Last episode ended with a cliffhanger: the one thing you could do to instantly increase your odds of unscripted TV success. For that matter, success in any area of Hollywood (and life.)
- Top secret tip to instantly protect your creative process, stack the odds of unscripted TV success in your favor, make us want to work with you, and give yourself a career (yes, it’s that important–and this applies to more than unscripted TV, it applies to just about anything you do in life.)
- Four insider secrets to increase your odds of teaming up with us.
- What I’ll be doing for the next 38.4 years
Unscripted TV: The One Thing You Must do to Succeed
The problem with most unscripted TV pitches (or any pitch for that matter) is that people walk in with their “big idea” and think it’s enough.
- “My unscripted TV show follows homeless people.”
- “It’s a reality show where x number of guys/friends/family members travel around and do a/b/c/d…
- “It’s a documentary series about life in the white house.”
- “It’s a competition game show that’s like Survivor but it’s set in the Arctic.”
These are the kinds of things we hear over and over from newbies. Every single one of those one-liners is useless.
What Can You Do Instead?
Okay, if you haven’t already pressed the giant “Play” button at the top of this post, and want to know the one thing that will make all the difference, not only in unscripted TV, read through the spoiler below.
While we humbly suggest reading it after listening, be sure to read it at some point. This spoiler adds some valuable things not mentioned in the podcast:
The one thing you can do to radically change your career path in not only unscripted TV and film but any endeavor is to:
Make Yourself Valuable
You need to bring more to a pitch than just an idea.
There is no such thing as I’ll just submit ideas to Hollywood.
When Travis and Steve, the guys who pitched us what became Caged on MTV wanted to break into unscripted TV, they pitched us “a small town in Louisiana where mixed martial arts was replacing football as the sport the whole town came out for.” Was that enough?
No. Not even close.
In fact, that was one of about five “ideas” the guys pitched us that day. And there was nothing we could do with any of their one-line wonders, including that one.
However, when those same guys came back with great footage they had shot, proving they understood what it took to make great unscripted TV, they became valuable, as did their “idea.”
We immediately teamed up, helped them finish the tape, and rushed it to MTV.
More than a year later, Caged was praised by Sports Illustrated as the unscripted TV version of “Friday Night Lights” and Travis and Steve had their first show on the air.
So what are some ways you can make yourself valuable in unscripted TV, meaning reality TV, documentary series and specials?
Five Ways to Make Yourself Valuable in Unscripted TV
- Find a great real life character
- Provide access to a unique world
- Attach an exciting property
- Wow us with a specific filmmaking skill
- Have a great personality
More details in the podcast. Be sure to listen.
Helpful and Related Unscripted TV Links:
UPDATE: Transcript now available!
To find out how to pitch your shows to us (and not the one-line variety we skewer above), you just have to do one thing:
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: