When you start talking to a network, studio, or even a production company, one piece of creative material becomes crucial… your style guide. But what is a style guide? What goes in it? And why do politics and psychology play a huge role in how you put it together? Today, we’ll answer all those questions, plus give you real world examples of how we created style guides for three of our own television shows.
Style Guides Will Save Your Career
Style guides are crucial because they allow you to communicate your vision for a reality television show to those who are paying you to make it.
Once you’ve learned how to successfully pitch a reality show, and you have a network excited aboutyour concept, the real work begins.
Nothing is more frustrating than shooting and editing an entire project only to learn that the network or studio had something completely different in mind.
Style guides solve that problem.
What Goes in Style Guides?
You’re putting together a style guide? Why? What’s the point of making one?
Essentially, a style guide is a semi-fancy document with big pictures, large fonts, and few words, that presents tangible examples of how your TV show is going to look.
Here are your goals with a style guide:
- Present a clear vision of the show you want to make, so that your clients (the network, studio, or whoever) get it. This prevents surprises later.
- Write the style guide in a way that specifically works for the psychology of the exec who’s reading it (we go over this in today’s podcast.)
- How your show will look, feel, and sound
Sounds simple enough, but as we’ve learned over the years, creating style guides is like playing chess. Strategies, contents, and goals for style guides change with every project we take on.
Just some of the points about style guides we cover today:
- Why different projects -and networks – require different kinds of style guides.
- When to use flowery language, and when not to.
- How the themes and challenges of a show can shape it’s look and feel.
- The process we went through making style guides for three different TV series.
- An update on how to find out what shows we’re looking for right now.
- What “emotional velocity” has to do with any of this.
And so much more!
Hit the giant “PLAY” button above and learn to make perfect style guides that will save you time, money, and possibly, save your career.
Transcript Coming Soon!
Helpful and Related Links
Dealing With Network Notes – another thing you must do if you want success in Hollywood. And believe us…you’ll get notes on your style guide!
Steal This Editing Secret to Edit Film and Video Like a Pro – What we say in this post about editing tapes and creating graphics goes for style guides, too. It’s not that you need to find specific style guides for reality TV shows, but you should look at documents that are professionally laid out, and steal what you like.
Okay, you probably already have a great show you want to pitch us, so we can all make some terrific style guides together. If that’s the case, here’s what’s next:
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.