Q. I recently pitched an idea for a comedy series to a producer. He loves the concept, but thinks it will be a tough sell given my lack of experience in writing TV comedies. From his seat, the odds would greatly improve if I was partnered with a better-known comedy writer. From my seat, the odds of partnering with a better-known comedy writer would greatly improve if I actually knew one by more than name only.
My two-part question to you:
a. Would an experienced comedy writer be open to hearing a pitch from a writer who has no TV-comedy writing experience with a view toward partnering if the concept and personalities are a good fit?
b. Is there a specific way you’d recommend to approach the more experienced writer?
I think it will be hard to find an experienced TV writer who wants to partner with someone inexperienced.
Most writers have a backlog of their own ideas. Lisa and I have a slew of ideas we haven't had time to write up. It does not pay us to push those aside for something we'd own only 50% of.
I get emails now and then offering a partnership. The few times I have actually partnered with someone inexperienced, because the idea was really excellent, I've wound up doing most of the heavy lifting. In a couple of cases the other person didn't come through at all, and the exercise was a huge waste of time.
So I think it's going to be tough.
I guess what you would do is try to pitch it to a TV writer's company
, if he has one. Then they're set up to take pitches.
Otherwise, query by email. But that's tricky, too. You can't put the idea in the email -- they might forget it was your idea, and one can't copyright an idea. On the other hand what else will get them interested? It's a hard needle to thread. At least in this case you have interest from a producer.
Why not ask the producer if he could hook you up with a writer he likes? If he's serious about the project, he should do that; and the writer will be more open to an idea coming from an interested producer. If he's not willing to do that, he may just be brushing you off politely.
as a newbie writer with zero credits, I would want to pitch not only my great idea, but damn good script to go along with it. Alex: would that improve my odds?
A good script is always helpful, if people are willing to read it. I generally would not agree to read your script unless I knew you personally, or it's a story editing gig.
I'm actually in this same boat with an animation project. The producer wants to attach a show runner, because I don't have that level of experience with animation. But the producer is using her own Rolodex and making the contacts. That's what a good producer does.
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