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I asked you a question back in February about Pitch Bibles, and your answer was very helpful.  I entered it in a contest sponsored by the Writer's Store, and am one of ten finalists. I will submit a rewritten pilot and pitch package to Anonymous Content in January.

The story specialist I'm working with at the Writer's Store suggested I have another project ready, since "What else do you have?" seems to be a common question.  I have a project that is coming together, and I may try to pitch it separately. It may actually be more commercial.  However, a Webinar I just watched mentioned attaching a showrunner before pitching, but I'd never heard that before.  Do I need one this early? Can I get one on eBay if I do?  Craigslist?

I also want to know if I can start pitching the project if my pilot is not in final draft?  I will have a solid treatment and pitch material.

Also, joined Stage32 last week.  Heather Hale graciously invited me to join her network, which was great.  I mentioned that you had told me how good she was, and she responded by saying that you're the bomb. FYI.

Thanks again for your help.

Rick DeMille

Hi, Rick.

Really glad to hear I was able to point you in the right direction.  We don't always get to hear about the results from questions on here, so that's just terrific.

In your case, do NOT start looking for a showrunner (and no, you cannot find one on eBay or Craig's List).  You can do your homework & research them, but making contact at this point will only get you as far as the gatekeepers, and they are not going to want to hear from you until you have a deal in place - a real Catch 22.

Here's what you do (you may want to start a spreadsheet):

- Get a membership to IMDBPro (they have free trials, if you don't already have one)
- Look up all the shows you like and see who the Executive Producers are on the first and second episodes.  If they stay the same, and one or more of them also has writing credit on the first episode, odds are that you've located the showrunner.
- Do the same thing with shows you may not like as much, but you think have something in common with your show (style, genre, structure, etc.)
- Now do the same thing for every show you can think of that has been on the air in the past three years.
- Breathe.  You've done a crapload of research already.

Ready to start again?  OK.

- Compare the three lists.  The names that show up most often are your TARGET showrunners.
- While you're there, make a note of who represents them, even though it may not be 100% accurate by the time you're ready to actually reach out.  It just gives you extra info.

Now, go to

- Look up for your target showrunners.  You should be able to find any articles relating to them over the past couple of years.
- Read them all
- If any of them say the showrunner has an "overall" deal with a studio or network, make a note of that.

Now, when you start pitching, you will have an idea of what to say when people start talking about showrunners - something like "I would love to get a showrunner on board, but thought it might be premature.  I was thinking about someone like......"  That being said, if that person has won an Emmy in the past 3 years, don't bother naming them unless they're the ONLY person who could write your show.  It's like asking an actress who she wants to be and having her say "Meryl Streep".  Too freaking obvious.

In terms of what you need to have to pitch - you can go with a rough draft if you have everything else ---- but I wouldn't in your case.  They're going to want to see if you can EXECUTE your idea, so better to have a lot of ammo.

Hope this helps.  Taking off for the holiday now, and won't have access to this account until after the holiday weekend.  Have a great time, and let me know how you're doing!


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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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