So yesterday I started a post promising 10 great tips to pitch scripts by – to help you when pitching your idea to a producer or commissioner. Here’s the second half of that post and whilst I can’t promise you a green light or a golden statue, these guidelines will certainly help you make the most of the opportunities that come your way.
6. Only push the projects you whole-heartedly believe in. Both producers and writers can be guilty of having a bottom drawer of also-rans and it’s tempting to go for the in-it-to-win-it mentality. But before you go there, let’s take a moment to ponder that cos I’m pretty sure nobody won a popularity contest by overloading an already busy commissioner (or producer) with half-baked ideas. Trouble is, if you submit your less-than-best work, expectations regarding your other work will end up being lowered also – not a good place to win anybody over from.
7. Be realistic – you won’t get a 500k-per-episode idea commissioned for a 100k-per-episode slot, take your producer’s advice on where projects should be submitted (see previous point) and make sure you understand each channels particular tone and style for yourself.
8. Do not resend a new version of a rejected idea unless invited to – hard as it might be to accept, if it was anywhere near close to actually happening, the producer/commissioner would have been involved in the redrafting.
9. Don’t get upset if another writer pips you to the post. It happens. There you are slavishly working on a great idea, only to discover that another writer is developing the same great idea and, worse, just got said great idea commissioned to series. Yes, it hurts. And it will never be as good as your version. Accept it, blame it on the zeitgeist, the boogie and timing – we are all inspired the same way. Try not to be bitter, instead take comfort that you were on the right track – and will be again
10. Finally, a word on commissioner/production company relationships. Whilst it is never sensible to put all your eggs in one basket, it is a bit like dating, be very clear if you’re not being exclusive and don’t allow a producer (or commissioner or agent, for that matter) to assume they are your only port of call if that isn’t the case. Honesty is always the best policy. My advice? Don’t two-time. You cannot develop the same project with more than one company or producer at any one time. If in doubt as to where you stand – ask – just like you would in any relationship. And if you’re not getting any joy or response to your carefully crafted submission, remember there’s plenty more fish in the sea and move on!