Pitch Reality TV Shows with 5 Magic Words

Pitch Reality TV Shows with 5 Magic Words

>>Announcer: Welcome to Producing Unscripted
with Joke and Biagio. Youtube enhanced version. Clickable table of contents in description
below. This episode…>>Biagio: It’s Episode Five. Today, sound smart when pitching unscripted
television by using five magic words. Let me tell you what they mean and why they’re
so important. The first question Joke’s going to ask if
you’re pitching us a TV project. And I’m experiencing a little separation
anxiety. I hope I can make it through this episode.>>Announcer: Music courtesy of Dave Pelman
music. davepelman.com.>>Biagio: Alright, hey everybody thanks for
joining us for Episode Five of Producing Unscripted. She’s Joke.>>Joke: And he’s Biagio.>>Biagio: We make unscripted film and television
and want to help you do the same, hopefully by teaming up with us. Well, I have to admit something. I am getting ready to experience some separation
anxiety because me and Joke have a lot of projects going on right now and Joke is going
to go on the first part of a road-trip without me. Aren’t you honey?>>Joke: I am. I’m going to miss you babe.>>Biagio: I’m going to miss you. This is horrible. This is what happens when you have a successful
company and you’re working with your wife. At first it’s fantastic because you’re
like, “We get to be together 24 hours a day!” and then you have so many shows going
on that you have to divide and conquer and oh my gosh, listen; I am better when Joke
is around. I will just say it. I am not ashamed to say that she has made
me a better man. Whew! There, I said it.>>Joke: Aww. We’ll be fine babe. You’re coming out a couple days later.>>Biagio: I am. It’s only for a few days. I shouldn’t complain. You know, me and Joke are still very hands-on
in a lot of these pilots and we’re going to be running around with a couple of cameras,
aren’t we honey?>>Joke: Yup. It’s going to be fine.>>Biagio: I love shooting and editing. That’s why we do this!>>Joke: Yup.>>Biagio: Hopefully, it’s why you want to
do it too.>>Cheerful Woman: Musical break!>>Biagio: Now, if you listened to the first
episodes, we’ve been laying out a little bit at a time things you need to know to team
up with us. Well today, we’re going to give you five
incredibly powerful words that will number one, make you sound like you know what you’re
talking about, when you’re pitching reality TV shows and documentary series. And number two, if you listen to what we have
to say and you understand how to use the words, you will know what you’re talking about. So, Joke, without further ado, what are these
Five Magic Words that we’ve been hitting at for several episodes?>>Joke: Self-contained, Arced, Format, Docu
and Hybrid.>>Biagio: Ooh, great fancy words.>>Joke: The reason these five words are important
is because you’ll come in with a world or character and you’ll say, “Oh! I have this fantastic idea!” and the very
first question coming out of my mouth will be, “Is this a Self-contained or an Arced
show?” and the second question will be, “Format or Docu?” and if you do not know
the answers to that, I’ll know that you do not have a show concept.>>Biagio: And what if they say Hybrid?>>Joke: Huh! Well, they still didn’t answer the first
question.>>Biagio: This is true.>>Joke: Okay. So let’s start with the first question,
Self-contained or Arced? If you think about, “The Bachelor” that
is an Arced show, meaning that every episode continues based on the last one and that by
the end of the season, it’s leading to something. So most of the competition elimination shows
are Arced shows. They are the ones like “Survivor”, “Amazing
Race”, “Big Brother”>>Biagio: Our own shows, “Beauty and the
Geek” and “Scream Queens”.>>Joke: “Scream Queens.” In every episode, someone gets eliminated
where you get a mini-arc per episode but still leading up to the big one at the end. Arced shows are mostly broadcast network shows. NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX. They want you to tune in every week. That’s what their bread and butter is. They want you to keep coming back. A Self-contained show is exactly that. The entire show is contained to one episode. So when you are laying around the house on
a Saturday afternoon and you see those marathons of episodes, if you can air them out of order,
it’s a Self-contained show. Are you still with me here?>>Biagio: Right. Give us an example of a self-contained show.>>Joke: “Undercover Boss”, which is a
CBS show is also Self-contained. But most Self-contained shows live on cable. They very much rely on the audience member
just to tune-in. They may not watch every episode and they
may not watch them in order. So, while some self-contained shows have arced
storylines; for example, if you follow a season of “The Kardashians”, you will see relationships
progress or stories unfold over the course of a season. But most of those episodes are satisfactory
just in and of itself. There is a problem that presents itself in
the beginning of an episode, they try to solve it and there’s some kind of resolution towards
the end. So, those are Self-contained episodes. If you are coming up with a multi-million
dollar show an episode, you better come up with a way that it’s arced, because there’s
very few people who will pay for a very, very expensive self-contained episode. “American Idol”, arced. “The Voice”, arced. However “Singing Bee”, self-contained. So there are versions of these kinds of shows
that you can do self-contained. Cable does some arced shows as well. “Project Runway” obviously is an arced
show. “Top Chef”. Again those are a lot of competition elimination
shows. So again to recap, arced shows, you can’t
air them out of order. They really kind of go from beginning to end. Think elimination competitions. Self-contained shows, beginning to end, I
can watch one episode and I get it. I can air them out of order and it’s good
to go. Excited Woman: I like totally feel myself
getting smarter right now. Booyah!>>Joke: So the other three words, is it a
Format? Is it a Docu, or is it a Hybrid?>>Biagio: Let’s break it down. What is a Format?>>Joke: A Format relies on tent-pole moments. It means every episode, certain things will
happen. So for example, “Undercover Boss” is a
Format. The boss goes undercover, he has to do certain
tasks, he comes to some kind of realization, he meets back-up with some of the employees
he was with and rewards them or comes to some kind of resolution. Obviously, “The Bachelor” is a Format
show. Every episode starts with a few dates and
then they all culminate into a rose ceremony. “Survivor”, you have the immunity challenge
and the rewards challenges and leading up to tribal council. So if there are certain things that are absolutely
going to happen every episode, it is a format show. True format shows are the ones where there
isn’t even a regular cast. You can swap out the cast. So, the “Undercover Boss” every episode
is with a new company owner, its new company employees. That is a true format. You could sell it around the world, the people
can come in and out of it, it is a format show.>>Biagio: And by the way, another thing that
I want to point out is that a format show can be either self-contained or arced. Right, Joke?>>Joke: “Undercover Boss” is a self-contained
format. “Survivor” is an arced format.>>Biagio: So these words are words that you’re
going to need to mix together to make us understand what kind of show you’re pitching to us. We’re going to keep going here.>>Joke: “MythBusters” is also a format
show. “Dirty Jobs” is a format show. Yes, Mike Rowe and the guys at “MythBusters”
are kind if big characters in it, but technically, you could replace them. It sure might not be as good, they found really
good talent to host those shows but yet, the format of it could be sold all around the
world and they could put in their crazy guys or you know…>>Biagio: They could put in their Asian Mike
Rowe or their Singaporean Mike Rowe. Singaporean, is that a nationality or did
I just make that up?>>Joke: I’m not sure if that’s a word
but we can go with it.>>Biagio: All right. Anyway, you get the point.>>Joke: So that’s format. Docu comes obviously from the word documentary. docu-series, there’s docu-drama, there’s
docu-comedy and that all relies on the characters. Most docus you can’t sell overseas and have
them recast it because the key to success of that series is your cast. “Duck Dynasty” is a docu. It’s a docu-sitcom. It’s very funny. But it’s a docu. If you look at “The Kardashians, it’s
a docu; lives on its characters. There’s not a lot of docus in broadcast
television.>>Biagio: They’ve tried them but there haven’t
been a whole lot that have really stuck.>>Joke: CW is playing around with a few, like
“Breaking Point” which is a Ballet docu but most docus live in cable. It’s where the audience for those shows
is. They get to invest a little more in to characters. And also, cable networks can give a show a
little bit more time to find an audience, where big networks can’t. And so, if you don’t come up with a really
big hook right off the bat, which most docus don’t, you need some time to grow it.>>Biagio: So that brings us to…>>Joke: So that brings us to the one that
most shows fall in to, which is a hybrid. You find a hybrid because it has these amazing
characters and you have the docu stuff but it has these format-able elements. “Millionaire Matchmaker” is a format but
because of the character of Patty being so strong, it’s really more of a Hybrid because
you’ll follow some of her own personal life drama and then get back to the format of the
week which is: she’s hooking up certain millionaires, finding dates for them and hopefully
making a match. So, most shows fall somewhere in the middle. I think that comes from the fact that formats
are very reliable for an audience. There’s a reason “Law and Order” has
been running for so many years. We like our tent-pole moments. We like knowing when we turn on the television,
are we in the first half of the episode or the last half of the episode? There is something about Docu series that
are a little harder and they require more from the audience in terms of truly just investing
in them. And so the Hybrid, which is what most shows
end up falling in to, is really great because you have those repeatable format elements
that keep coming back; that keeps an audience coming back but it really is relying on these
great characters.>>Biagio: Our own show, “Caged” was a
Hybrid show and let me talk about why. We had great characters, first of all. I mean as far as the doc part goes, “Sports
illustrated” called us “The Real Life Friday Night Lights”. That’s all because of the kids. It was those kids. Those kids were real. They were amazing. You were invested in their stories. However, every single week had a format to
it. Right, Joke?>>Joke: Every week, every episode, we led
up to a fight. So you always had your A-story line of someone
who is going to have to fight at that episode. And so, you could follow their stories. So that is something that’s always there. And then the relationship sagas which is true
docu were weaved in and out throughout those episodes. So honestly, could you watch them out of order? Possibly, but not too much. Therefore, it’s not really a Format. You really did kind of want to get invested
in the characters in the Docu of it but we did add a Format element in terms of every
episode, you would have the fight of the week. I mean, sometimes it was two fights of week
but you’d have at least that fight-of-the-week storyline to follow.>>Biagio: I loved making that show.>>Joke: It’s a great show.>>Biagio: Probably our favorite show we ever
made, right?>>Joke: Until this point.>>Biagio: Until this point. I mean, it was…>>Joke: I hope that’s not going to be it
forever.>>Biagio: No, no, no! I mean until this point. It was amazing. Those kids were amazing. The stories were amazing. And that’s an example of MTV letting us
go out and shoot a doc for like nine months because we just filmed and filmed and filmed. How many thousands of hours did we have again?>>Joke: I don’t know but we had about 600
scenes shot and we ended up only airing about, I think between 100 and 120.>>Biagio: We left more good scenes on the
floor than a lot of shows ever have in the first place. I was just — and that was completely because
of those kids; the town of Minden, Louisiana who let us in to film.>>Joke: And Shreveport.>>Biagio: And Shreveport. I’m getting nostalgic now. I miss those kids. But it was a wonderful experience to get to
shoot that and its experiences like that, that make us want to work in Unscripted.>>Joke: Right. Well looking at some of the other shows we’ve
done, Rhett and Link’s “Commercial Kings” was much more of a Format. It’s more in the “MythBusters” kind,
where you have a Format with really strong characters. You can absolutely air those out of order. If we look at…>>Biagio: “Scream Queens”
>>Joke: “Scream Queens”, it is 100 percent an Arced Format. You don’t want to air those out of order
because then, all of a sudden you would go from there’s six girls left, to there’s
two girls left, to there’s eight girls left, to there’s one girl? But you know, so it doesn’t really make
sense. So that’s an Arced Format. “Commercial Kings” was Self-contained.>>Biagio: “Foody Call” was Self-contained. Every episode, our host would come in, help
some guy makeover his place, makeover his cooking skills, have a romantic date.>>Joke: Exactly.>>Biagio: Format, cast doesn’t matter. You can swap out the hosts. Totally Format.>>Joke: So what we’re looking for right
now from you guys is, one, start looking at television and start figuring out the homework
I gave you by watching TV. So now really look at those shows and go,
“Oh, is this Arced or Self-contained? Is this Format, Docu or Hybrid?” If you know those five words and when you
pitch us a show idea, you already can tell us where in the TV landscape you see this
fitting? You’re already half of the way there.>>Biagio: And by the way, most people will
never pitch to us that way. That’s why I want to give you these tools. It makes it so much easier for us to know
where you’re coming from and for us to help you get the show on television. Okay. If you’ve been listening to all of our episodes,
you now know Who We Are, How to Submit Your Show Concepts to Us, What It Takes to Make
Yourself Valuable to A Pitch, The Steps to Develop a Show without Going Broke and The
Five Magic Words of Pitching Reality TV. Next time, we’re going to give you Secrets
of Spotting Great Characters. How to know if an everyday person will make
a good TV show. Where to look and what to do when you find
someone you think is Unscripted Television gold. Don’t miss it! So please be sure to subscribe at iTunes. It’s really easy. Just go to producingunscripted.com/itunes
and if you could leave us a comment and a rating, it would mean the world to us and
let us know you’d like us to make some more of these. So, until next time.>>Joke: Thank you so much!>>Announcer: Producing Unscripted with Joke
and Biagio.

15 Replies to “Pitch Reality TV Shows with 5 Magic Words”

  1. 5 Magic Words Will Change How You PItch!
    Walk into any unscripted TV pitch in Hollywood, use these words correctly, and instantly be taken seriously.

    Now come pitch us some shows! 🙂

  2. I so love you both! thank you for making my worries go away with your phenomenal "Pitch Reality TV Shows" videos. I had this idea and quite sure who I want to pitch to, but needed your trainings! I don't need to write anymore on my idea. I just need to FOLLOW what you shared. I am sick and tired of doing nothing with my ideas. You changed me. I'm busy until Aug 23rd with a family block party. Starting the 24th, I will live your trainings!! you are truly the best! Watch out for me… .

  3. This is great! – We need to connect; I think we might be able to collaborate.  Thanks so much for making this.  🙂

  4. Hello my name is Alisha and recently I just did a video about my family. I feel that my family will be a great reality show as you watch my partner and I raise 7 children in a beautiful suburban area outside of the Dallas, TX metroplex. Considering that I am a recently Published Author from a book that is a documentary of my twin sister and I Prison story. Identical Twins, Identical Crime, and Identical Time in addition before our book has been re-released by the publishing the book was picked up to be a movie. I feel that the show could be centered around my life with my children, spouse and the book that is coming out and add the book tours on the show. When I submitted the video I spoke very little about my book because someone told me the company might have thought I was trying to promote my book and they wouldn't want that. My video is centered around my children life, relationship and my life. Should I have added the fact that I am an Author and Inspirational Speaker? My twin sister and are so identical most people can not tell us apart, and the book even when it was self published did very well. Please help me know what to do with this unique story considering I am an Author, but I am also a lesbian who knew she was a lesbian all of her life but never accepted who I was until I was 30 years old. By that time I had 7 children which included 2 sets of twins THAT'S UNIQUE AS WELL, AN IDENTICAL TWIN WHO HAD 2 SETS OF TWINS. I feel that it is a good show. In addition I titled it Not Your Average Family simply because its not your average family, or story. Please contact me and if you would like more information on who I am or to give me more detailed directions on how I should further present my vision of Not Your Average Family.
    Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to educating myself further from your input.

  5. Hi, great videos. We're already filming our ghostly adventures in the UK, but could do with a few pointers on the next steps to take. We film & produce and air to our YouTube Channel. We are now producing our first "Self-contained Hybrid" production of our latest paranormal investigation with factual history of the location, the haunted claims and our ghostly finds and footage from the night. Please do check out & subscribe to our channel to see if we are someone you could consider collaborating with. Many thanks 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for coming right on time. Great information. See you soon. Love Peace and Happiness.

  7. This is awesome information.  I have a great show idea that I've been working on and I'll be in touch soon.  I'm super excited!

  8. I have been watching your videos, which are very helpful. My question is if I want to pitch a reality TV show or any TV show for that matter am I able to be in said TV show?

  9. Hi guys! Saying hi from Venezuela, and thank you very much for sharing your experience. When I saw your first podcast on YouTube my heartbeats went faster, I got excited because I could have one of my ideas be exported!

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