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TV Industry/should a production or entertainment co. every ask you for money?



I recently signed the regular submission waiver and was bee lined direclty to the president of the company for my reality show idea. We had a conversation. My initial idea was to do an independent reality show and seek out some sort of media outlet to air it on. ie: tv, netflix, amazon, youtube etc. The president LOVED the reality show idea, but said it was a waste of time to try this completley on my own. I knew I was in over my head. with cost, legalities, etc. So he then offered me two choices A. partner up with his company biship-lyons. Each of us throwing $60,000 into the pot for the project or B. Their company flipping the bill for the entire project up to the pitch to networks and me and the cast only being on pretty much on salary. Is this common? and are the numbers about right? thanks for your time.

Hi, Jay.

I'm not thrilled with this particular trend, but it seems to be happening more than ever.

There are companies that make a lot of money charging people to create "sizzle reels" and other pitch materials.

BUT - and this is very important - networks aren't buying from people they don't know, and even the people they do know are being forced to come in with what they call "proof of concept".

Now, if you're really technically and cinematically adept, you might be able to produce your own broadcast quality sizzle reel, but most people really can't.  Especially about themselves, because they lack objectivity (which is human and not something to feel bad about at all). And producing these things can cost a lot of money.  I think $120,000 may be a little steep, but since I don't know the exact parameters of your situation, I can't really say.

I suggest you hire an entertainment attorney to get into your situation and work out what works best for you.

Good luck!

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Marrissa O`Leary


Happy to help with your questions about the business of television. I've been a TV Business Affairs, Talent and Comedy executive for over 10 years after starting out as a child actress. I've been a VP at two studios, and consulted for others. Because we get so many questions about reality shows, please take a look at the "Previously Answered Questions" first (you'll probably find what you need there!). Also - please bear in mind that budgets & license fees are considered to be proprietary information and I can't share them here. Thanks!


20+ years in entertainment, ranging from child actress to studio vice president.

MBA, Pepperdine University / BA, Theatre Arts, Occidental College / AA Mass-Telecommunications Technology, Unites States International University

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