How to Develop, Pitch and Sell Your True Crime Docuseries

Hosted by Phil Claroni

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Phil Claroni

Webinar hosted by: Phil Claroni

Executive Producer at Story House Productions

For over ten years, Phil has worked deep in the true crime television space and produced countless projects for networks such as CNN, Investigation Discovery, Discovery UK, Reelz, and ZDF. After starting on the hit show FORENSIC FILES, where he served as producer, Phil has been a director and lead writer for true crime shows airing throughout the world. More recently Phil served as showrunner for the Reelz series COPYCAT KILLERS and now serves as an executive producer for the company Story House Production. Phil’s decade-plus in the true crime TV world, pitching and selling countless shows to various networks has made him an expert in this space and has given him a keen eye into what makes a murder show sell. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Learn what it takes to get your true crime series sold from a long-time true crime producer with over 100 episodes of true crime TV under his belt. 

Includes a Case Study of a Real Pitch Deck for a True Crime Show

 

For whatever the reason, there is no denying that true crime has become HUGE presence in the television landscape. From TIGER KING, THE JINX and MAKING A MURDERER to more recent limited series like HEAVEN’S GATE and MURDER AMONG THE MORMONS, true crime docuseries have become wildly popular and show no sign of slowing down. Even beyond the banner networks and streamers like Netflix, HBO and Hulu, many smaller networks like Investigation Discovery, Reelz, Oxygen and True Crime Network devote a large portion—if not all—of their slate to unscripted, true crime series and specials. This has led to a very recent explosion in true crime content and an incredible opportunity for content creators interested in this space to find opportunities and get their content sold.

The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to do your homework and understand the true crime docuseries space and what networks are looking for if you want to be noticed. As callous as it may seem, not all murders are created equal, and while some stories are ripe to be uncovered and explored, others might not break through the noise or spark executives’ attention. To find a place in the true crime space, you not only have to find and have access to a great story, but also build a fantastic pitch deck, and a strategic and effective pitch to get buyers on board. And all of these elements don’t need to just be good; they all need to lend themselves to the format and industry that is true crime TV. But if you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad.

For over ten years, Phil Claroni has worked deep in the true crime television space and produced countless projects for networks such as CNN, Investigation Discovery, Discovery UK, Reelz, and ZDF. After starting on the hit show FORENSIC FILES, where he served as producer, Phil has been a director and lead writer for true crime shows airing throughout the world. More recently Phil served as showrunner for the Reelz series COPYCAT KILLERS and now serves as an executive producer for the company Story House Production. Phil’s decade-plus in the true crime TV world, pitching and selling countless shows to various networks has made him an expert in this space and has given him a keen eye into what makes a murder show sell.

Phil will lay out how to best develop your own true crime docuseries and pitch and sell it to a streamer or other network. He’ll first explain what kind of story sells today and how you should tailor your pitch to reflect the current market you’re selling to. He’ll give you tips on how to research your story, what info is most important, how to obtain talent, and the legal elements to be aware of. Next, Phil will explain how to build the perfect pitch deck to sell your true crime series and go through one-pagers, treatments and sizzles. He will then explain how to find a production partner for your series, including who’s currently buying and how to know which partners would make t host sense for you. He’ll also tell you what materials can aid a sale and how you can take a meaningful meeting. Finally Phil will explain how to close, including initiating a bidding war and what to do to follow through.

Phil will even share a real pitch deck he put together and explain why he made the choices he made in assembling it.

 

 

“No one goes to college and majors in true crime production. It’s something you have to learn from others, but it’s one of the most attainable genres to produce in show business, and I’ll show you how.”

-Phil Claroni

 

What You'll Learn

  • What Kind of Story Sells?
    • What kind of story are you trying to make?
    • Why developing in the True Crime genre is a “safe” bet.
    • What characteristics make a story worth buying?
    • Tailoring your pitch to reflect the market you are selling to.
  • How to Research Stories
    • What information is needed to sell a show?
    • Where do you find it?
    • What resources help you research.
    • Why obtaining access is the most important part to selling a show.
    • Signing your talent, why is this important?
    • Should I get a lawyer?
  • Building the Perfect Deck
    • One-pagers vs. treatments vs. sizzles
    • How do you package these materials for a network?
    • How do you make these materials effective to a potential buyer?
    • Examples of materials that sold.
    • Challenges of producing True Crime.
  • Case Study: Real Pitch Deck
    • Phil will walk through a real pitch deck he put together and explain why he made the choices he made in assembling it
  • Finding a Production Partner
    • What networks are buying True Crime now?
    • Identifying the partners that make sense with the story you are trying to sell.
    • Tips on securing access and materials
    • What kind of materials aid a sale?
    • How to take meaningful meetings
  • Leading to The Close
    • What to have ready before you pitch or expect a deal
    • Initiating a bidding war
    • How to follow through
  • Q&A with Phil

About Your Instructor

For over ten years, Phil has worked deep in the true crime television space and produced countless projects for networks such as CNN, Investigation Discovery, Discovery UK, Reelz, and ZDF. After starting on the hit show FORENSIC FILES, where he served as producer, Phil has been a director and lead writer for true crime shows airing throughout the world. More recently Phil served as showrunner for the Reelz series COPYCAT KILLERS and now serves as an executive producer for the company Story House Production. Phil’s decade-plus in the true crime TV world, pitching and selling countless shows to various networks has made him an expert in this space and has given him a keen eye into what makes a murder show sell.

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