Featured Image Credit: asterix611 – TV development: It only seems appropriate to touch on the topic considering it is the first stop in creating any sort of project, whether it be a short film, a feature or a television series. This post will focus on developing a factual television program because that is where my experience lies.
TV development is very appealing to many people because it offers a lot of creative opportunity but getting into development can be quite difficult. There are not always specific departments dedicated to developing new projects, sometimes it is something that an executive does on the side of their everyday work. To get into a proper development team is a rare thing, at least here in Canada.
TV Development and What You Need to Know
First and Foremost Watch TV:
One of the main reasons that I got the job that I currently have in TV development is because I love TV. I watch TV in all of my downtime and not just a few shows here and there. When the regular seasons are airing I am watching a minimum of 25 new episodes of TV every week and on top of that I watch TV while I’m making dinner, doing laundry and cleaning my home. The more knowledgeable you are about what is on TV and what people like to watch the better you will be at creating shows that are missing on TV. Make sure you are watching shows of all genres, watch a good mix of drama, reality, comedy and lifestyle.
Make Cold Calls:
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call people that might be able to help you. Even if you have never met them and don’t know a thing about them, give them a call and see if they can help you with what you are looking for. You will be surprised how easy going and helpful people can be.
Read and Watch the News:
The news is going to be covering the most popular and current events of the day and week. There is a lot to be learned from the news about what is important to people, there are many ideas to be taken from the news. It can be as simple as hearing one story and realizing the potential for an entire series from it. Stay on top of current events, development is all about getting your foot in the door first.
Talk to your Friends and Family:
You might be surprised at the kind of connections you have, talk to friends and get them to think about people they might know that could be interesting on TV. You might have friends and family with connections to some really cool and interesting people, places and things. Get your friends and family thinking, use them as a networking tool.
Never Say Too Much:
You never know who is listening, when talking about work and projects, be as vague as possible. Try to get as much information out of people but don’t let them do the same to you. Keep your lips sealed, your ideas are your worth and if someone else takes them then you might not be making much money.
Get to know people that work in the industry and make friends, you never know how people can help you out, don’t burn bridges. Get to know as many people as possible and get to know what kind of shows they are looking for, always be looking for your next idea. The better connected you are and the more people like you, the easier it is to get a meeting and hopefully a commissioned project.
You will probably be juggling a bunch of different projects and ideas all at once, make sure to keep a diary, you don’t want to miss meetings or appointments. Write everything down and follow up on loose ends. People don’t always get back to you, make sure you know which emails, phone calls and meetings need to be followed up on, you don’t want to miss an opportunity because you forgot to set a reminder. Don’t double book yourself and give yourself enough time in between appointments to make it on time.
These are just a few of the things you will come across while working in TV development, you have to be alert and stay focused, development is very fast paced and it is easy for things to fall through the cracks. Always follow up on things and write things down, it is easy to forget when you are working on 10 different projects. Keep up to date on current and worldly events and always be creating. All ideas are good, they may not take all the time but your idea can spark someone else to make it into a show. Don’t be afraid to bring ideas forward, the more you are creating and thinking of good ideas the more likely a good show will be developed. Have no fear and have fun, TV development allows you to be very creative and can be a great environment for learning and creating.