Planet DMA offers full reality show development tools and services from casting and pitching through greenlight.

HOW TO SELL A REALITY SHOW

Choose the current stage of your project below to see custom steps and the best Planet DMA tools and services.

Your First Creative Step

Attach pitchable (yet removable) talent for your project. They don’t have to be famous, but they do have to have big personalities and a structurally sound, present-day story (for docuseries) or a singular expertise and existing audience (for everything else). For more guidance, see The Show Starter Reality TV Made Simple System, Chapter 5|Retaining an Attorney and Attaching Talent).
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Your First Business Step

Immediately execute a deal with your talent and any other partners on the project, with an entertainment attorney who has done unscripted/non-fiction/reality TV projects before (our business model is unique).  Stop all creative work and and conversations until your agreements are drafted and executed (see Chapter 5|Retaining an Attorney and Attaching Talent). Members of our online group can instantly access industry attorneys in our databases.

It is your job to find a new cast of characters and/or place them in a new setting that the industry has not yet explored and, frankly, exploited for entertainment purposes.

—The Show Starter Reality TV Made Simple System (Chapter Five)

Your Toolbox

The Q&DMA BLOG

The first factor would be determining what you are contributing to the pitch and how it is valued by the buyer. If you are a reality TV industry professional with strong contacts in the production or network world for shows such as this, then you are in a good position to stay attached if the…

See all Q&DMA blog posts for reality TV producers →

The BOOK CHAPTERS & ONLINE GROUP

Whether this is your first reality pitch or an early draft of your latest pitch, use the book to revisit the five critical components of a sellable reality show then commit to prepping more than one version of this show and more than one show, overall (step-by-step guidance is in Chapter 4).

Joining the Online Group gives you access to established entertainment attorneys and a private Facebook Group where you can connect with other producers as you work.

See all Books & Services for reality producers →

The RECOMMENDED READING+VIEWING

Before you start drafting your pitch, research excellent reality and/or digital projects with our curated and updated Recommended Reading+Viewing lists. (step-by-step guidance on leveraging a custom research lab is in Chapter 3).

Can you spot all of the elements of story in the first two minutes of this reel?

The DATABASES

If you’ve joined the online group, start with the attorney database and make sure each partner on your project has signed a formally drafted collaboration agreement, addressing ownership, exits and more (see Chapter 5|Retaining an Attorney and Attaching Talent). Until a signed deal is in place, do not start or continue to collaborate on a screenplay.

See all Databases (online group members only)

Your First Creative Step

Build a database of similar shows. This gives you three critical insights: 1) if this exact show been produced before (or is it currently on air), you’ll be able to pivot to make yours distinct; 2) if this show never been made before, you’ll want to find out why networks aren’t buying it; and 3) if there are similar shows (format, genre, talent) currently on air, you’ll know the networks that might buy it, as well as potential production partners. (For more guidance, see The Show Starter Reality TV Made Simple System, Chapter 4|Crafting Your Pitch and One-Sheet).
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Your First Business Step

Develop your submissions strategy while you are polishing your pitch. Identify and research possible production partners (companies and/or showrunners), distributors (e.g., networks), markets (domestic and international) and platforms (broadcast, cable, digital and/or mobile).  You must have that information to craft versions of your pitch that fit each target (see Chapter 10|Practicing Your Pitches). If you’re a member of our online group, schedule time to review the production company database and network database and further explore those partners online.

In the course of creating your show, you will go through three phases of budgets. The first is your “ballpark budget.” This is not so much a line item budget as it is a practical estimate of what it will cost to produce an episode of your show.

—The Show Starter Reality TV Made Simple System (Chapter Seven)

Your Tools

The Q&DMA BLOG

Q: I created and pitched my reality show to Exec. Producers who are very well known in the business. They loved my idea and pitched it to a major network who wants to go straight to pilot. They are sending out there own trucks and crew to film the first episode a 3 day shoot…

See all Q&DMA blog posts for reality TV producers →

The BOOK & GROUP

You may be reluctant to draft a 5-15 page detailed treatment for a show you don’t even have a pitch meeting for (see Chapter 6). Don’t bypass this step!  The treatment doesn’t just rescue you in the room. It forces you to prove that your show is executable. If you aren’t excited to dive into how this show will be made, then you will not excite anyone else. Start developing a new pitch.

Once your treatment is solid, you also want to ballpark a budget for your show (see Chapter 7). This doesn’t just help you determine likely (or necessary) distributors for your project; asking for your “episodic” is a litmus test frequently administered by gatekeepers that stand between you and a sale. Joining the online group gives you access to a Line Producers database to help you prepare financials.

See all Books & Services for reality TV producers →

The DATABASES

If you’ve joined the Online Group, start with the production company and network databases to start researching the locations, content mandate and brands of potential partners (see Chapter 8|Practicing Your Pitches). You also can find credentialed line producers and network with fellow producers in the private Facebook Group.

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See all Databases (online group members only)

The CONSULTANT

Planet-DMA_write-pitch-sell-reality-show-screenplay-digital-project-sl2If your pitch and treatment still don’t jump off of the page, contact DMA for detailed development notes and proposed fixes for your project. This isn’t just top-tier script analysis evaluating your work; these are advanced notes guiding you through fixing the elements that aren’t working yet.

See all Consulting Options for reality TV producers →

The MAGAZINE

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                The Write It, Pitch It, Sell It Flipboard magazine brings you curated industry news on show sales, TV and digital production, executive shuffles, buyer brand shifts and more. Subscribe to our magazine for daily updates in your inbox (or to your stunning Flipboard mobile app), or check Planet DMA’s home page for news that can help you position your script and its pitch.

                The TWITTER LISTS

                Follow our curated industry Twitter lists, and your own Twitter stream will update constantly with news, deadlines, events and more from from TV and digital networks, production companies and thought leaders. And be sure to follow @PlanetDMA for updates on how to write, pitch and sell your reality show.


                Your Next Creative Step

                Strategize the type of reel that will best sell your show. You only have three minutes, of which potential partners generally will watch only one. Do you need a sizzle reel to drive home the premise, a talent reel to showcase the stories of the main cast, or a casting reel to prove there are enough compelling participants to get you through 100 episodes? (For insight into reels and their risks, see The Show Starter Reality TV Made Simple System, Chapter 6|Crafting Your Treatment).
                ..

                Your Next Business Step

                Finalize all legal documents with your attorney. This includes: collaboration agreements with partners, talent deal memos with option language, executed options on any underlying intellectual property or required assets (e.g., books or locations that are inextricably linked to executing the show) and anything else that allows someone other than you and you alone to claim ownership to your show or to stop it moving forward if you get a pick up. As you pitch, it also may include waivers/releases that companies may require you to sign to memorialize your submission (see Chapter 9|Setting Up a Pitch Meeting).

                During pitch practice, test your reels—as in, play them all the way through. If you cannot sit patiently through your own reel, it is too long or dull for an exec to endure. Re-edit.

                —The Show Starter Reality TV Made Simple System (Chapter 8|Practicing Your Pitches)

                Your Tools

                The Q&DMA BLOG

                While I cannot recommend an individual agency, if your company already has shows on the air, you are right to consider an agent at this point.  All of the major agencies have a presence in non-fiction in NYC, as do smaller ones that often specialize in non-fiction and reality programming. Because so often access to…

                See all Q&DMA blog posts for reality TV producers →

                The BOOK & GROUP

                Once you’ve completed a one-sheet and shot a reel, you will be tempted to start setting up meetings. Don’t go into pitch meetings with a single show! Network brands change, production company relationships shift, and you are going to work too hard to get into that room to be done in two minutes because you have no answer to, “That’s off-brand for us; what else do you have?”

                Once you’ve completed research of potential network and production partners, go back to Chapter 4 to start building a robust pitch database so you can bring at least three developed projects into every pitch.

                See all Books & Services for reality TV producers →

                The DATABASES

                If you’ve joined the Online Group, start with the full Submissions Calendar with an eye on industry conferences and program deadlines that are a fit for your content and professional expertise. Remember that conference registrations for pitching and networking opportunities should be part of your overall budget for shopping a show (see Appendix A|Seed Money Expenses). You also can post specific inquiries to the private Facebook Group, where you can network with fellow producers.

                ..
                See all Databases (online group members only)

                The CONSULTANT

                Planet-DMA_write-pitch-sell-reality-show-screenplay-digital-project-sl2If your show and reel aren’t yet exciting agents, buyers or other partners, contact DMA for detailed development notes and proposed fixes for your project. This isn’t just top-tier script analysis evaluating your work; these are advanced notes guiding you through fixing the elements that aren’t working yet.

                See all Consulting Options for reality TV producers →

                The MAGAZINE

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                              The Write It, Pitch It, Sell It Flipboard magazine brings you curated
                              industry news on show sales, TV and digital production, executive shuffles, buyer brand shifts and more. Subscribe to our magazine for daily updates in your inbox (or to your stunning Flipboard mobile app), or check Planet DMA’s home page for news that can help you position yourself as a producer and your shows.

                              The TWITTER LISTS

                              Follow our curated industry Twitter lists, and your own Twitter stream will update constantly with news, deadlines, events and more from TV and digital networks, production companies and thought leaders. And be sure to follow @PlanetDMA for updates on how to write, pitch and sell your reality show.


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