Creating a pilot episode can be a bit tricky. Ahem, let me be more upfront. You would have better odds of opening a successful restaurant then getting your show picked up by a major television network. Keeping that in mind, here are some words of advice that may help you. Whether you are developing a pilot, or you already have an idea ready to go, you need to be "in the know." There are three important factors of being "in the know." You need to know the right people, know your target audience, and know how to sell.
Know the right people. Most importantly, you have to have the right connections. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you don't know the right people, chances are it will just remain a great idea. Friends and family are a great place to start. If you don't know anyone in the industry, then make new friends. Web pages such as: MySpace and Facebook are great places to start. See what your old high school friends are up to, or look up that guy in college you used to party with that always said he was going to make a movie. Does anyone in your family work in the industry or do they know anyone that does? Network for strong contacts that can help and guide you.
Know your target audience. You need to know the target audience your idea appeals to. There are three important questions to ask yourself. First, what age group does your concept or idea appeal to? Second, what gender does your concept or idea appeal to? And last but not least, what ethnic group does your concept or idea appeal to? Once you figure out who your target audience is, then you need to figure out what television networks cater to that audience.
Know how to sell. You need to know how to sell if you want your pilot to get picked up by a television network. You are essentially asking a television network to make a costly investment in your product. The more you know about the network and it's target audience, the better you will be able to sell your product. Great resources for obtaining this kind of information are the TV Guide, the Internet, IMDB, Variety Magazine, and The Trade. Another important factor in being able to sell is confidence. You need to have confidence in your product. Executives need assurance that if your pilot is turned into an episodic TV show it will sell. And not just sell, but sell big. Are there merchandising opportunities? Are there product placement opportunities? Is there anything you can do to make your product more profitable?
Overall, there is nothing glamorous about creating a pilot for a TV network. It takes a lot of luck, hard work, and determination. So...stay "in the know" and good luck!