The old model for TV development

Like Marc Andreessen, I think there are big changes coming with the way Hollywood works (read his post entitled rebuilding hollywood in silicon valley’s image). So on that topic, read this post by the co-creator of Ask a Ninja, Kent Nichols on the old way for creating a TV a show:

1. Graduate from Harvard (lesser Ivies are okay, but let’s be realistic), where you were a key member of the Lampoon staff
2. Arrive in Hollywood with a spec script of the hot sitcom or drama from last season (this year that would be 30 Rock or Ugly Betty)
3. If you’re lucky, get hired as a Writer’s Assistant, or Production Assistant on a series
4. Spend the next five years working up the chain to finally get to be an actual writer
5. Once you’re actually allowed to write on a show, then you work your way up the producing chain, which is the same thing as being a writer, but you also get paid a lot more money.
6. After 5-7 years of working your way up to being an executive producer level type, you’ll be allowed to pitch networks your ideas for shows.
7. If the networks like your show, you’ll be paid to write a script.
8. If they like the script, they’ll shoot it and make it into a pilot.
9. If they like the pilot, they’ll order 12 more episodes.
10. If those first 12 episodes get an audience, they order 12 more.
11. If the season did well enough in the rating, or it’s a critical darling, it’ll get another season.
12. Repeat steps 6-12 until you’re 45, when people stop calling you anymore.

And his guess at the new model that will emerge:

1. A few creative people decide to make a show
2. The show hopefully garners attention from the YouTubes of the world
3. A production company comes in and helps give the show consistency and makes some money through ad sales and merchandising
4. Network licenses the show once it proves that it’s gained an audience

Yup, that’s almost exactly what a friend of mine and I talked about earlier this month.