The Mail I Get

I got this email from an aspiring model who wants to create a reality travel show about herself and is worried about somebody stealing it.

I am in the process of trying to write a treatment for a travel show I'd like to pitch to networks, but I am afraid that even if I have my stuff registered with WGA and have it copyrighted that my idea and/or ideas will get stolen. I am just starting out in the business so I am a little naive as far as what exactly I should do. Everything I've found so far seems so negative towards beginners and isn't exactly the most helpful as far as what to do when starting out (other than to hire a show runner or give your idea to someone else, but I want to see if I can do this myself as opposed to having someone else have all the credit).I am also wondering if there is a different process regarding a travel show, since it will only follow my life and is not a sitcom.

You have nothing to worry about registering your idea with the Writers Guild. No one there will steal it from you. It is completely safe. But registering it with the WGA doesn't "copyright" it…it only establishes when you wrote your treatment and holds a copy for safekeeping.

You can't copyright an idea…only your unique execution of it. For example, how many shows have there been about cops in Los Angeles solving murders? It's not the idea that makes each of the shows different, it's the execution and the unique characters.

You may be leery of getting involved with an established producer but let's be realistic. You are a complete unknown and have no experience writing or producing television programs…so what makes you think that any network would buy a travel show from you, especially now, in this terrible economic environment? That's like sketching a car on a napkin and expecting Ford to manufacture it.

One way around this would be to do the show yourself on the cheap on the web. If you can generate some buzz with the webseries, you might attract a cable network to your idea.

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