How to Write a Professional TV Pitch Document/ Treatment

Hosted by Anna Henry, TV Executive

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

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Anna Henry, TV Executive

Webinar hosted by: Anna Henry, TV Executive

(Worked with CBS, ABC, Amazon, Starz, Sony, 20th Television)

Anna began her 20-year career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, working on the development and production of animated television series, pilots and features, including the cult hit “Invader Zim.” She crossed overto prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming, and freelanced as a creative consultant for a number of production companies. She was most recently Director of Development at Andrea Simon Entertainment, a boutique literary management and production company representing writers and directors. Her clients have worked on shows at virtually every broadcast and major cable television network, and have set up projects at ITV America, Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. As a script consultant, she enjoys having a close collaboration with writers in refining scripts, expanding their range of material, and finding the best home for each project. Anna is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

This was by far the best webinar on pitch documents that I have experienced. I've seen others where they give certain advice that she warned not to do! - Tiffany C.

This is the age of peak TV and you have an incredible, original idea for a show! You have it all planned out: the setting, the characters, what the show will be about... maybe you've even written the pilot script. Now it's time to pitch! Perhaps you have a meeting with a manager or a producer, or someone is already interested in your idea and has asked you to send some "pages." Or you've signed up for a Stage 32 pitch session with the perfect exec who's looking for a show just like yours. In this webinar you will learn how to write a professional pitch document that can serve as the outline for your in-person pitch to a manager, producer or studio executive, or be sent after your meeting - using the template and requirements the big agencies and studios use. You will also learn how to translate that into a shorter version for Stage 32 pitch sessions, contests, or just to be able to briefly pitch your idea as you're networking.

Handouts include:

  • Stranger Things Pitch Document
  • New Girl Pitch Document
  • New Girl Short Pitch Document Example
  • Lookbook Example

What You'll Learn

  • What is a pitch document: pitches, treatments, bibles.
  • Verbal pitch vs. written pitch vs. short pitch for submission.
  • Basic structure of a pitch document
  • Loglines - how to craft them and how to say them
  • Themes and concepts:
    • What is the show about?
    • What are you saying with the show?
    • Why you, why now?
  • Teaser - Grabbing your audience
  • The World - What is your setting and why do you want to do a show about it?
  • Characters:
    • How many do I pitch?
    • Quirks, traits, backstory, dynamics - how to avoid stereotypes when you're pitching in one sentence
    • How to avoid the "laundry list"
    • Likeable vs. relatable
  • Pitching your pilot - I only have a few minutes / two pages, shouldn't I just pitch the pilot?
  • Pitching your series:
    • Story engine
    • Season arcs / character arcs
    • Typical episode and how many to pitch
  • Tone:
    • Pacing
    • Humor
    • Look and feel
  • To comp or not to comp - that is the question
  • How to prep for a verbal pitch
  • What to take into a room and what to leave behind
  • Q&A with Anna!

 

About Your Instructor

Anna began her 20-year career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, working on the development and production of animated television series, pilots and features, including the cult hit “Invader Zim.” She crossed overto prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming, and freelanced as a creative consultant for a number of production companies.

She was most recently Director of Development at Andrea Simon Entertainment, a boutique literary management and production company representing writers and directors. Her clients have worked on shows at virtually every broadcast and major cable television network, and have set up projects at ITV America, Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. As a script consultant, she enjoys having a close collaboration with writers in refining scripts, expanding their range of material, and finding the best home for each project. Anna is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Testimonials

This was by far the best webinar on pitch documents that I have experienced. I've seen others where they give certain advice that she warned not to do! - Tiffany C.

This was my first Stage32 webinar, and it exceeded my expectations, both in terms of quality (and quantity) of information and overall value. Anna was personable, knowledgeable, and organized. The slide deck was helpful, and her overall presentation hit all the key topics. Anna and Stage32 delivered the goods. - John R.

What a thoughtful, thorough and inspiring webinar. It's clear that Anna Henry put an enormous amount of work into this presentation. Not only was the content there, but the structure was also superb. I feel educated and inspired to go back to my own work and do better than what I thought was my best. What could possibly be better than that! Thank you Anna for your genius and your generosity. - Crispin L.

Anna provided a lot of quality information on the art of the tv pitch and having the pitch document samples is a nice benefit, along with the recording, to go back over and study. - Linda R.

So informative on the structure of a pitch. What's needed and how to go about dealing with the things that will come up during a verbal pitch or simply in the relationship between those giving a pitch and those receiving one. Well organized Anna, thank you! - Julia L.

Anna has a considerable amount of experience in the subject matter. She was well prepared and organized in her presentation. I took away the information that I was hoping to receive. - Bud M.

First off, I want to say thank you to Anna and the entire stage 32 crew. Not only was this extremely insightful about pitching your stories and ideals, but also about how specific your writing(the actually scripts) need to be. It definitely sent me back to rethink, improve, and be more specific with my projects that I plan to pitch. - Zack S.

Anna was concise, and detailed. I've been working on log-lines/treatments/synopsis for 2 years for my scripts and never had it nailed like Anna was able to do. She rocks! - Cheryl Lynn S. 

Anna Henry was very to the point and her suggestions were full of experience and knowledge. Stage 32 is terrific for offering these webinars. I have learned so much and do feel fortunate to take advantage of the information. - Dana S.

Anna was so generous with her time, so knowledgable, so encouraging...very grateful. It feels like there's a stronger wind at my back after that. Thank you! - Michael L.

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

  • The information is excellent. The audio is not good. Please up your game Stage 32. This is filmmaking after all..
  • Five stars
  • Some very good tidbits that I immediately incorporated into my pitch materials.
  • Anna is amazing. She is a real pro, knowing the art of pitching in and out. Anna helped me with my short and long pitch versions of my crime procedural show and this pitch landed me a lot of interest on Stage32 and even from a major network executive and production company. I also recommend Anna for developmental notes on your script - in 3 rounds my first ever TV pilot went from a rough outline to the final draft landing on the desk of Head of Scripted Development of major network. If your show merits, you will find in Anna the best champion of your project you can only dream of. Highly recommend!

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How to Handle Notes on Your Script: Types of Notes and What They Mean

“I have some notes” is perhaps the most dreaded phrase writers hear. “Here it comes… they want to change everything; they want to destroy my masterpiece!” And yet, you the writer, asked for these notes. “They read and they didn’t pass! They want to work with me!” Or, “they read – and yeah, they’re right, I need to rethink this, it will be better if I change it.” Film and television are the ultimate collaborative medium. You write alone (or in a team), but to make the final product, the work of dozens to hundreds of people is required, and they all have some contribution to make. And the work is a product to be sold to buyers and an audience, and they get a say in what they want to purchase and consume. Screenwriting is also the ultimate iterative process. No script is ever perfect on the first draft, and scripts evolve and grow even during production itself. So you will be receiving notes – lots and lots and lots of them. Some you will ask for, perhaps pay for: notes from other writers, professional consultants, managers and agents. Some you will hope for: producers, executives, directors and stars. Some you will agree to: showrunners, studio and network executives. And some will remind you that necessity is the mother of invention: from line producers, casting directors, set dressers, and costume designers. But what should you do with those notes? How to take the sting and how to accept them as a gift? How to think about executing them when you agree, and what to do when you don’t? And most importantly, what do all those terms mean? Some of them sound like some sort of spy code: expo dump, let it breathe, contrived, mining, building, leaning, rules of the universe, on the nose and come in later – say what? In this webinar we will pull back the curtain on the notes process, discuss how to take notes, how to begin to address them, and what notegivers really mean by all those terms.

Writing Lab: Write Your TV Pilot and Learn How to Pitch it in 10 Weeks

***Sorry, the lab is filled!***  This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea. With the TV market exploding right now, 30-minute and 60-minute TV drama and dramedy pilots are in demand. Many, if not all, managers and agents are looking for writers that can write in this space, and with more and more production companies heading into TV, knowing how to write a strong TV pilot will give you a competitive advantage and help you find success as a TV writer! Stage 32 is thrilled to have our Writing Lab: Write Your TV Pilot and Lean How to Pitch it in 10 Weeks taught by Anna Henry who is a veteran TV development executive that's worked with ABC, CBS, Nickelodeon, SONY, 20th Century FOX Television, Amazon, Starz, EOne, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, ITV America and more. This hands-on intensive lab will guide you through picking a concept, creating engaging characters, structuring and outlining your pilot, writing the pilot, polishing and pitching it! You must have a solid understanding of screenwriting to participate. We will not be going over the basics.  The main objective of this 10-week lab will be to have a solid completed script that is market-ready to start pitching. You will meet online with Anna for 2 hours a week in a class setting, plus have phone or Skype consultations during some of the weeks when you don't have an online class. This will be accompanied by weekly homework assignments to guide you on your way to creating a marketable, unique pilot that will grab the industry's attention. Payment plans are available - please contact edu@stage32.com for more information. This Lab is Limited to 10 People.  

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Network TV is dead, right? All good shows are on cable and streaming! Not so fast! Network TV is alive and well, as demonstrated by the critical success and healthy ratings of new shows such as This is Us, Designated Survivor and Speechless, as well as powerhouse veterans such as Big Bang Theory, Empire, Modern Family, Scandal, and NCIS. Broadcast networks are increasingly having to compete for top talent and ideas in a crowded marketplace. While landing a series order from ABC or FOX is no easy feat, the networks’ deep coffers mean they can buy and develop a high volume of shows, season after season. Producers of course enjoy the prestige of developing ideas for HBO or Amazon, but they are equally eager to find the next network hit, which can yield huge financial dividends with multiple season orders. What’s more, agents and managers judge prospective clients based on their original pilot scripts, and the right network pilot can demonstrate to a potential representative that you are ready to staff and ready to sell. As a manager, I always recommend writers have at least two or three finished scripts ready to go, and a mix of cable and network samples increases the number of producers and executives who may be interested in your work. In this webinar, you will learn about the brands and programming models of broadcast networks, how to know what ideas they will find appealing, what you need to include in your network pitch, and the do’s and don’ts of writing your network spec pilot.

TV Pitch Bible Writing Lab (One on One Mentoring)

By popular demand, we're bringing in TV executive Anna Henry (who has 100% satisfaction with her webinars!) to teach a one-on-one TV pitch document writing lab! Need help with writing your TV pitch bible? Look no further! Anna's here to help.  "Anna was concise, and detailed. I've been working on log-lines/treatments/synopsis for 2 years for my scripts and never had it nailed like Anna was able to do. She rocks!" - Cheryl Lynn S. This is the golden age of television and the appetite for content has never been greater. What does everyone network and streamer want? Fresh, unique, authentic voices with never-been-told stories. While the door is open to new writers, the competition is fierce. Of course you need a very strong finished script, but before that will be read, you need to be able to communicate what makes your show stand out from the crowd, what will make people want to watch it for years and years, and why you are passionate about writing it. You need a blueprint of what the series will be beyond one episode. That's where a pitch bible (aka treatment) comes in. Whether you are selling your show verbally, sending the pitch to a potential producer, or applying for a fellowship, this document carries the weight of your imagined world with all its inhabitants and stories. That's a tall order! So where do you begin? How do you organize your ideas? What should be in a pitch? How detailed should you get? Should you start with a summary of the pilot? Should you have ideas for future episodes? What should you say about your characters? In this lab we will delve deep into writing an effective pitch for your scripted television idea - one that will clearly communicate your intentions, excite the reader, and convey your voice and your passion. I have spent my career developing television projects with writers and selling those show ideas as a development executive, manager and producer. What I have found is that most screenwriters have taken classes that helped them learn about story structure, writing scenes, dialogue, etc. but writing a pitch is entirely different. Most writers need help with switching gears and selling their story in addition to telling it - which is the purpose of this lab.   Payment plans are available - contact edu@stage32.com for more details

Adapting a Book Into a Film or Television Program

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