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Friday, October 12, 2012

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.




3 Comments:

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?

By Blogger sean, at 10:36 PM  

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.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:12 AM  

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.

By Blogger Lisa Hunter, at 3:28 PM  

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