June 3, 2014 | Posted in:TV Production

 Arise TV shooting at the Cannes Film Festival Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Arise TV shooting at the Cannes Film Festival.
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

If you are considering developing a show for television—whether it’s a reality series, a cooking competition, or any other type of show for that matter—you should know that every TV program begins with an idea. Get started by writing down an outline of the show’s premise. Think about the characters, their names, their respective backgrounds, and their stories. Make sure you have a storyline that differentiates your show from others. When you’re done with that, you can start scripting your first episode.

The next step after scripting your idea is copywriting it. You would be surprised how many people have ideas for a television show, so copywriting your idea is just one way to protect it. You can get the form from the Library of Congress and register your episode with the Writer’s Guild of America. This step is essential in protecting your idea, but keep in mind that ideas are still tricky, because a small change in the storyline will turn it into a different, unprotected idea. This is why you should always do your due diligence and if you need to partner with another producer or production, choose people who are worthy of confidence.

Related Post: What’s  A Sizzle Reel?  (Audio Interview With Deborah Mitchell

 Arise TV shooting at Cannes Film Festival 2014 Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Arise TV shooting at the Cannes Film Festival 2014.
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

When it comes to finding a production company, always try to align yourself with respectable, well-known companies with a good track record in the business. This, along with a good lawyer, will allow you to negotiate a contract that lives up to your expectations. Negotiations take place before shooting the show, and you should know in advance the size of the part you want to play. Are you looking for an active role on the crew? Or do you wish to sign off the idea and walk away with a created by credit? Determining your title early on in the production process is crucial! An executive producer’s job description can vary depending on the type of show, and may involve having a say in the cast, determining each episode’s storyline, or just having your name in the credits, along with a pay check. If this is the title you choose, make sure you have the experience to handle it and know how to deliver!

Related Post: So You Want To Be On TV: Tips For Pitching Your Television Segment

Avoid Development Pitfalls With These Tips:

  • Get an agent. He or she will be vested in protecting you and your idea.
  • Create a YouTube channel and start webisodes! They don’t have to be very long, or very perfect. It’s all about interesting contents. After you shoot a number of episodes, start pushing the show through social media. Be ready when you’re called! It’s a chance and you have to be ready!
  • Find television power players and production companies in the trade paper The Hollywood Reporter, follow them on Twitter, and work your way from there.

Coming up: A Producer Reflects: The Night I Won An Emmy 


Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee. Deborah is Executive Producer of Arise On Screen a global and socially interactive movie review show. If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.

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