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Old 03-18-2018, 09:13 PM   #1
Onalos
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Indie TV Pilot?

I know that most independent filmmakers will eventually want to make their feature film and get distribution for it. At least that's the plan right?

What's the plan if you want to sell a TV pilot? Is it a similar process? You get a good idea, write a series outline, write a script, cast, and film the pilot and then you can sell it? Or how does the process work?
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Old 03-18-2018, 09:20 PM   #2
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Good luck.

I don’t know a network that will even look at an unsolicited pilot. If you aren’t established, and you aren’t working through a showrunner familiar to the network, you won’t get a foot in the door. Complicating things even more, most all networks have a policy that anything submitted to that network becomes property of the network. That means you lose rights to your idea the moment you send it in.

Your best bet for series work is to start a YouTube channel or similar and build up a following if you can. Produce multiple episodes. Then, if a network takes notice (either on their own or because you or someone else pointed them toward it) it isn’t a submission. They’re auditioning something that already has a track record for being published.
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Old 03-18-2018, 09:57 PM   #3
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I think the cast made their own pilot for "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."
Research how they got picked up.
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Old 03-19-2018, 12:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buscando View Post
I think the cast made their own pilot for "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."
Research how they got picked up.
Of course! So, you just need to have Danny frickin' DeVito signed on to direct, produce, and act, and you're all set!
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Old 03-19-2018, 12:45 AM   #5
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DeVito came in their 2nd season & saved the show from cancellation.
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Old 03-19-2018, 12:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buscando View Post
DeVito came in their 2nd season & saved the show from cancellation.
According to the show's wiki, they were able to pitch it via direct access to TV execs. Seeing as that's not something regular people can just do, I don't think that qualifies as "indie". The fact that DeVito had to sign on to actually make it work seems to reinforce that idea.
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:17 AM   #7
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They got a 1st season done without DeVito.
How did they get direct access to the execs?
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:20 AM   #8
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Best best is, create something that is good enuf to become a viral hit on YT to garner attention.
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:24 AM   #9
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Ya that's the best way to open doors.
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Old 03-19-2018, 02:02 AM   #10
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Basically if you don't have connections you have to draw attention to yourself with the content. It's the only way.
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by indietalk View Post
Basically if you don't have connections you have to draw attention to yourself with the content. It's the only way.


There is a Duch book called Calimero-marketing: marketing for small businesses.
In short: you can't compete with the marketing budgets of the big boys, so you need to do things that draw attention to you. Or in this case, as Indietalk says, to your content:
make it stick on the internet, create attention in the (local) press, write about it, vlog about, get noticed. And then maybe...
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:15 AM   #12
directorik
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They way “It's Always Sunny” got picked up is a fun story, isn't it?
The two creators were working actors with several credits and
plenty of connections.

That is the process; Work for several years and build a healthy
contact list and good reputation. It could be on YouTube with millions
of followers.

Write your series outline, cast and shoot the pilot and put it on
YouTube. Then post new episodes each week for 6 months. Build
your audience, promote like crazy, get several million subscribers
and the TV exec's will notice.

Or follow the path of the creators of “It's Always...”; become a
working actor, network like crazy and then write and shoot a pilot
that is good enough to get the attention of the TV exec's you know.

Many series creators are writers who work they way up from freelance,
selling an episode here and there to staff writer to associate producer.
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Old 03-19-2018, 02:24 PM   #13
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Had to dig around to satisfy my curiosity.
It's not that easy to find a mention of how they got in with the execs.
Rob McElhenney's agent & manager got him the network meetings.
He only had "a handful of credits," mostly minor roles.
So it's varying degrees of do something great & have great connections. Easy!
https://www.indigoprod.com/nyc-video...-philadelphia/
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:20 PM   #14
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buscando View Post
It's not that easy to find a mention of how they got in with the execs.
Rob McElhenney's agent & manager got him the network meetings.
He only had "a handful of credits," mostly minor roles.
So it's varying degrees of do something great & have great connections. Easy!
Yep. Easy.

An actor with a few credits and an agent will find doors to TV execs
a little more open than a writer/director/producer with a great idea,
a series outline and a finished pilot.

Theirs is a unique story which is why it is often mentioned. Not a typical
path.
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Old 03-20-2018, 03:01 PM   #15
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This is basically why most people start with indie features. Hoping it will help get some attention on them.
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