In past we’ve encouraged you to “soft pitch” ideas. Unfortunately, we’ve never actually told you how to do that. The result is that many of you are sending in submissions that are not soft pitches at all. Instead, they are broad ideas that hurt your chances of success. That ends today. You’re about to learn how to soft pitch the right way. This will help you focus your resources, decide which projects to spend time on, and impress the heck out of us.
What’s A Soft Pitch and Why Should You Care?
A soft pitch is a discussion about a potential reality TV concept or doc series. You have this discussion when you’re wondering if you should spend more time developing the project. (Something we went into in our guide on how to pitch a reality show.)
If you decide to soft pitch, it should take place:
- AFTER you’ve you’ve found a real person, place, business, or other interesting thing to build your show around.
- BEFORE you film anythnig.
Why Give a Soft Pitch?
When you’re just starting out, you’re developing in a vacuum. You don’t know what networks are buying, or what kinds of shows are total no-gos.
Today, at Joke Productions, our reality TV production company, we talk to agents and network execs every day.
Chances are you don’t yet have that luxury.
That means there could be issues with our project you have no way of identifying on your own.
Potential Issues With Your Pitch
Your concept might be a MOP (Most Often Pitched.)
As an example of a MOP, don’t spend a bunch of time on a ghost-hunting pitch right now. (There are so many straight-forward ghost-hunting pitches out there it would be a long shot. If you’re compelled to shoot it anyways, at least you know it probably won’t get to air.)
Or you might have discovered great characters very similar to a project recently purchased by a few different networks. If you’re not talking to agents and network execs every day, you wouldn’t know this.
By soft pitching to the right people (not an agent, manager, or someone you pay to listen to you) you can get a feel for whether a project is worth pursuing.
Soft Pitch the Right Way
Here’s what a soft pitch is NOT.
It’s not just an idea. These are not soft pitches:
- “How about a reality show at an amusement park?”
- “It’s a hyper-real show about divorce.”
- “We find cute girls who are all BFFs and follow their path to adulthood.”
- “It’s a fitness show about looking your best.”
- “A documentary series set at Donald Trump’s mansion. I don’t know the man, but I’m sure with a network on board he’d bite.”
Soft pitching the right way means building your soft pitch around something real you’ve already discovered.
Today’s podcast episode gives you a blueprint on how to soft pitch. It’ll help you avoid the mistakes so many make when employing this technique.
For examples of soft pitches, a “soft pitch clinic” featuring before and afters, and sage advice from Joke on who you should and should not soft pitch, click the giant PLAY button above.
Transcript Coming Soon!
Helpful and Related Links
Don’t Pitch These Four Kinds Of Shows — they are all really hard sells.
Sell TV and Film by Crafting Your Second Hook — you could always work a second hook into your soft pitch, too, it’ll only help.
Why Ideas Aren’t Enough — more ammo to encourage you that ideas are not creative currency.
Okay, you now know how to soft pitch ideas. You also know we’re willing to hear your soft pitches (as long as you listen to this episode first!) So here’s how to get free access to submit those soft pitches (and finished pitches, too!):
Sign up for our newsletter and you'll learn how to submit your unscripted concepts to us. You'll also learn how to develop, pitch, and sell reality TV shows and documentary series, and improve your filmmaking skills. From time to time we'll even tell you exactly what kind of shows we're looking for: