If you’re getting ready to produce a television series, whether it’s on live TV services such as cable or satellite, or on a streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu, you’ll need to produce a pilot episode.
Producing your pilot will be different than producing the rest of the show if it’s picked up. A pilot episode is used to show potential buyers what the series will look like and how it will play out. The pilot should be well-written, with a solid story arc and engaging characters. You’ll need to make sure your pilot has enough material for those watching it to get a full sense of the world you have created and the stories you plan to tell.
What is a Pilot Episode and Why is it so important?
A pilot episode is the first episode of a television show that introduces characters and establishes the premise. It’s used to show viewers what they can expect from the series, as well as test audience reaction in order to determine if the series should be picked up for further production.
Think of a pilot episode as a first impression. It needs to captivate viewers and make them want to watch more. A successful pilot episode can be the difference between a series getting greenlit or not.
When producing a pilot episode, it’s important to keep in mind that it can make or break the series. It should be well-crafted and have an interesting story arc that will keep viewers engaged. Consideration should also be given to casting and locations as they can have a strong impact on the overall feel of the episode.
Where do I begin with my Pilot?
The first step to producing a pilot episode is writing the script. It’s important that the story be compelling and engaging, with interesting characters and situations. The script should also fit within the overall tone of the series. Once the script is completed, it can then be used as a blueprint for production.
Next, you should be working on a budget. Your budget is what will determine the scope of your pilot episode, as well as the length and quality of production. Once you know how much money you have to work with, you can start planning for locations, casting, props, and other elements that are needed to bring your pilot episode to life.
Other pre-production things need to be completed, too. You’ll need to secure your filming locations, hire your crew and cast, and secure any necessary permits. You’ll also need to determine how you will finance the production of the episode.
Once pre-production is complete, it’s time to begin filming. It’s important that all aspects of the shoot adhere to the script as much as possible in order for it to be successful.
What should I be doing during Production?
Now that you have your script, cast, crew, filming locations, and more, it’s time to film! During production, it’s important to stay organized and make sure that everyone is following the script. This will ensure that the pilot episode comes out as planned.
Take your time during production, but also be mindful of your schedule so you don’t go over budget. Production should run smoothly if everything has been planned out in advance.
What about Post-Production?
Once filming is complete, you’ll need to begin post-production. This includes editing the footage, adding special effects and music, as well as any other steps needed to make the episode look and sound professional. Some filmmakers might want to cut costs or time during this part of the production process, but that is ill-advised.
Post-production is absolutely key to making your pilot look and sound amazing. It’s important to take your time during this stage and make sure everything looks perfect. That includes making sure lighting is corrected, the sound is balanced and audible, and special effects are polished and appropriate.
Once post-production is complete, you’ll have a polished episode ready for viewers!
What should I do after Post-Production?
Once post-production is complete, the pilot episode should be ready for viewing. How you decide to go about showing the episode is up to you, but it’s important to have a plan before getting started.
You may want to premiere your pilot at a film festival or some other screening event. You may also choose to submit it directly to networks in hopes that they pick it up for series production. Additionally, you may choose to self-distribute the pilot online and build an audience that way.
Regardless of how you decide to show it, it’s important to have a plan in place so that you can maximize the exposure of your pilot episode. After all, it could be the difference between a series getting greenlit or not!
Where can I seek further assistance?
There are so many moving parts and pieces to filming a fantastic tv series pilot that it can be overwhelming or even impossible for one person or a small team to create a pilot from scratch and produce it from start to finish. And that’s ok!
It can be difficult to get access to the best filming locations, find the right equipment, or hire the perfect cast and crew. If you’re looking for some extra help in getting your pilot episode off the ground, there are plenty of resources available.
There are professional production companies, like C&I Studios, around to help you with exactly what you need!
At C&I Studios, we specialize in helping filmmakers create the perfect pilot episode. We provide professional assistance with script writing, casting and crew hiring, location scouting, production planning, and on-set production management.
We have fully-equipped studios just waiting for your set to be built in, and can even provide access to our camera equipment, editing software, and soundstage if needed.
We also offer post-production services like editing, sound mixing, color correction, and more. Our goal is to help you make the best pilot possible so that it will have the best chance of being picked up for series production.
With our help, you’ll be able to create a pilot episode that will make the networks take notice! Contact us today to get started on your journey.