Someone recently asked, "Who should I pitch to?" They had already shot a web series, had been receiving great reviews, and were interested in pitching it as a series to a network. But they didn’t know where to start.
The advice I give to anyone seeking to know where and to whom they should pitch their idea is this.
It’s always best to do a mind map or mind dump when attempting to figure out who to pitch. First, if you haven’t already done this, you want to get to the core of what your show is about so that you can get it into the home of your most perfect viewer. Many times I hear people say, "I want to pitch to all the networks." But, your project can't be perfect for everyone! Your project is unique to a specific demographic and you need to figure out who that demo is.
To establish who the ideal audience is you first should know the themes of your show and to whom you have created it. Clarity is key here. Ask yourself, what is my show about? Is it about finding Love? The thrill of a challenge? Forgiveness or life after divorce? Is it a show for hopeless romantics, troubled women, damsels in distress, single women DIY’ers, or is it a guy – humor type of show? For 25-49-year-olds?
The more info you can dump into your map, the better. It’s almost like the car commercial where the man says, “I want a car.” And every car known to man fills the television screen. Then he says, “A red car,” and immediately all of the other cars that aren't red exit the screen. Then he becomes more and more specific about the car he wants, "A sedan." Until he's left with the car of his dreams.
Your mind map should do the same for you. The more you brainstorm about the themes, demographics, and other important attributes your of your show, the narrower the network lane becomes. And this is okay. Your show will not be perfect for everyone.
After you’ve done this, you can create a wish list based on the networks that share the same demographics and themes.
A great question to start with is: What shows on television are similar to mine in topic, mood and tone, and demographics and what networks are they on? Similarly, you can do the same for your films. Which companies have distributed, produced or put out films like mine? When packaging your projects, you can ask what executive producers have produced shows like mine. It may take a little research on your end to come up with a comprehensive list for each of the categories above, but it’s worth it. You certainly don’t want to go to a network, production company or an executive producer and pitch a fast, action-driven, gun blazing, crime-fighting show, and they are known most for doing dramas for women. You are wasting everyone’s time and doing yourself and possibly your career a tremendous disservice!
So, to avoid this career disaster, do everyone a favor and start with a mind map. You can thank me later or in the comment section below. 🙂