The One-Sheet TV Pitch Document
You finished your pilot script and series bible and now you’re ready to pitch it. In some cases, you’ll need what’s called a “one-sheet” or a “sell-sheet”. This is a single page pitch document that includes all a producer needs to know in order to pitch your show concept to someone else. They’re a little bit different for TV than for film so I’ll address them separately.
The elements of a one-sheet:
- Tag line (optional)
- Name of writer
- Intended audience demographic
- Intended broadcast network (cable or conventional)
- Suggested time slot (ie. primetime, latenight, daytime etc.)
- Episode length (30 mins or 60 mins)
- Number of episodes per season (typically 13 or 26)
- Genre (drama, comedy, sitcom, procedural etc.)
- Series synopsis
A series synopsis is not the same as an episode synopsis. In a sell-sheet you’re selling the show, not the script you wrote. You need to include the same elements as a pitch: the main character, location, what’s at stake, etc., but you also need to say what’s going to happen over the course of the next 100 episodes. That’s about 4+ seasons.
Things to include in your series synopsis:
- What the show is about – HOOK!
- The source of conflict
- How the series (pilot) begins
- What the audience will see every episode
- Episode structure
- Setting. Not just where and when, but what this place looks like. Is it shot on a set or on location?
- Visual style. Hand-held mini-DV gives an entirely different look from 35mm film or HD. Do you have long, slow scenes or fast-paced quick cuts? Is it vibrant or washed-out?
- Audience appeal. Why will people want to watch it?
Be creative with it. Tell a story. Don’t just itemize these points.
This isn’t an easy document to write. You’ve got to be succinct. Resist the temptation to fill it with fluff. Producers see through that crap. Emphasize your series hook.
Don’t know what hook is? Read tomorrow’s article.