How To Create a Pilot Episode that Will Get Picked Up by a Network

Before a series of episodes is shown, a pilot episode or first test episode is first presented to the network producers.  This way, they would get a grasp of the whole concept of your shows and decide whether they would want to see more or not.  In this sense, a pilot episode is a taste of the episodes to come.    That is why it is tremendously important to satisfy the network so that they would fund your shows.  Here’s how.

Make your concept satisfy.  What’s your story?  The producers are looking for something fresh and something that would sell.  Make your concept unique yet enjoyable.  Remember, even though an idea used to work doesn’t mean it would work all the time (just take a look at fashion!).  However you could use tried-and-tested methods and adding a unique twist to it, so that you would not bore your target audience or shock them into shutting you off.  

Make your show clear.  Keep your main idea in mind as you create your theme, your characters, your plot, your conflicts and resolutions.  You should be able to have not only the outline of the first episode but the second to the fifth or possibly up to the tenth as well.  Even though the pilot episode is only the first part, by being clear on what happens next, it would be easier to align each episode with your entire concept.  Also, you must present a neat format of the episodes to the producers in such a way that they would want to read what your episodes are all about.  Most importantly, you must know what you are doing, not only in script writing but also directing, down to the little details of outlining and formatting.

Make them love your cast.  Choose a cast that would really make your story come to life.  Be picky with who would perform which character, and see to it that the characters go well with each other.  There are shows that succeeded through great character chemistry alone.   However a poor cast would dull even the greatest of stories.

Make them want your show.  You must be able to know the right people by going to the right places to meet them.  You may attend contests, workshops, seminars and meetings where network producers gather and sell them your idea.  Know what people want and give it to them.  Conduct studies and surveys, adapt your show to the results and present your findings to the network people.  Assure them that your show would be the next biggest hit.  Describe your episodes by comparing it to known shows in order that the producers would get a hint about what your story is all about.  Also, you may explain how your episodes stand out from shows that are similar to it.  Make your episodes interesting. Give a variety to your storyline and make each turn of events surprising and entertaining, which would make them want to watch out for more.

Make more shows.  If you have followed these tips, it is more likely that your pilot episode will be picked up by a network. Best of luck to you, and may your show go on and on and on.


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