If you've got the experience, talent and drive to be a television hunting personality, learning how to get a hunting show is the first step in launching a new career. Hunting shows, like most shows, are pitched, and often a pilot is shot before the show goes into production.
What you'll need:
- Preproduction plan differentiating your show from others
- Hunting gear
- Solid history of successful hunts
- Access to 3 CCD camera equipment
- A team with video and field sound experience
- Camera ready personality
- Strong hunting ethics
- Relationships with outfitters
concepts for multiple 13 or 26 episodes of your show
- Develop your skill as an ethical hunter. As the host or producer of a hunting show you're going to be representing all the best in hunting to a broad audience of hunters and non hunters. Be sure your conduct is always above board.
- Do your market research. To whom is your hunting show targeted? Often new producers simply assume their audience is just like them, but if you are a big hunter, a majority of your audience is going to be nothing like you. Remember, they are on the couch watching you, not out in the field doing what you're doing. Figure out how many people are compelled by what you do as a hunter, then make sure it's on your show.
- Concept your show. With hundreds of hunting shows both on television and the web, you've got to develop a standout concept that can last season after season. Make sure it's something within your budget. If you don't have the funding to travel, hunt and take your hunting show crew around the world, don't plan it in your concept. It's rare for a station to pick up all the costs for you to go on amazing adventures. More likely, you will pick up costs and receive a fee each time a show runs.
- Create a business plan. Figure the costs of creating your hunting show. Include costs for your talent (even if it is you), your crew, travel, hunting licenses, and access to land, then add 10%. You may be able to recoup many of these costs through sponsorships, but it's important to know the bottom line up front.
Develop your "wilderness" pitch
So, if you were pitching the next Law & Order you'd have an elevator pitch. The concept of a wilderness pitch is that no matter where you are you could run into someone that could sponsor your hunting show. You've got to be able to introduce your concept and hook your audience, or a top exec at Browning, Binelli, Smith & Wesson you run across in the field will leave you like a clutch of out of season turkeys in the brush.
- Shoot promotional footage. Better than talk, shooting and editing promotional footage of your hunting show gets people immediately invested. If your footage is compelling, investors will know your hunting show is compelling.
Shop your show to multiple networks. Consider all of the networks you could present your show. Make a connection and find out if and when you can pitch your hunting show. Your pitch may change, depending on the venue.
- Seek promotional tie ins. Once you have an outlet for your show you will be able to approach companies for product sponsorships. Are there clothing lines, scent eliminators, gun or bow manufacturers that are trying to get the word out about the abilities of a new product? These may be the opportunities you need to cover additional travel and more exotic hunts in your show.
- Shoot your pilot. Now it's time to shoot the pilot episode of your hunting show. The pilot should lay out the basic premise of your show and give viewers a sense of the kind of action they can expect to see throughout the season. "Upland game hunting in Antarctica" will be a pretty short lived show, so make sure your premise is compelling and that it has longevity.
- Go into full production. It's finally time to get the show on the road. Now you can execute all those plans you made in the preproduction and production phases of developing your hunting show.
For more from Doug Erb visit dougerb.com.
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