Successful tv formats, no 2

2. Work on your pitch. And when you’ve worked on it, work on it some more.

So, there is this great idea. It’s TransMedia, it’s functioning, it’s sanctioned by all the gurus you’ve brought in on the project, it’s been tried and tested and analyzed on the market, you’ve shot a couple of test pilots and a real, big one, you’ve edited the material and you’ve made the trailer. You’re all set, right?


There are millions of ideas out there. All of these compete for the attention of the buyers and investors, be they acquisition executives at Channel 4 or some investors willing to finance an online experiment or anything in between.

Everyone who’s buying stuff gets pitched a lot of ideas daily. At markets like MIPTV, DISCOP or MIPCOM they get pitched hundreds of ideas. And now you have to, somehow, stand out from the crowd.

That’s where the pitch comes in. You pitch your idea to a buyer, try to get their interest, so you can pitch them a little longer pitch. In five or ten seconds – one or two senteces – you should be able to pitch your idea well enough to catch their attention. This then allows you to expand on your idea for one more minute, and if the interest hopefully still is there, you can go into the full-length, 3 minute pitch.

Now – REHEARSE these pitches. They should flow like water, naturally, with confidence. One good advice I heard was that you have to LOVE your idea. It’s your idea, it’s the greatest ever and you LOVE it! Don’t apologize, don’t diminish your own idea. It’s THE BEST EVER! If they don’t like it, it’s their task to say so.

Don’t overpitch either. Let them in the discussion. Don’t assume that they like your idea so much that they want to hear about all the possible problems you have with your format – that’s a sure way to talk yourself out of a sale.

Be prepared for questions, answer them honestly – and if you don’t know, say so. Don’t try to fool anyone, that’s a good way of not getting another meeting when you have a new idea to pitch.

Lastly – ALWAYS think of the next step! When finishing a meeting, be sure to suggest an action plan – if they liked your idea, make an agreement to talk next week about how to proceed. If they didn’t, wish them well and enquire about if they want to hear about new ideas in the future – that’ll basically give you permission to confront them again, with your next BRILLIANT idea that you just LOVE!

Good luck once again 🙂

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