How To Pitch Your TV Pilot To Cable Networks

Hosted by Jordan Barel

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Jordan Barel

Webinar hosted by: Jordan Barel

Producer at Loaded Barrel Studios

About Your Host Jordan Barel, TV Dept. at Abominable Pictures (Burning Love and Children’s Hospital on Adult Swim): Jordan Barel began his career as a short filmmaker before creating his own entertainment company, Loaded Barrel Studios, publishing graphic novels. His work has won numerous international awards, including the Independent Publishing Book Awards (2012, 2013), The LA Book festival, the Geekie Awards ®, and many others. His studio currently tours around the country and sells their graphic novels in several languages around the world. The company was founded as a way to translate comics to films, leading Jordan to option his books and screenplays with producers such as David Uslan, Brendan Deneen, Jeffrey Erb, and Aaron Berger. He’s developed at studios Chatrone, Unique Features, and Leomark Studios in the independent film space. Currently several of his books are optioned to film companies. Previously Jordan was an Entertainment Attorney who has worked in Business Affairs for New Line Cinema, Generate, Alloy, and AMC. He switched from legal to creative and served as the Television Coordinator for Verve Talent & Literary Agency working with all of the company’s TV writers on their pitches and presentations for staffing season. Currently Jordan works in development for Producer/Actor Paul Scheer and Abominable Pictures in their comedy and TV department. Full Bio »

Learn directly from Jordan Barel, TV Dept. at Abominable Pictures (Burning Love and Children’s Hospital on Adult Swim)!

Once you’ve written the script and you’re ready to get your show idea in front of production companies and executives, it’s important to know how to pitch your TV pilot correctly. A good pitch is often the deciding factor of a show getting picked up or passed on. Aside from knowing how to pitch in the most effective way, an important aspect of pitching your TV pilot that often gets overlooked is knowing how to tailor your pitch to the network you are pitching to.

Cable networks all have their niche. For example, AMC has really honed in on intense dramas, such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men; USA focuses on character driven mystery dramas such as CSI, House, and NCIS; TBS centers around comedy sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory, Ground Floor, and Cougar Town; ABC Family focuses more on sitcoms relating to family, such as Melissa and Joey, Baby Daddy and The Fosters.

Knowing how to tailor your pitch to a specific cable network opens up immense opportunity for your TV pilot. Every cable network can be a real home for your work - it’s just a matter of the how, when, and why. Knowing how to appeal to multiple networks gives your pilot a better chance of getting picked up!

In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Jordan Barel will teach you both how to pitch your pilot and how to tailor your pitch to the right cable network. In addition, he’ll go over what kind of shows live on each network currently, and what may be the right fit for you. You will walk away with a clear understanding of how to pitch effectively (information you can take with you over to the Happy Writers Pitch Sessions!) as well as a clear understanding of how to make your pilot what each network is looking for.

Your host Jordan Barel currently works for Paul Scheer through his producing deal at FOX, working on development with his projects as well as bringing in new writers for him. Jordan also works at Abominable Pictures in their comedy and TV department. Previously, he worked as the Television Coordinator for Verve Literary Agency, producing the company's staffing video which lead to a 200% increase in the company's staffed writers. While there he also vetted all new TV and film clients. Jordan knows what will make your pitch stand out and is here exclusively for Stage 32 to help guide our writers toward success!


What You'll Learn:

  • What is your show?
    • Understanding if it is a comedy, a multi cam, limited etc. and why knowing that is important when pitching.
  • How to describe it to somebody else who’s not your Mom.
    • Because she always understands you and strangers well…don’t.
  • The Executive lifestyle.
    • Be in the shoes of the seller for a moment and then you’ll know what they want to hear!
  • What are the essential elements that need to be said out loud in your pitch?
    • Jaws meets ET - yep, contrary to popular belief, you can meet in the middle.
  • What should you absolutely NOT say in your pitch!
    • “It starts off with” - nobody cares. Sadly.
  • The Bible/Treatment.
    • Where are you going after your pilot? Because if you pitch well, someone will ask.
  • The nuts and bolts of a pilot.
    • Even though it’s just a pitch, knowing structure always helps.
  • What networks are currently looking for.
    • No reason to pitch a Horror show to FX, they kind of have a good one right now…
  • How can your pilot fit those needs?
    • Did you say the main family needs 2 Dads? Well that’s what I meant!
  • TV season – From Development through Staffing.
    • When are people looking to buy, and looking to buy you.
  • The agent/manager/producer game.
    • How to get the right ones, and when they are/are not necessary.
  • When to rewrite.
    • When NBC says it’s too “jokey” does that mean you need to cut the jokes today?
  • The practice pitch.
    • Because the pros spend time as actors rehearsing theirs’ as scripts – shouldn’t you?

About Your Instructor:

About Your Host Jordan Barel, TV Dept. at Abominable Pictures (Burning Love and Children’s Hospital on Adult Swim):

Jordan Barel began his career as a short filmmaker before creating his own entertainment company, Loaded Barrel Studios, publishing graphic novels. His work has won numerous international awards, including the Independent Publishing Book Awards (2012, 2013), The LA Book festival, the Geekie Awards ®, and many others. His studio currently tours around the country and sells their graphic novels in several languages around the world.

The company was founded as a way to translate comics to films, leading Jordan to option his books and screenplays with producers such as David Uslan, Brendan Deneen, Jeffrey Erb, and Aaron Berger. He’s developed at studios Chatrone, Unique Features, and Leomark Studios in the independent film space. Currently several of his books are optioned to film companies.

Previously Jordan was an Entertainment Attorney who has worked in Business Affairs for New Line Cinema, Generate, Alloy, and AMC. He switched from legal to creative and served as the Television Coordinator for Verve Talent & Literary Agency working with all of the company’s TV writers on their pitches and presentations for staffing season.

Currently Jordan works in development for Producer/Actor Paul Scheer and Abominable Pictures in their comedy and TV department.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the format of a webinar? 
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer 

Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A. 

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year! 

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • I took this course earlier in the year last year; it was a good course filled with good information, and some information and other networks that were possible connections to reach out to. Within this type of industry, any and all information that could lead to some new door being opened is always good information - even if it's just knowing that that door exists.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How to Write a Film Based Off an Original Idea or Comic Book Adaptation

To see a video sample of the class, see below! 3 part class taught by Jordan Barel, who works TV Coordinator for Verve Talent and Literary Agency! In the past four years, we have seen The Avengers, Batman Vs Superman, Deadpool, Captain America, Man of Steel, The Amazing Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, The X-Men, The Dark Knight and many other comics turned into major studio films that smash the box office. There is no doubt that there is a demand for super hero and comic-based stories. Have you found a comic that you think would make a great film? Have you ever read a Marvel or DC comic and thought “how did they screw up the movie so bad?” Do you have your own comic series that you think would make a hit movie? Do you dream of being a writer but don’t yet have your angle? Or do you want to write a Major Summer Tentpole based off an original idea? Stage 32 is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 3 part class: How to Write a Film Based Off an Original Idea or Comic Book Adaptation taught by Jordan Barel, who works in Development at Paul Scheer's company, Abominable Studios. Jordan gives you a how-to on translating comic books into film writing, and how to write a summer Tentpole based off an original idea. He covers everything from story structure and dialogue, from legal issues to pitch packets. Here's a sample of what to expect in this exciting Stage 32 Next Level Class: Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Jordan is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate.

Writing Contracts: What You Need To Know

In this Stage 32 Next Level webinar, Jordan Barel (Development, for Producer/Actor Paul Scheer and Abominable Pictures) will teach you paragraph by paragraph exactly what is included in the standard writer's contract. He will cover three different types of contracts: purchase agreement, option agreement, and negative pickup. Jordan will discuss terms in both a legal and practical matter so that you get the information needed to be prepared to negotiate your next agreement. Such things will include material and boilerplate terms, what can or can't be negotiated, and how lawyers themselves will be reading and reviewing your agreement. This will be an in-depth legal discussion walking you through each sentence of a standard purchase and option agreement. You'll also use template agreements as examples to give you a better sense of what these agreements should look like.       **All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about certain types of contracts within the entertainment industry. The information presented is not legal advice and is not to be acted on as such, please consult your lawyer for issues specific to your contract.

Strengthen Your Supporting Characters & Subplot

As screenwriters, it is our job to create well-rounded stories. That means not only having a main character whose journey we follow but also including supporting characters and stories. The addition of strong supporting characters and subplots allows the audience to feel as if your story actually has a life outside of the confines of your script. This is the difference between being a professional screenwriter and someone who writes as a weekend hobby.  In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jordan Barel (Development, for Producer/Actor Paul Scheer and Abominable Pictures) will teach how to bring your supporting characters to life. You will learn how to create characters that are integral to the main plot and the shape of your screenplay. He will walk you through using your support characters to subtly deliver key exposition and give insight into your protagonist.  In addition, Jordan will show you how to use your subplots to strengthen your second act and keep the action moving along. You'll break down various film genres to show how each utilizes supporting characters and subplots so you can apply it to your projects. You will walk away with the tools necessary to deliver a fully developed script!

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