The Program Proposal is a key document in the production
process. While its style varies, it usually contains:
- Title - Always have a working title. It's tough to sell/pitch a show without one.
- Objective - Clearly state what the show will accomplish.
Fictitous stories don't typically have clear objectives, but can teach values, lessons, and history while entertaining an audience. Non-fiction programs usually have very specific objectives.
If you are producing a documentary or informational project, avoid
fuzzy statements, like "viewers
will learn about....." Be
- Example: After watching "Feeding the
viewers will understand three things they can do to help feed needy
chidren and feel motivated to take action in their community.
- Target audience - Who specifically are you trying
to reach? Non-fiction programming usually has a very specific target audience. Consider the different target audiences for these shows: "You Can Learn to Sail!", "What Every Single Parent Should Know", or "Strategies for Getting the Most Out of Your Home".
- Show description - What is your show about? (Do you have a
log line?If so, you can lead off this section with it.) If you are describing a piece of fiction, this is the perfect place to describe the story in a paragraph or two.
- Format - How long is it?
Is is a documentary,
a reality show, a talk show, etc.? Is it shot in a studio, on location, part of a
series, funny or serious, or animated or told with sock puppets?
- Venue - Where will this
be shown? (TV Broadcast, web, trade show, conference, etc.)
- Production method/plan - Specify the production strategy,
personnel, facility use, number of cameras, special audio needs, use
of historic or pre-existing footage, etc.
- Tentative budget - While students typically don't have very large
budgets for class projects, this would be addressed in a treatment for a professional production. Time and money are always key and limiting
factors in any production.
- Treatment - A treatment is an abbrieviated narrative description
of the story. It doesn't contain detailed production
information, but should concisely describe the story, the act structure,
and the scenes within the acts. Treatments
can show precisely how the story flows by describing the dialog
and action of every scene. (If the scene does not advance the character
or the story, cut it out!) Treatments for shorter programs can be included
in a proposal. Treatments for long-form programs and movies (which
can be 50 pages or more) are stand-alone documents.
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