I posted originally), this is not an idea for a full-length episodic
program, nor is it something that requires a full production team. I don't
intend to say any more about it because I don't wish to disclose the idea,
but I'm perfectly capable of executing it myself (in SD, for which my
prosumer gear is completely adequate) and without additional crew (beyond
what I already use). As for clearances, I only need music, I have a source
for that, and I'm a lawyer who does licensing, so legal formalities are not
a concern at all, as I will handle them myself.



 
Alt 12.09.2006, 18:38   #12
Spex
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

PTravel wrote:
> "Bryan Heit" <bjheit@NOSPAMucalgary.ca> wrote in message
> news:ee6fdh$jff$1@news.ucalgary.ca...
>> nobody special wrote:
>>> I had a friend try to pitch a show to them. Discovery has a small
>>> number of "favorite son" production companies that feed product into
>>> them. Your only real hope is to go thru one of them, and once you do,
>>> they basically make you sign over the idea and most of the control over
>>> the idea to them (as well as most of the profits). You get a small
>>> piece of it unless you can retain some producer credits on it.

>> This is probably the only route to go, but I don't think it is the "death
>> sentence" you make it out to be.
>>
>> Firstly, if you look at what is needed to make a documentary of the type
>> which appears on Discovery, National Geographic, etc, its pretty obvious
>> you need a full production team. For the "average" documentary of this
>> quality you'll need:
>>
>> Film crew(s) + audio crew
>> Researchers
>> Audio technicians/editors
>> Video technicians/editors
>> Host(s) and/or narrator(s)
>> Script writers
>> Animators
>> Lawyers (for licensing, releases, and so forth)
>> Music composition (or licensing)
>> Someone to keep everything on track (Producer)
>> Plus directors to keep all of the sub-groups organized
>>
>> Although one person can do all of these jobs (I've done all of this for
>> some of my own work) it is doubtful one person could do all of these jobs
>> well enough for Discovery-level production. Not to mention the vast
>> amount of time it would take to make a single episode.
>>
>> But this doesn't mean that you'd have to give up control, or make very
>> little $$$ from it. For example, if your documentary involves a technical
>> field you could easily work not only as a creator, but as a
>> researcher/consultant. If you're decent at writing you may also be able
>> to do work as a writer. Any stock footage you may have may also be used -
>> either for the planning of the footage they shoot, or used directly in the
>> production. All of these would give you additional input into the work,
>> and probably get you a little more $$$.
>>
>> Another option to consider is approaching a smaller (i.e. local)
>> broadcaster first. This would give you the opportunity to develop the
>> show, be it with fewer resources, but this would give you greater control
>> over the project. This way you have the opportunity to develop the show,
>> work out the bugs, develop a small team, etc, before you approach
>> discovery or a larger production studio. You're far more likely to be
>> taken seriously if you come to them not with an idea, but with a project
>> that has some history - even if its just a small show which runs on a
>> local station.
>>
>> Bryan

>
> I appreciate your taking the time to post this, but to pull it back on track
> (and as I posted originally), this is not an idea for a full-length episodic
> program, nor is it something that requires a full production team. I don't
> intend to say any more about it because I don't wish to disclose the idea,
> but I'm perfectly capable of executing it myself (in SD, for which my
> prosumer gear is completely adequate) and without additional crew (beyond
> what I already use). As for clearances, I only need music, I have a source
> for that, and I'm a lawyer who does licensing, so legal formalities are not
> a concern at all, as I will handle them myself.
>
>
>

He gave you good advice. I bet my mortgage that you don't get anywhere
close to getting your programme made and aired on Discovery. Without
wishing to be rude I've seen your travel videos on your website and I
don't think that level of quality should ever be seen on TV. You cannot
edit for toffee. If you show any of those videos you'll be shown the
door. I promise you that.

Climb down off your high horse and listen to Bryan's advice.

Have you even rung Discovery Channel to ask about submissions? A simple
phone call should be sufficient to determine how a pitch or submission
should be made. You should be aware that Discovery has some extremely
fierce requirements you have to adhere to.

The best advice anyone will give you or should have given you is to
leave it to the pros.

Take the idea to a production company and they'll be honest with you as
to whether the idea is a goer or not. They may even be able to run with
the idea, come at it from a different angle, sell the idea to Discovery
and get it aired. You play a part in the making of it, get a broadcast
credit and paid. Otherwise the idea however good it is may never reach
the screen.

I've never seen a credit roll with one person's name on it. Its for a
reason.
 
Alt 12.09.2006, 18:58   #13
PTravel
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?


"Spex" <No.spam@ta.com> wrote in message
news:4506e28d$0$577$ed2619ec@ptn-nntp-reader03.plus.net...
> PTravel wrote:
>> "Bryan Heit" <bjheit@NOSPAMucalgary.ca> wrote in message
>> news:ee6fdh$jff$1@news.ucalgary.ca...
>>> nobody special wrote:
>>>> I had a friend try to pitch a show to them. Discovery has a small
>>>> number of "favorite son" production companies that feed product into
>>>> them. Your only real hope is to go thru one of them, and once you do,
>>>> they basically make you sign over the idea and most of the control over
>>>> the idea to them (as well as most of the profits). You get a small
>>>> piece of it unless you can retain some producer credits on it.
>>> This is probably the only route to go, but I don't think it is the
>>> "death sentence" you make it out to be.
>>>
>>> Firstly, if you look at what is needed to make a documentary of the type
>>> which appears on Discovery, National Geographic, etc, its pretty obvious
>>> you need a full production team. For the "average" documentary of this
>>> quality you'll need:
>>>
>>> Film crew(s) + audio crew
>>> Researchers
>>> Audio technicians/editors
>>> Video technicians/editors
>>> Host(s) and/or narrator(s)
>>> Script writers
>>> Animators
>>> Lawyers (for licensing, releases, and so forth)
>>> Music composition (or licensing)
>>> Someone to keep everything on track (Producer)
>>> Plus directors to keep all of the sub-groups organized
>>>
>>> Although one person can do all of these jobs (I've done all of this for
>>> some of my own work) it is doubtful one person could do all of these
>>> jobs well enough for Discovery-level production. Not to mention the
>>> vast amount of time it would take to make a single episode.
>>>
>>> But this doesn't mean that you'd have to give up control, or make very
>>> little $$$ from it. For example, if your documentary involves a
>>> technical field you could easily work not only as a creator, but as a
>>> researcher/consultant. If you're decent at writing you may also be able
>>> to do work as a writer. Any stock footage you may have may also be
>>> used - either for the planning of the footage they shoot, or used
>>> directly in the production. All of these would give you additional
>>> input into the work, and probably get you a little more $$$.
>>>
>>> Another option to consider is approaching a smaller (i.e. local)
>>> broadcaster first. This would give you the opportunity to develop the
>>> show, be it with fewer resources, but this would give you greater
>>> control over the project. This way you have the opportunity to develop
>>> the show, work out the bugs, develop a small team, etc, before you
>>> approach discovery or a larger production studio. You're far more
>>> likely to be taken seriously if you come to them not with an idea, but
>>> with a project that has some history - even if its just a small show
>>> which runs on a local station.
>>>
>>> Bryan

>>
>> I appreciate your taking the time to post this, but to pull it back on
>> track (and as I posted originally), this is not an idea for a full-length
>> episodic program, nor is it something that requires a full production
>> team. I don't intend to say any more about it because I don't wish to
>> disclose the idea, but I'm perfectly capable of executing it myself (in
>> SD, for which my prosumer gear is completely adequate) and without
>> additional crew (beyond what I already use). As for clearances, I only
>> need music, I have a source for that, and I'm a lawyer who does
>> licensing, so legal formalities are not a concern at all, as I will
>> handle them myself.
>>
>>
>>

> He gave you good advice.


Neither he nor you know what the project is. His advice is completely
inapplicable.

> I bet my mortgage that you don't get anywhere close to getting your
> programme made and aired on Discovery.


Quite likely. This is a long shot.

> Without wishing to be rude I've seen your travel videos on your website
> and I don't think that level of quality should ever be seen on TV.


No offense taken. My travel videos on my website aren't the project.

> You cannot edit for toffee.


Perhaps, perhaps not.

> If you show any of those videos you'll be shown the door. I promise you
> that.


I'm sure you're right, which is why I have not intention of showing any of
those videos.

So many assumptions, here. So many of them wrong.

>
> Climb down off your high horse and listen to Bryan's advice.


Bryan's advice is inapplicable to my project. Even if I wanted to, there
simply isn't anything for all those production people to do. One of the
first things a lawyer learns is, before giving an opinion, find out all the
facts. That's good advice, too.

>
> Have you even rung Discovery Channel to ask about submissions?


No, I thought I'd start here.

> A simple phone call should be sufficient to determine how a pitch or
> submission should be made.


An a simple post is simpler.

> You should be aware that Discovery has some extremely fierce requirements
> you have to adhere to.


Which you could have shared with me, I suppose, in response to my post.
Instead you chose to lecture me about my project and my talent, neither of
which you have sufficient information to judge.

>
> The best advice anyone will give you or should have given you is to leave
> it to the pros.


What should I leave to the pros? What was my project again? Oh, yes -- you
don't know have any idea at all.

>
> Take the idea to a production company and they'll be honest with you as to
> whether the idea is a goer or not. They may even be able to run with the
> idea, come at it from a different angle, sell the idea to Discovery and
> get it aired. You play a part in the making of it, get a broadcast credit
> and paid. Otherwise the idea however good it is may never reach the
> screen.


As I said, you don't know what the idea is -- it is not suitable for taking
to a production company.

>
> I've never seen a credit roll with one person's name on it. Its for a
> reason.


This project isn't one that entails credits. However, please feel free to
keep making judgments based on assumptions and no information whatsoever.


 
Alt 12.09.2006, 19:04   #14
Steve Guidry
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

>I'm a lawyer who does licensing, so legal formalities are not a concern at
>all, as I will handle them myself.


Isn't there an old saying about a lawyer representing himself ?

(grin)

Steve


 
Alt 12.09.2006, 19:10   #15
Steve Guidry
 
Beiträge: n/a
Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

Awwww, Paul, go easy on the guy. (grin)

He's just giving you a bit of what we all go through when we "have an idea".
Everyone weighs in, and most of them are uninformed - - even some of the
folks who might be able to give the project the go-ahead.

Steve

P. S. Email me prtivately, and I will give you a name of a guy at a
ewll-known prod. co. who might know who you can pitch this to . . .




"PTravel" <ptravel@travelersvideo.com> wrote in message
news:4mo79qF6to6oU1@individual.net...
>
> "Spex" <No.spam@ta.com> wrote in message
> news:4506e28d$0$577$ed2619ec@ptn-nntp-reader03.plus.net...
>> PTravel wrote:
>>> "Bryan Heit" <bjheit@NOSPAMucalgary.ca> wrote in message
>>> news:ee6fdh$jff$1@news.ucalgary.ca...
>>>> nobody special wrote:
>>>>> I had a friend try to pitch a show to them. Discovery has a small
>>>>> number of "favorite son" production companies that feed product into
>>>>> them. Your only real hope is to go thru one of them, and once you do,
>>>>> they basically make you sign over the idea and most of the control
>>>>> over
>>>>> the idea to them (as well as most of the profits). You get a small
>>>>> piece of it unless you can retain some producer credits on it.
>>>> This is probably the only route to go, but I don't think it is the
>>>> "death sentence" you make it out to be.
>>>>
>>>> Firstly, if you look at what is needed to make a documentary of the
>>>> type which appears on Discovery, National Geographic, etc, its pretty
>>>> obvious you need a full production team. For the "average" documentary
>>>> of this quality you'll need:
>>>>
>>>> Film crew(s) + audio crew
>>>> Researchers
>>>> Audio technicians/editors
>>>> Video technicians/editors
>>>> Host(s) and/or narrator(s)
>>>> Script writers
>>>> Animators
>>>> Lawyers (for licensing, releases, and so forth)
>>>> Music composition (or licensing)
>>>> Someone to keep everything on track (Producer)
>>>> Plus directors to keep all of the sub-groups organized
>>>>
>>>> Although one person can do all of these jobs (I've done all of this for
>>>> some of my own work) it is doubtful one person could do all of these
>>>> jobs well enough for Discovery-level production. Not to mention the
>>>> vast amount of time it would take to make a single episode.
>>>>
>>>> But this doesn't mean that you'd have to give up control, or make very
>>>> little $$$ from it. For example, if your documentary involves a
>>>> technical field you could easily work not only as a creator, but as a
>>>> researcher/consultant. If you're decent at writing you may also be
>>>> able to do work as a writer. Any stock footage you may have may also
>>>> be used - either for the planning of the footage they shoot, or used
>>>> directly in the production. All of these would give you additional
>>>> input into the work, and probably get you a little more $$$.
>>>>
>>>> Another option to consider is approaching a smaller (i.e. local)
>>>> broadcaster first. This would give you the opportunity to develop the
>>>> show, be it with fewer resources, but this would give you greater
>>>> control over the project. This way you have the opportunity to develop
>>>> the show, work out the bugs, develop a small team, etc, before you
>>>> approach discovery or a larger production studio. You're far more
>>>> likely to be taken seriously if you come to them not with an idea, but
>>>> with a project that has some history - even if its just a small show
>>>> which runs on a local station.
>>>>
>>>> Bryan
>>>
>>> I appreciate your taking the time to post this, but to pull it back on
>>> track (and as I posted originally), this is not an idea for a
>>> full-length episodic program, nor is it something that requires a full
>>> production team. I don't intend to say any more about it because I
>>> don't wish to disclose the idea, but I'm perfectly capable of executing
>>> it myself (in SD, for which my prosumer gear is completely adequate) and
>>> without additional crew (beyond what I already use). As for clearances,
>>> I only need music, I have a source for that, and I'm a lawyer who does
>>> licensing, so legal formalities are not a concern at all, as I will
>>> handle them myself.
>>>
>>>
>>>

>> He gave you good advice.

>
> Neither he nor you know what the project is. His advice is completely
> inapplicable.
>
>> I bet my mortgage that you don't get anywhere close to getting your
>> programme made and aired on Discovery.

>
> Quite likely. This is a long shot.
>
>> Without wishing to be rude I've seen your travel videos on your website
>> and I don't think that level of quality should ever be seen on TV.

>
> No offense taken. My travel videos on my website aren't the project.
>
>> You cannot edit for toffee.

>
> Perhaps, perhaps not.
>
>> If you show any of those videos you'll be shown the door. I promise you
>> that.

>
> I'm sure you're right, which is why I have not intention of showing any of
> those videos.
>
> So many assumptions, here. So many of them wrong.
>
>>
>> Climb down off your high horse and listen to Bryan's advice.

>
> Bryan's advice is inapplicable to my project. Even if I wanted to, there
> simply isn't anything for all those production people to do. One of the
> first things a lawyer learns is, before giving an opinion, find out all
> the facts. That's good advice, too.
>
>>
>> Have you even rung Discovery Channel to ask about submissions?

>
> No, I thought I'd start here.
>
>> A simple phone call should be sufficient to determine how a pitch or
>> submission should be made.

>
> An a simple post is simpler.
>
>> You should be aware that Discovery has some extremely fierce
>> requirements you have to adhere to.

>
> Which you could have shared with me, I suppose, in response to my post.
> Instead you chose to lecture me about my project and my talent, neither of
> which you have sufficient information to judge.
>
>>
>> The best advice anyone will give you or should have given you is to leave
>> it to the pros.

>
> What should I leave to the pros? What was my project again? Oh, yes --
> you don't know have any idea at all.
>
>>
>> Take the idea to a production company and they'll be honest with you as
>> to whether the idea is a goer or not. They may even be able to run with
>> the idea, come at it from a different angle, sell the idea to Discovery
>> and get it aired. You play a part in the making of it, get a broadcast
>> credit and paid. Otherwise the idea however good it is may never reach
>> the screen.

>
> As I said, you don't know what the idea is -- it is not suitable for
> taking to a production company.
>
>>
>> I've never seen a credit roll with one person's name on it. Its for a
>> reason.

>
> This project isn't one that entails credits. However, please feel free to
> keep making judgments based on assumptions and no information whatsoever.
>
>



 
 


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