When it comes to making business deals, Shaunie O’Neal likes to go for the 3-pointer. The newly-divorced media mogul is proving she can make major moves on her own with her role as executive producer of the highly-popular VH1 reality show, Basketball Wives, its sister series, Football Wives—both for Shed Media—and starting her own production company, Amirah Inc. Not to mention the mother of five is crafting a designer woman’s shoe line sans the high-cost, penning her forthcoming book and placing additional television and movie production ventures on her radar.
The Los Angeles native spoke to BlackEnterprise.com about shopping her reality TV series around, taking your idea from concept to fruition and her three pointers to making it all happen.
Align yourself with the right people:
- Link up with a production company first, then go to a network, advises O’Neal. Not only can the production company protect you legally, they can also leverage their connections and get your foot in a television network’s door. Darrell D. Miller, co-chair of the sports and entertainment department of Fox Rothschild LLP, agrees. “When you’ve got the great idea and they [the production company] have the experience, oftentimes that package makes a network go wild.” A production company and legal counsel will ensure you know the parameters of your deal, such as how names will be listed in the credits, the network’s expectations and each party’s responsibilities.
- The media maven shopped Basketball Wives around to several big name networks, including BET, Bravo and Oxygen, before settling on VH1. If nothing else, the process garnered some great feedback, O’Neal claims. “We had some wonderful feedback and actually more than just VH1 was interested,” says the executive producer. “But we ended up going with VH1 just because they were ready to go now and they presented us with the best offer.”
Present a completed product:
- “Networks like a packaged deal,” reminds O’Neal. “That means you have taken away a lot of work from the production and the network in itself, which is a lot of times what they’re looking for.” You have to have the proper pitch material, Miller adds. Clearly convey your vision of the reality show and back it up with a reel or sizzler so your show’s potential network knows what they’re working with.
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