The television industry in Hollywood is overwhelming and complicated, especially when you’re first trying to break in. Trying to gather, sort through, and understand all the information you need to know about television is a time consuming and energy draining task. Definitely not the way to spend your Friday night!
So we’re doing the legwork for you! We created How Hollywood Works: Television (HHWW: TV), where we’ll compile all the information you need to know about television in one easy, convenient place.
More about what you’ll find in HHWW: TV lies below, but first, please subscribe to the HHWW: TV email list. You’ll never miss a new chapter, and we’ll know this is a project that is helping people, both in Hollywood and aspiring to work in Hollywood.
Now, here’s what you can get through How Hollywood Works: Television:
Pilot Season: Television’s Busiest Season
Pilot season is the busiest season in the television industry, something which the general public doesn’t gets to see. This outlines a timeline that breaks down everything that happens in pilot season, detailing briefly how pitches and scripts are ordered in the summer and fall, pilots are ordered in January, pilots are cast and made in February through April, and then networks decide which ones to order to series in May.
This section outlines the process of creating a television pilot, from pitch to final cut.
Millions are spent on a single pilot, but how many come to fruition and make it on air? Breaking down the numbers reveals very few get ordered to series in May, but the numbers for the current 2014-2015 season show some interesting trends in Hollywood today.
Failure is the norm in the television industry, with over 90% of all shows failing. This outlines the three main ways that series fail before making it on air:
1. The pitch is passed up
2. The script is rejected,
3. The pilot isn’t picked up.
It also outlines the reasons why aspiring TV writers shouldn’t lose hope.
Straight-to-series orders are becoming more prevalent in wake of the success of shows like Netflix’s HOUSE OF CARDS, with the Big Four committing to 15 of these projects between them. The straight-to-series approach has several advantages over the pilot system, although it is a riskier financial commitment for networks. While straight-to-series is still the exception rather than the rule, if there continues to be a trend of successful straight-to-series projects then these orders could start being regular alternatives to pilots.
The Kings of Television: Creatives, Who They Are, and How They Keep TV Going
Creatives, i.e. writers, actors, directors, and producers, are the primary driving force behind the television industry, both in terms of content creation and getting series greenlit. This outlines the different types of talent in television, and details how agents and studios package talent on projects in order to get networks to greenlight those projects.
Lots of people move to Hollywood hoping to write for television, but not many know how. This outlines the different things aspiring television writers can do to break into the TV industry.
Staffed TV Writers: How They Get Hired, What Their Work Looks Like, and Why They’re Always Looking for Their Next Gig
Even though it is difficult to break into Hollywood as a TV writer, there are many writers who’ve done just that. This section outlines how these writers got hired/staffed on their shows, and what their work days typically look like.
TV writers understand there’s a hierarchy in the writer’s room and they have to work up the ranks. This post outlines the hierarchy and the different duties each position performs.
The showrunner is the CEO of the show, and they’re placed in charge of what is essentially a mid-level company. Here we explain the responsibilities they carry.
Talent (actors and actresses) are an integral part of the television business: they’re the faces of the show! It used to be that talent would transition to film after making a name for themselves on television, but now the opposite is starting to happen. This discusses some of the reasons why successful film stars are making the switch to television.
Recently, big name movie directors have started working on television shows, either by directing pilots on a one-time basis or attaching themselves to series. This discusses some of the reasons behind why this shift.
What We’re Creating Next…
- 7 Ways to Get Your Vision Onto the Small Screen
- “Based Upon…” How to Turn Intellectual Property into TV
- Finding Your Real Life Ari Gold: Getting Represented in Hollywood
- Producers and Production Companies: What Happens Behind the Scenes
- The Studio System: How TV Studios Work in Hollywood
- That Final Greenlight: The Last Stretch to Getting Your Show on the Air
- Shows That Beat the Odds and Make it on the Air
- Syndication: Making it into TV’s Hall of Fame
If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear what you think!
– Chris & Alex