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#1 Justin Marx

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 07:33 PM

I'm quite interested in making a documentary. I have never made one and have never worked on one. So I'm a bit in the dark about what I need to do..

I want to pitch the idea to The Discovery Ch HD.
I would love to talk to someone who has been in this situation and has been successful (dream I may).

What do I need to do before I can give them my idea?

I think my idea is great, and my way to go about it as well, but who doesn't think their idea is the best.

Do I need to write a script?
How do I write a script for something that I can't predict? DoI write a mock up of how I would like it to happen?

Do I need to have a friend make an AICP budget?

I wrote a basic treatment with what I want to do. I gave it three acts, and what I would like to cover in each act. Is that enough?

I will only want to do this if I can shoot it on HD. It will not have the same effect on any other medium. I LOVE FILM!! DONT GET ME WRONG!! But It's the clarity and look of 1080i that I need!

How do I get them in my back pocket?
What I don't want to do is be a know it all and give them so much information that they just go ahead and say, go do it yourself.. Or should I? heheheh

Thank you for any and all information you can provide.
- - Justin Marx
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#2 John Ealer

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 08:28 PM

I'm quite interested in making a documentary. I have never made one and have never worked on one. So I'm a bit in the dark about what I need to do..

I want to pitch the idea to The Discovery Ch HD.
I would love to talk to someone who has been in this situation and has been successful (dream I may).

What do I need to do before I can give them my idea?

I think my idea is great, and my way to go about it as well, but who doesn't think their idea is the best.

Do I need to write a script?
How do I write a script for something that I can't predict? DoI write a mock up of how I would like it to happen?

Do I need to have a friend make an AICP budget?

I wrote a basic treatment with what I want to do. I gave it three acts, and what I would like to cover in each act. Is that enough?

I will only want to do this if I can shoot it on HD. It will not have the same effect on any other medium. I LOVE FILM!! DONT GET ME WRONG!! But It's the clarity and look of 1080i that I need!

How do I get them in my back pocket?
What I don't want to do is be a know it all and give them so much information that they just go ahead and say, go do it yourself.. Or should I? heheheh

Thank you for any and all information you can provide.
- - Justin Marx

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


1. Discovery Channel is actually one of the more difficult places to get into. Not that you can't do it, but they tend to use the same group of vendors. They also often ask for submissions to be sent via e-mail, which I personally would avoid.

2. You should do more research on how documentary cable shows are made, and how they are structured. They don't use AICP budgets (which are for commercials and music videos) and they rarely use a three-act structure. Neither script nor budget will matter for the pitch, since the real way to sell them anything (epecially if you haven't worked for them before) is to make a trailer / pilot for the show. You can obviously start by writing a treatment, and that may get you in the door, but it's really unlikley you'll sell your show to anybody who doesn't know you unless they've got something they can watch on their TV.

3. While I admire your enthusiasm for your format of choice, don't get too married to it. After all, there are lots of othe outlets out there that still produce stuff on SD. Outlets who might get turned off by the fact that you're dead-set on one particular format.

4. Unless you have some significant credits in some other part of the industry, you're going to have difficulty getting a job like this if you've never made a doc before. Your best bet is to team up with a person or company who has more experience in this realm that you and who can help you shape your vision.

J
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#3 drew_town

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 08:29 PM

Well you can't write a script obviously because it's a documentary. You can, however, write an outline. You need to have already done all the research for your project prior to pitching it, unless there have been some financial issues, mainly so that you sound like you know what you're talking about. That'll help you focus you documentary. You need to explain why your documentary needs to be made and why you are the right person to make it. Don't go in blaring about what camera you want to use and stuff like that. Wait until after they pick it up to talk about that stuff. Bring your research notes, pitch, a tentative schedule, budget, and contact information with you to the pitch. Be ready to answer questions because they'll have them.
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#4 jasarsenault

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 11:01 PM

I have recently pitched a project to a couple of diferent broadcasters with a bit of success. Some of the questions I was asked by all of them include: What is it about? What are we going to see? Whats it going to look like? What is the beginning, the middle and the end? How much will it cost? Where will you get the money? What format?

I realize you can never truly know all these answers at the pitching stage. I also know you cant truly know the end, but these are some of the questions that have come up from different broadcasters, all concerning the same project I was pitching.
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Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

CineTape

Technodolly

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

Opal

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

The Slider