Create a TV show concept in 4 steps

My name is Mikael Cross. I´ve been working in the film and TV-industry for many years, making my name as a creator and producer. From feature films to documentaries. I´ve done it all. My latest TV-series, a crime show called ALEX starring Dragomir Mrsic in the lead has become a huge success both locally and internationally and in this article I will give you my best advice, broken down into 4 simple steps on what you need to know when creating a TV-series concept.

ALEX - SEASON 1 - TRAILER

Step 1. The Why?

This is one of the most important questions you should ask yourself. Why do you want to do your show? In our case nothing like ALEX had been produced in Scandinavia. The concept for ALEX was a show that we - the creators - wanted to see and there was nothing on the market like it and because nobody had done it, we decided to give it a chance and to do it ourselves.

Step 2. The audience

The biggest mistake people make is that they don´t know who their audience is. When creating something, no matter if it´s a new toothpaste or a TV-show like we did, you have to figure out who your audience is. We figured out our "Why?" and who our audience was. You should do the same.

Step 3. The presentation

When you have the answer to your "Why?" and you´ve figured out your audience it´s time for the fun stuff. Look at what set-up other TV-series similar to your idea have. Is it 6 episodes, 10? Now create rough outlines for your episodes with just 5-10 sentences for each episode. Also create a first draft of the script of the first episode (or hire a scriptwriter to do it for you). A first draft should be included in your presentation.

You need to present your concept in a way that get decision makers interested in your project straight away. For people to get interested you need the following three things;

  1. A stunning visual presentation. You need to show decision makers something visual. In our case we created a short clip that looked like a real trailer. We hired a great photographer that took pictures that showed the feeling, style and tone of our series. It´s important that your visuals looks and feels like the real deal. Quality matters. Create a stunning presentation using a service like Canva.com or hire a graphic designer to do it for you. The key is to make it look GREAT.

  2. A selling text; Together with your visuals you need to have a killer text. Hire a writer to do it for you, or do it yourself if you know you're good at writing. A bonus is that you also hire a great copywriter that can check your text. Your presentation should include a short "what it´s about", your vision of the series, the script for the first episode, the outline for the rest of the episodes and some suggestions on actors that you think would be a perfect match to play the main characters in your series.

  3. Make an amazing poster. Hire a photographer/graphic designer with experience of creating posters for the movie industry. If this concept is your baby then make sure you go all-in. The key is to make your visuals look amazing, almost like the show is already made.

Step 4. Find a production company

When you have your presentation it´s time to find a production company. TV-channels/Networks and media companies will not trust you with their money. It´s as simple as that so what you need to do is to get a well known production company onboard. One way is to contact production companies that has made series like yours in style, tone and theme. Contact the producers at those production companies and do everything you can to get a meeting with them so that you can present your idea and when you get that meeting you better give them a killer presentation they simply can´t refuse.

Of course, these 4 steps are a bit simplified, and in our case this process took almost 8 years and there will be times when everything feels like it´s working against you. But keep in mind that those times are just normal and belongs to the process. We had so many people not believing in us and in our concept and we got so many rejections over and over again that would make a normal person brake down in a second..but in the end. We won.

Always remember; You can never beat a person who never gives up. Be that person.

Good luck!