Re: How to pitch an idea to Discovery channel?

"Spex" <No.spam@xxxxxx> wrote in message
Steve Guidry wrote:
Awwww, Paul, go easy on the guy. (grin)

He's just giving you a bit of what we all go through when we "have an
idea". Everyone weighs in, and most of them are uninformed - - even some
of the folks who might be able to give the project the go-ahead.


P. S. Email me prtivately, and I will give you a name of a guy at a
ewll-known prod. co. who might know who you can pitch this to . . .

Didn't he make himself clear? He doesn't need any help.

I never said anything of the sort.

Reading. It's fundamental. ;)

"PTravel" <ptravel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
"Spex" <No.spam@xxxxxx> wrote in message
PTravel wrote:
"Bryan Heit" <bjheit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
nobody special wrote:
I had a friend try to pitch a show to them. Discovery has a small
number of "favorite son" production companies that feed product into
them. Your only real hope is to go thru one of them, and once you
they basically make you sign over the idea and most of the control
the idea to them (as well as most of the profits). You get a small
piece of it unless you can retain some producer credits on it.
This is probably the only route to go, but I don't think it is the
"death sentence" you make it out to be.

Firstly, if you look at what is needed to make a documentary of the
type which appears on Discovery, National Geographic, etc, its pretty
obvious you need a full production team. For the "average"
documentary of this quality you'll need:

Film crew(s) + audio crew
Audio technicians/editors
Video technicians/editors
Host(s) and/or narrator(s)
Script writers
Lawyers (for licensing, releases, and so forth)
Music composition (or licensing)
Someone to keep everything on track (Producer)
Plus directors to keep all of the sub-groups organized

Although one person can do all of these jobs (I've done all of this
for some of my own work) it is doubtful one person could do all of
these jobs well enough for Discovery-level production. Not to
mention the vast amount of time it would take to make a single

But this doesn't mean that you'd have to give up control, or make
very little $$$ from it. For example, if your documentary involves a
technical field you could easily work not only as a creator, but as a
researcher/consultant. If you're decent at writing you may also be
able to do work as a writer. Any stock footage you may have may also
be used - either for the planning of the footage they shoot, or used
directly in the production. All of these would give you additional
input into the work, and probably get you a little more $$$.

Another option to consider is approaching a smaller (i.e. local)
broadcaster first. This would give you the opportunity to develop
the show, be it with fewer resources, but this would give you greater
control over the project. This way you have the opportunity to
develop the show, work out the bugs, develop a small team, etc,
before you approach discovery or a larger production studio. You're
far more likely to be taken seriously if you come to them not with an
idea, but with a project that has some history - even if its just a
small show which runs on a local station.

I appreciate your taking the time to post this, but to pull it back on
track (and as I posted originally), this is not an idea for a
full-length episodic program, nor is it something that requires a full
production team. I don't intend to say any more about it because I
don't wish to disclose the idea, but I'm perfectly capable of
executing it myself (in SD, for which my prosumer gear is completely
adequate) and without additional crew (beyond what I already use). As
for clearances, I only need music, I have a source for that, and I'm a
lawyer who does licensing, so legal formalities are not a concern at
all, as I will handle them myself.

He gave you good advice.
Neither he nor you know what the project is. His advice is completely

I bet my mortgage that you don't get anywhere close to getting your
programme made and aired on Discovery.
Quite likely. This is a long shot.

Without wishing to be rude I've seen your travel videos on your
website and I don't think that level of quality should ever be seen on
No offense taken. My travel videos on my website aren't the project.

You cannot edit for toffee.
Perhaps, perhaps not.

If you show any of those videos you'll be shown the door. I promise
you that.
I'm sure you're right, which is why I have not intention of showing any
of those videos.

So many assumptions, here. So many of them wrong.

Climb down off your high horse and listen to Bryan's advice.
Bryan's advice is inapplicable to my project. Even if I wanted to,
there simply isn't anything for all those production people to do. One
of the first things a lawyer learns is, before giving an opinion, find
out all the facts. That's good advice, too.

Have you even rung Discovery Channel to ask about submissions?
No, I thought I'd start here.

A simple phone call should be sufficient to determine how a pitch or
submission should be made.
An a simple post is simpler.

You should be aware that Discovery has some extremely fierce
requirements you have to adhere to.
Which you could have shared with me, I suppose, in response to my post.
Instead you chose to lecture me about my project and my talent, neither
of which you have sufficient information to judge.

The best advice anyone will give you or should have given you is to
leave it to the pros.
What should I leave to the pros? What was my project again? Oh, yes --
you don't know have any idea at all.

Take the idea to a production company and they'll be honest with you as
to whether the idea is a goer or not. They may even be able to run
with the idea, come at it from a different angle, sell the idea to
Discovery and get it aired. You play a part in the making of it, get a
broadcast credit and paid. Otherwise the idea however good it is may
never reach the screen.
As I said, you don't know what the idea is -- it is not suitable for
taking to a production company.

I've never seen a credit roll with one person's name on it. Its for a
This project isn't one that entails credits. However, please feel free
to keep making judgments based on assumptions and no information