Make Reality TV & Documentary Series with Joke & Biagio – Producing Unscripted: Transcript for Episode 003
You can listen to the episode here:
Biagio: It is episode 3. After last episode’s cliffhanger, the wait is over. Today you’ll learn the most important action you can take to help yourself succeed in reality TV and unscripted film and television.
We give you four insider secrets to instantly increase your odds of teaming up with us on your reality TV ideas or documentary series concepts.
And Joke reveals what I’ll be doing…for the next 38.4 years.Biagio: Hey everybody welcome to Episode 3 of Producing Unscripted. She’s Joke.
Joke: And he’s Biagio.
Biagio: And we make unscripted film and television and we want to help you do the same, hopefully by teaming up with us. Whether on a reality TV concept, documentary series, or other unscripted television concept.
Reality TV, Documentary Series, and Unscripted Television: New Website for This Podcast
Biagio: Now just a quick update, we have a new website for this podcast.
Episodes will always be available on our blog as well.
But at the Joke and Biagio blog, well, that’s going to continue to have posts of interest to all filmmakers and all things filmmaking.
At Producing Unscripted, the additional posts are going to be specifically about making, selling, and teaming up with us in reality TV, documentary series and feature docs.
Joke: Yeah! The other nice thing is that if you are looking for the show notes for these episodes with the associated links, the things we talk about, just head over to http://www.ProducingUnscripted.com/ whatever the number is of the episode you are looking for.
If you wanted to find show notes for this episode, you’d head over to www.ProducingUnscripted.com/003 which shows you that Biagio has high hopes of producing at least 999 episodes.
With a bi-weekly premiere,that means we’d have episodes for 38.4 years. Gee darling! Do you know how old you’ll be?
Biagio: You know what, it doesn’t matter how old I’ll be. It’ll only matter how old I’ll feel. And if we’re still doing what we love, I’m going to feel like a 16-year old kid.
Joke: Good good gracious!
Biagio: Yes! So this is Episode 003 of potentially 999.
Now, of course, if you want to keep up with the possible 38.2 years or whatever it was. How many was it?
Biagio: 38.4 years of episodes we hope to do, the easiest way is to subscribe over at iTunes or wherever you subscribe to your podcasts at.
Please go ahead and do that and as new ways to listen to the show become available, stitcher, miro, etc, will be added to the front page of http://www.ProducingUnscripted.com
Joke, did we end the last episode on a little bit of a cliff hanger?
Joke: We, or you?
Joke: Yes, you sure did darling.
Biagio: Notice how Joke refuses to take credit for the cliff hanger. But here’s the good news. The wait is over.
Joke: The wait is over.
Working In Reality TV or Showbiz Period – Up Your Odds
Biagio: We wrapped up the last episode by telling you that there was one thing you could do that would simultaneously make us want to work with you.
Protect your idea in a way only you can and instantly increase your odds of having a career in the entertainment industry.
This is the one thing almost no one who pitches to us does. And it’s the one thing we did that really gave us a career.
Joke, what is the one thing we are talking about?
Joke: Make yourself valuable.
Make Yourself Valuable
Biagio: Make yourself valuable.
Here are four things you can do to make yourself valuable when pitching your reality TV show or documentary series to us.
Joke: Something you should know, however. I would say my advice, kind of straight to the point—you’ve got to have more than one.
Biagio: Definitely! I list four. Don’t pick just one and say “I did it!”
Joke: Try to knock as many of them out as you can.
Biagio: Number 1. Find a great real life character.
1. Find a Great Real-Life Character
Joke: Any one that really pops where you’re like, “Wow! People just cannot stop talking about this person. They walk in to a restaurant and everyone starts eve dropping on their conversation.”
When you look at what the Robinson clan has done on Duck Dynasty…those are just true bigger than life characters.
You cannot imagine what they’re going to say next. Part of the success or Jersey Shore is they had a handful of must-watch characters. Who are these kids?
Even when you look at Survivor, you have Boston Rob or Richard Hatch. These are bigger than life characters that you have to watch.
When you meet someone like that or you know of someone like that, they are potentially a great TV show.
Biagio: If they could read the phonebook and it would be interesting, that’s a character you want to put on TV.
Joke: Sign them up
Biagio: Sign them up.
Number 2 a to make yourself valuable: Provide access to a unique world.
2. Provide Access to a Unique World not Yet Seen on Reality TV
Joke: If you have contacts or you know of something that we just have not seen on television—just like the alligator hunting season that became Swamp People, or the guys doing gold mining for Gold Rush.
Or even the world of exclusive concierge services, even mothers to be that turned into Pregnant in Heels for Bravo.
Any one of these worlds that you’re like, “Wow! People just have not seen this and it’s fascinating.” Again, sign them up. That is something that could potentially be a great TV show.
Biagio: And that’s a unique world that could be right in your own backyard. Some of you are listening and don’t live in New York or Los Angeles. Guess what? You’re at a real advantage right now.
A Unique Reality TV World could be Right In Your Back Yard
You may live in a middle of nowhere but there might be this totally awesome world in your own backyard that’s completely normal to you and none of us have ever heard of it.
Look around. Is there an interesting unique world we haven’t seen on TV before? Something that’s visual and active? Go in and figure something out. That is great way to make yourself valuable.
Number 3. Attach an exciting property.
3. Attach an Exciting Property to your Reality TV Idea
Joke: Whether it’s a big recognizable brand or an intellectual property, like a book or a podcast or anything else.
If there is something that can bring money to a project or credibility to a project, that’s something to sign up whether it’s big name, like, you know to people who run Cirque du Soleil and you can have all access.
Caesars. We did Caesars 24/7. Someone brought Caesars Palace to them and said, “All access to Caesars Palace.” That is a valuable commodity that’s something that can make you valuable to a project.
You CAN Do This, Really. Honestly. Here’s the Thing…
Biagio: This might sound like something you could never do. Let me tell you something. Our very first show we ever did was a show called Foody Call on the Style Network.
That came from a book that someone had published themselves called the Cook Your Way into Her Pants. This was not a best seller. I don’t even know if it was in bookstores at the time.
But a friend of ours went to bat and teamed with the author, got permission to develop it into a series and that ended up becoming the first show we ever made.
So, properties are out there. You don’t have to necessarily go get Donald Trump or Beyonce. Maybe you can find some really excellent book or podcast or anything else that’s branded.
It doesn’t have to be Pepsi. It could be a small local brand that’s really interesting, that is an existing property that you could bring into the equation and that could be the jumping off point for a potential television show.
Number 4. Wow us with a specific filmmaking skill.
4. Wow Us With A Specific Filmmaking Skill
Joke: I can tell you right now. If you are really good at something, professional level good at any one of the line items in the show, it can make you extremely valuable to a project.
I can give you the low-down, the inside scoop: DPs and editors make the most money.
Biagio: They do.
Joke: If you can hit one of those line items, you’ll be sure to be attached to the project and be able to make some money. But again, you need to be able to prove yourself for that.
We’re not just going to take your word for it that you’ve done a great job shooting family videos or editing local commercials.
Biagio: Or that you can run great interviews or that you can handle a cast or organize a terrific shoot.
Joke: It really is not enough for you just to tell us you have a great skill. You have to be able to prove it. And how do you prove that Biagio?
Biagio: Well, you prove that with great tape.
Prove You’re a Reality TV Producer with Great Tape
Here’s the thing about great tape. We’ve written a lot about what making great tape means and I’ll put some of the links in the show notes.
Also, the prerequisite for pitching to us is signing up for our newsletter. Our newsletter is full of tips aimed at helping you make what we call great tape.
I can’t judge if you have a great character or unique world or an exciting property or if you have any skills whatsoever, if I don’t see some kind of tape.
That does not mean you need to go broke making a tape. Just the opposite.
What you need to do is manage your resources to give us little bits at a time so that we can help you decide if there’s a show there.
We’ll be talking a lot more about the process of pitching to us and making great tapes in future episodes. But for right now what you need to know is when you discover a great character, a unique world, or an exciting property, you need to prove that you’re going to bring some value to the project by making some kind of tape.
And to get started with that, head over on to https://producingunscripted.com/newsletter/.
Sign up for that because that is full of tips that will get you started as well as some other post that I will put in the show notes.
Joke: We know we’ve given you four tips on how to make yourself valuable to a project. I have one extra one.
Biagio: Is this a bonus, Joke?
Joke: Consider it a bonus.
Biagio: Bonus number 5.
Joke: You make yourself valuable by having a great personality.
5. Have a Great Personality for Reality TV — Here’s How.
And what I mean by that is we all get busy, we all deal with lots of people.
If you are someone that is a joy to deal with, that is easy to communicate with, that asks questions but never the same ones twice, who is learning from the process, who seems interested and learning and growing, and a great communicator all around… that’s someone we want to partner up with.
Biagio: Because if this show is a hit, we could be working together for 10 years in the trenches. I mean, we’re going to get up close in personal. You’ll be spending hours with us.
Joke: Production is like going to war. You have to find the partners you’re willing to be in the trenches with. Because there’s going to be late nights, stuff is going to go wrong and we have to be able to rely on each other to get through it.
And therefore, personality is a big thing. And that’s not just in the people we team up with or people whose ideas we team up on. It really is also in our hiring. We’ve been around this for a little bit and I tell you what, if you have a great personality, it’s going to go a long way.
Biagio: To recap, five ways – four plus one bonus – that you can make yourself valuable in pitching us a show:
Recap: Reality TV – 5 Ways to Make Yourself Valuable
- Number 1. Find a great character.
- Number 2. Provide awesome access to a unique world.
- Number 3. Attach a unique, interesting property.
- Number 4. Prove you have some really awesome skill and do that by making a tape which we need to see to prove the first three, anyway.
- 5. Please be nice. Please be someone we want to work with for 10 years.
And bonus number
Joke: To wrap things up remember, make yourself valuable and the world will take notice, or at least we will.
Biagio: Now you know how to make yourself valuable but you don’t yet know the secret words every unscripted TV professional uses to present their pitches to Hollywood.
Joke: Is this another cliff hanger?
Biagio: No, no, no! Well it’s a little bit of a cliff hanger.
Joke: Is this what we call a “Next-On Tease?”
Biagio: This is a Next-on Tease.
Joke: Got it.
Biagio: Yes it is. Next time, on the show, that’s when “Next-on” comes from, we’re going to be giving you the five magic words of pitching reality TV and documentary series.
And we’re going to teach you how to use them.
And if you make yourself valuable to your project, like we talked about today, and come in using these 5 magic words you will have our undivided attention.
So don’t miss our next episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes or wherever you subscribe to podcasts.
And if you do like what we’re doing here, please give us a rating or a comment at iTunes.
That will really help us out a lot. And thanks for spending a little time with us today. It means a lot to us that you came out to listen.
Joke: Thank you so much! And we’ll see you next time.
Biagio: See you next time! Bu-bye!
Helpful and Related Unscripted TV Links:
Read our in-depth page about how to pitch us a show. It also talks about what it’s really like to work in our business, the unscripted TV and film industry.