How much should I charge to write a script for a TV pilot?
Category: General Discussion
Posted by Chris Leonard
Created 1 year, 3 months ago
Views: 46
Replies: 6

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Smyrna, GA
A friend has the financial backing to shoot an hour long TV pilot. He has a basic idea, which sounds solid, though needs it fleshed out into an hour long episode. Does anyone have a rough idea on how much I should charge? Thank you for any feedback.

San Francisco, CA
You should at least get Writers' Guild minimum. Go to their website and see about logistics. Also, your agent should negotiate that for you. Mine got me $100,000 for the first of my 3 screenplays. For my 2 TV pilots, WG minimum but I also negotiated to write a minimum of 6 episodes for each show. Plus, make sure you're credited as the CREATOR (or least one of them) of show. The money will come fast and furious.
What kind of budget does your friend have? Most pilots can sell for up to $50,0000. But prices vary depending on how much a production company or Network is willing to pay. But if this is an indie production then it might be a lot less, unless you sell it to a TV network, or Internet TV network. And average sitcom pilot is between $300,0000 to $500,000 to shoot. For a drama series pilot expect to shove out between $500,0000 to 12 million max in order to have a professional production company to shoot it. But don't let this scare you, learn to sell some advertisement space on your pilot in order to supplement the cost, and help meet you friend's backing half way. You might want to help raise some money on sites like kick starter or indie -go-go.

I hope this helps. If you need a production company just send me an email in my inbox.

But forewarn DON'T GET A cheap production company to shoot your pilot. Spend what money you have to, Or you might end up with a worthless pilot that can't be sold.

Smyrna, GA
Thank you for the reply. I emailed with a friend who has written a few scripts for Nollywood, and he suggested I charged $200 for a 30 minute pilot script. As for shooting it, there is an investor involved, though I don't know how much he wants to spend.
I personally wouldn't charge $200 dollars for a TV script, the pilot is pretty much a gateway to a TV series. A person can sell the filmed pilot for more once it's shot. To any Network. Any they're not under any obligation to pay you anymore.

Smyrna, GA
You're absolutely right, I meant $2000. That is for an hour long pilot and 2 revisions. Thank you for the feedback.
$2000 is the correct price to charge because he has the idea and you'll just be a Commissioned Writer


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