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How to get a TV series commissioned?

Discussion in 'education & employment' started by lighterthief, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. lighterthief

    lighterthief Well-Known Member

    Serious thread. If you think you have a really good idea for television series (factual, not drama), how would one go about seeing whether anyone wants to commission it? Who do you need to speak to, how do you present the idea? Also, how can you stop people ripping off your idea without giving you credit? Is there such a thing as copyright of ideas? :confused:

    I have zilch knowledge about this. Anyone work in television?
  2. Dillinger4

    Dillinger4 Es ist Zeit

    Watch that Charlie Brooker program. That will tell you all you need to know.
  3. Paulie Tandoori

    Paulie Tandoori shut it you egg!

    hackney-on-ice :cool:
  4. T/C

    T/C New Member

    You need to speak to the commisioning editors at the major broadcasters.

    Probably the easiest way of doing that is to take your idea to an independant production company that already has a relationship with one of these people. Not sure about copyright, but I reckon you'd be right to worry about that, tele is pretty cutthroat and the indies are the worst of them all!

    How to make a pitch
  5. laptop

    laptop Freudenschade

    No idea.

    You can't: you can merely drop signs that you will make their life the nearest approximation to hell that you can manage if they do.


    BECTU/PACT production agreement

    Consider joining the Writers' Guild and asking their advice.

    Nope. None at all. Copyright protects only the way you express an idea.
  6. lighterthief

    lighterthief Well-Known Member

    *steals idea* ;)

    Thanks for the replies folks - really helpful. I won't give up the day job just yet, but might try and at least research it further and write a good treatment.
  7. like T/C says, go to production companies with your idea, if you know the type of programme your idea is like then check out who makes then (such as RDF etc) then approach them and see what they say, commissioning editor within broadcast companies want the whole package, which includes the production company etc so going to them is probably not a good idea
  8. T/C

    T/C New Member

    Try to stay away from RDF:eek:

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    And all the other splinter companies that are also in fact RDF and in fact make pretty much every TV programme going that isnt made in house at ITV or the BBC.
    They are super ace at ripping off your ideas (channel 4 seem to have ripped off two of my ideas but it could just be chance that I pitched to them years before). If you dont already work as someone who thinks up programme ideas in a production house then I doubt getting your idea off the ground is going to be easy. I work in a better position than most to get something on the telly but have only really come up with two programmes that got a series out of the many I have submitted. The way it has worked for me is knowing that there is a slot to fill and filling it with the sort of show they want, not the other way around (is it a teatime family slot? Does it need to be regional? Do they want something with animals in?). You then have to pitch to them how cheap it is going to be, who can sponsor it and who it can be sold on to. I am still the proud producer of the lowest ever amount a TV show has ever been commissioned for (and I came in under budget).

    Channel 4 have a sort of scheme for young hip producers but will take you and your idea to princess or RDF etc but at least if you get in that way C4 will look after your interests to an extent
  10. basher t

    basher t New Member

    Watch this. Charlie Brooker on selling your TV idea:
  11. electric.avenue

    electric.avenue lots of work to be done

    My advice:

    Submit it to the BBC Writer's Room:


    Here there is also lots of advice on how to get started.

    Have you actually drafted it out yet? It is one thing to have a "good idea" and quite another to turn that into a finished script.

    Good luck.

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