Freelance Forum notes: Pat O’Mahony on broadcasting

I can’t over emphasise how much – just like print and online – ideas are the life blood of radio and TV. If you have any or are wondering what kind might work, check programme listings and listen and watch to as much as you can can to get a feel for what is now being produced and what might fit around them, either because they’re very similar or totally different.

Who to pitch to is the real conundrum. This is another reason to look and listen, especially for production credits on those programmes that are in the same genre as your ideas. But before you approach anyone, just remember there are only so many ideas out there so others may beat you to the punch; and there are only so many hours to be filled so most proposals are rejected.

Finally, what ideas stand most chance of getting commissioned? To be honest, if I knew I’d be writing this from my chateau in the south of France, but there are undoubtedly some things that help: for instance, exclusive access, to a person, institution, documents, site, etc.; a killer format that will work across a series rather than just a one-off; an important anniversary that gives an opportunity to explore the topic from a time distance; and a hot subject that is right bang in the middle of the ol’ zeitgeist.

Good luck with it. If you want to get in touch, @patomahony1 on Twitter is probably best. If you succeed I’m on my usual percentage, ok?

Some useful Irish links:

Pat O’Mahony