We just came off of an exhilarating – and exhausting – weekend shooting a cable network pilot for a huge, formatted TV show. In our sleep-deprived, semi-delirious state, it occurred to us this is the perfect time to discuss something we’re asked about often: making TV pilots. Rather than just blathering on (we did mention we’re a little loopy, right?) we’ve put together a list of 5 practical tips to both explore how TV pilots work, and help you when you’re out making TV pilots for yourself.
Making TV Pilots: Part Art, Part Science, All Sweat
Once you’ve been in the TV business for a while, getting the greenlight to make a TV pilot is cause for huge celebration…and reason for total terror. We’ve learned that, like hopping on a roller coaster, it’s best if you throw your hands up, scream real loud, and try hard to enjoy the ride.
Aside from that little nugget, we’ve got five real tips that are actually practical and useful. These five tips will help you when making TV pilots of your own.
Keep in mind that, in general, making a TV pilot is one of the most demanding things you can undertake. There are hundreds (thousands?) of things that can go wrong, endless decisions to make, and deadlines that are both unrealistic and unchangeable.
Some of what we cover today:
- The Golden Rule (not what you think)
- TV networks, execs, and TV pilots – what you need to know
- The art of flexibility (and knowing when not to flex)
- Ensuring you staff properly, and why hiring can be counter-intuitive
- Where to draw inspiration — and find cautionary tales — for your TV pilot
- What socks and underwear have to do what any of this
- What turns Biagio into a curmudgeon
NOW… press that giant red “PLAY” button above and rock the house when making TV pilots.
Transcript Coming Soon!
Helpful and Related Links:
Should You Film Your Own TV Pilot? Pros and Cons. Think twice, three times, ten times — before you put a dime into your own TV pilot. When to do it, and when not to do it.
Further explanation as we discuss 3 Reasons You Should Not Film Your Own TV Pilot.
On the flip side, we talked about 3 Reasons You Should Film Your Own TV Pilot.
If you’re REALLY sure you want to set about making TV pilots on your own, here are 5 Rules For the Hands-On Producer Filming Their Own TV Pilot.
Seven Weird Tips to Survive Production – don’t go out to shoot anything without this list!
Why we’re editing on Adobe Premiere.
Scary things about producing TV shows including working with TV Network Executives.
Looking to pitch an unscripted TV series or reality show? This free e-book on how to pitch reality TV and unscripted television has everything you need to know!
Want the “cheat sheet” to pitching shows to us? Pitch Shows to Joke and Biagio.
Dying to start Making TV Pilots?
Okay — you listened to today’s podcast and know making TV pilots is something you’d love to do? Have an unscripted TV concept and like to team up with us? Here’s how:
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: