Tips For Getting On TV

David Perozzi, producer of Anderson Cooper’s new daytime show, offered a few tips on getting your national TV pitches noticed (in an interview with Arielle Ford, developer of the Everything You Should Know program). Check out David Perozzi’s tips here:

1. Help out. When pitching a TV show, add value. It’s not your job to sell your book or be a star when pitching. At the beginning, prepare to help the producers in every way you can.

2. Research the show. Know the audience, the people who watch the show. Each show has a different audience. Each day part in TV land is different. “If you’re pitching a morning show, for instance, your story should appeal to stay-at-home moms and seniors, who are most likely to be home during the day.”

3. Short is good. Punchy is better. Sexy is always good. Keep your pitch to one page at best if sending a letter. 5 sentences or less if making a phone call.

4. Follow-up is key. As David notes, “Be the squeaky wheel.” Get attention with your pitch, and then follow up by email or phone multiple times. Major media require repeated follow-ups. You have to be aggressive, but not a stalker. It’s a fine line.

5. Work the system. Start by approaching the booking department. But also remember to pitch the show’s producers. As David notes, “The more points of contact you have,
the better your chances of getting on air.”

6. Cultivate the assistants. Senior producers have less time to look at your pitch. It’s far more likely that the assistant and associates will take more time to considery our pitch. Treat them with respect. Never overlook them.

7. Give them an exclusive. Major TV shows seek to offer fresh stories, so pitch them original stories. Pitch unique stories to each show you are approaching. Avoid generic or boilerplate pitches.

8. Don’t overexpose yourself. Don’t tell the producers about all the other shows you are pitching or have been on. It’s a “real turn off” and makes you look overexposed. If they ask for the shows you’ve been on, then share. Of course, the shows you’ve been on should be listed somewhere on your website media pages.

9. Share videos only if jaw-dropping. Don’t add video to your pitch unless it’s stunning. As David notes, “If your video is even vaguely lackluster, it may weaken, or even kill, your pitch.”

10. Looks are important. TV is a visual media. How you look will matter. If you don’t include photos with your pitch producers will likely Google you to see how you look. So make sure the photos on your website and social media profiles are TV worthy. As David notes, “People have to really be presentable and articulate and front the project in a compelling and attractive way.”

11. Rejection happens. Keep it in perspective. A rejection can often simply mean “not right now” or “not for our show.” As David points out, “It’s not uncommon for a producer to forward a good pitch to the producer of another show that may better fit that particular story.”

12. Producers are people. Like you, they’re just doing their job. But note: They want good stories to present to the people above them. They want the show to work. As David adds, “They want to have meetings about your book. It’s just a matter of how it’s pitched and if the content you’ve written is the right content for their particular outlet.”

13. Have a good time. Pitching can be hard work. It can be fast and furious. Focus on your actions. Present a good pitch. Don’t worry about the results. As Arielle points out, “It is, after all, just television, which means the opportunities, while rarely timeless, are always abundant.”