ATQ39: Should I pitch a single drama or a series to a production company?

Are production companies more likely to choose a single/movie piece of writing than a series when you pitch to them?

Haywards Heath

Hi Carrie,

The Holy Grail for just about every TV company is the long running series that can run for twenty years and be sold across the world.

Something like that can bankroll a company’s passion project development for ever, and a show with that potential will always be in high demand.

However, setting one of those up as a writer requires enormous creative muscles, and so most TV companies and broadcasters are wary of hiring a new writer to do this.

The suspicion would always be that, when it came to the rewrites close to the wire as production loomed on the third episode, anyone who hasn’t been through that kind of creative forging process would, well, melt I guess, leaving them with a massive problem.

So conversations about creating a new show are generally had with experienced writers.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course there are. I hear that World Productions are currently making a series from a writer who with no previous credits – but this is genuinely such a rare situation that everyone who talks about it speaks with utter amazement that it’s happening – and is very keen to know how they got the greenlight!

As far as new writers go, a really sensible target is to get some episodes of long running drama under your belt.

Which is where the paradox lies, as the best way to get to write on those shows is to present a spec original single drama (and this could be a TV pilot of your own show, just to make things even more complicated!), that impresses everyone who reads it.

They probably won’t think too seriously about working on your new show, because they may not have the stomach for the battle of convincing broadcasters you are up to the challenge, but they will look around to see if they can put you on one of the series they make already.

This small window is your in.

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