Filmmaking / Directing : TV Comps/Ad Rates Business Plans et al by Jason C la la Torre

Jason C la la Torre

TV Comps/Ad Rates Business Plans et al

Hey folks, quick question. Our Prod Co has at least 3 television series/TV movies on our slate for 2015/16 but since its our first time venturing into TV we had a quick question for a business plan. Is it expected to have comps in the BP for a TV series? I would think you would and if I'm correct, how do you compile that data? I know for films you can use IMDBPro and Box Office Mojo for comp statistics like budget cost, box office earnings, etc but where do you find that info for TV? I'm assuming there would be some modifications like ad rates and ratings vs. money earned but potential investors want to see how they're making their money back. Is there a TV business plan template or is it basically the same as film? Thoughts, suggestions?

Regina Lee

Are you trying to sell your TV projects to a network/studio, or are you trying to get international sales projections?

Jason C la la Torre

Hi Regina, as we all would, I'd love to team with a network or studio to finance and produce our projects but since we're just starting out I'm not sure what the likelihood of that is. We were trying to find a way to finance at least a pilot for each of the shows on our slate so we have something to show the Networks or streaming services that we were capable of producing a quality product. We know who we want to be as a company. We're genre fiction - Sci-Fi, Mysteries, Action/Adventure, Horror, and Fantasy (maybe even Westerns). We're also focusing on STEM outreach trying to provide "Edutainment" by teaching kids through our stories. For example, Doctor Geek is a comedic sci-fi show about a Doctor and his team dedicated to find out why we don't have a flying car, bio-printing, privateering of space and what not. The investigation of these things leads to all sorts of hijinks (many that parody existing Sci-Fi tropes and shows) but we learn from the engineers and people who are actually out there trying to create these things - like Space X - so we can learn where we are with these innovations. A spoon full of sugar approach if you will. Same thing with our show Continuum Force. While the premise is Stargate meets Doctor Who, we aim to be as historically accurate as possible and teach our audience a little bit about history. The Psalm 23 Mysteries (based on the crazy popular novels) has a religious diviersity element to it. Tex Ravencroft, an Indiana Jones-esque action/adventure, uses real archaelogy (the author of the book series is an archaelogist). You get the drift. Our experience to this point has been in audio production (Doctor Geek). We've got creative ideas coming out of our ears (it helps that we have a NY Times Best Selling author as a founding member of our company), but what we need is more capital to get the productions started. I guess the question really is - Is the only way to finance a television pilot by teaming with an interested network? If that's the case, do you need a business plan or just a script, series bible and a connection to entice a network?

Regina Lee

I know my reply is reductive, but the short answer is that in your case (and in most cases), you don't need any projections. If you're going to pitch a network/studio, they will be able to intuit the overall viability of your projects and whether or not those projects are a fit for a network's particular audience. If they feel the projects are not a fit for them at this particular time, no Excel spreadsheet is going to turn the tide. In feature films, a marketable concept can land a sale. In series, the viability of the writer and/or showrunner plays a huge role in whether or not a buyer sees your project as viable.

Jason C la la Torre

No, that makes a lot of sense! So we'd need to get an experience show runner/producer attached to help boost the profile of the projects. Thanks so much for taking time to reply!

Regina Lee

Doing the work to hook a viable showrunner or a viable non-showrunner-level writer would be my Plan A for sure for a series. Not a particularly easy task, but a game changer.

Rod Barnes

I'd be forced to agree with Regina. Rod Barnes from Nightforce Productions, and from experience I can say that going with an experienced showrunner is a good way to go...

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