Where people seem to falter, in our humble opinion, is the ability to see beyond black and white process in commissioning. There are clear channels by which a writer, producer or exec can submit their proposals for shows, whether they be comedy, drama, documentary, entertainment or children's programming. However, it is usually a catch twenty two situation when you get there! You need to have had broadcast experience or they don’t accept unsolicited scripts/ideas (which basically means you need an agent or production company to put the idea forward for you).
From the earliest days of Disclosure Group, we made a decision to create work ourselves to aid in the commissioning propositions we could provide. It helps that we are a production company, of course, but our philosophy has always been to bring our work to life otherwise who would be interested? It’s a little cynical but a little cynicism isn’t a bad thing in the media and arts industry is it!
Here’s our little guide to popular UK commissioning portals and some notes about what to expect from them!
This is a very simple series of forms you fill in with information about your project, however you need to apply for an account and may need broadcast credits. However if you’re clever, we’re sure you can work around that. They tend to be fairly prompt and give you a clear yes or no. They occasionally ask for more material (for example full scripts and full treatments) so have it ready!
For the writers out there, there is another option if you wish to submit unsolicited scripts. This is the Writer’s Room. Competition is steep but you could be one of the lucky few!
This is a page with information and links to different areas of the ITV universe. WE suggest you take a look at the site and have a quick read. It’s more than likely they will require you to be a production company.
As Channel 4 have a public remit they are rather similar to the BBC in their process, however again you’ll need to apply for an account. There is an option to submit unsolicited material here.
Sky are more open to submissions if you are a production company as they have a relatively small commissioning department. We have had dealings with them and they are relatively prompt and friendly with a clear decision one way or another.
Whichever route you go down, don’t be disheartened if you get some rejections, it’s all part of the process and without the no’s the yes’s wouldn’t be so brilliant would they!?