Producer Bio: Dale Bosch started as a Program Director for an NBC affiliate and eventually moved on to Produce and Direct. He now works as an Executive Producer on a variety of projects and as Production Consultant to companies that want to be more effective in the development and production process. Credits include: History Channel, Discovery, Discovery Health, National Geographic Intl, VS, Bravo, ESPN, Animal Planet, Broadcast Syndication.
1. Where do you find inspiration for a new show idea?
Good question....everywhere really. I constantly read and look for people or stories that might have a television application. It really isn't just about what I want to do, but rather, what I think will make good TV. I think most people think you have an idea for a show and you pitch it, but it really does not work that way. I think a good source of Inspiration comes from the networks. Who are they trying to reach (demo/gender)? How are they positioning themselves (promotion)? Then you are always on the hunt for people and ideas that might fit and those ideas can come from anywhere, NOT just you.
2. What research do you do before gong into a pitching session?
You better know a networks schedule before you even begin the development process. I used to be a programmer and I can tell you, it is frustrating when a distributor/producer schedules a meeting with you to try to sell you a show that has no business on your schedule. Don't waste their time! I also watch their network promotions, as much as the shows. This gives you some insight into what they want to be nine months from now. Remember the shows on the air today, even as a new show, were conceived at least 9 months ago.
3. What advise do you have for upstart producers trying to get their foot in the door?
Be passionate about producing television not just about an idea. Remember, you must be prepared to share your baby with the network.The network will want to make some "tweaks" to your idea (baby) and who can blame them? You are asking them to pony up big chunks of dough on a gamble, so they just want to minimize the risk. In addition, be sure you are pitching ideas you are capable of producing. What is your skill set? They want to know you are capable of bringing it in on time, on budget and on creative. And for god's sake don't start your conversation with the following line, "everything on your network sucks, you have to take our idea as it will be the best thing you have on the air!" Yeah, I have heard that one before!
4. What show do you wish you had produced and why?
Myth Busters! I am a science junky and find it very entertaining. More importantly, it is a show that inspires kids to see science as entertaining, fun and a career choice. Most everything we do has a science bend to it, so it is my niche.
5. What types of shows do you think are most in demand now?
Hits! Everybody is asking for one!
6. What types of programs do you wish were in demand now? (Or think should be.)
Everything we are pitching of course! Actually, I wish there was a better business model for short-form programming. We hear a lot about web shorts, but the money just is not there to support them right now.
7. What types of projects interest you most and why?
I like anything with a science bend. And that covers just about every genre. I believe you can apply science to almost every subject, which allows you to tell an old story in a new and hopefully more revealing way.
8. How important do you think it is for your show idea to have an online component?
It depends on the network and the audience. Every year it becomes more important. The younger generation uses the internet much more and as they enter the core demo groups (18-49 and 25-54) they "expect" an internet component. There will always be a need for a passive viewing experience, however for our youth, passive means only doing 2 things at once instead of 4.
9. Where does most of your budget funding come from, if not from the network?
For co-pros we deficient finance our projects. Make sure you have an understanding banker.
10. How often do you attend industry conferences and festivals, and which are most important for your business?
I regularly attend the MIPS, NATPE, and Real Screen, but not always. I also have a representative that attends them all. The markets are important if you own shows, or if you are looking to make new contacts. However, nothing is more effective than having a hit series in production.
Final Thoughts: To be successful in this business, you need to remember it IS a business. You must ask yourself, do I want to make this program AND can I make money doing it for the price point and schedule offered by the network? Not every deal is worth taking. The good news is, the appetite for television programs seems be very strong and the opportunity to "get in" still exists. So keep the ideas coming. The next hit will likely come from the creative mind of a Producer rather than from an internal brainstorming session. But also remember, you need to be passionate about the business of TV. If you cannot make a profit producing shows you will be out of business fast. Remember to do your due diligence...know the networks schedule, who they are trying to reach (viewer and advertiser) and be sure you are business smart so you can make this a career instead of a once and out.
Bosch Media LLC