Secrets of tv formats, no 6

Continuing the short series of advice regarding the development and marketing of tv formats.

6. Believe in what you do – in fact, you’ve got to love it

You have a brilliant idea for a new show. You can see the story line, you can see how the excitement builds, you know where the climax is going to come and you firmly believe that the pay-off will be good enough to keep the viewers coming back.

There’s only one thing that’s not really right. You see yourself as a serious documentary maker, and this brilliant idea is a game show – a lot like Weakest Link only feel good and with a really funny and engaging twist. It’s even interactive, in a logical and fun way!

The development work goes a bit slowly, because you’d rather be doing documentaries. The sales pitches aren’t really up to scratch, because you’d rather be selling – yeah, documentaries. In the end, you come back home from MIPCOM, a pile of business cards in your bag but no deals, no signatures and nothing better than an “interesting idea, do get back to us when it’s been broadcast for a season somewhere!” as feedback.

To create a great format you have to love it. It’s perfectly alright to hate it at times as well, but the bottom line is – you have to love it. When pitching your idea to someone, nothing shines through as much as a non-really-interested pitcher. The pitchee will immediately sense this and think “well, if the MAKER of this format isn’t interested in it, why should I be? Next!”.

Love it. Hate it, scream at it, throw it in the bin from time to time. But ultimately, you have to love it. Or else, let it go.

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