In the past, trying to produce any television show was for most people a difficult if not impossible goal to achieve. But during the last few years, there have been some remarkable achievements in modern technology.
We now have access to high definition consumer camcorders available for under $1,000 which are more than capable of producing broadcast quality video footage. And with ordinary personal computers and video editing software capable of producing professional looking results in high definition, we’ve arrived in an era where a single individual can produce their own professional grade television show with minimal personnel and at minimal cost never before imagined.
This page will demonstrate how you can become a true television show producer — a producer whose creations are broadcast on a nationally available television channel.
What is The Canadian Public ®?
The Canadian Public ® will become Canada’s first national public access digital television specialty channel, specializing in television shows produced by Canadian citizens and organizations from across the country and around the world. The channel’s primary mandate will be to promote and broadcast as much Canadian content as possible not only on the Canadian airwaves, but also on other distribution platforms such as the Internet.
Unlike other specialty channels, The Canadian Public ®‘s revenue will be generated exclusively through the sale of advertising space. The channel will receive no culture based government financing whatsoever, nor collect any subscription fees from digital cable and satellite providers.
The Canadian Public ® will be a hybrid Canadian community channel, American public access channel, and a for-profit commercial television channel all rolled into a single package.
Who can participate?
Every Canadian citizen and organization from across the country and around the world can submit their own independently produced, full length television shows for broadcast consideration. Your production team can consist of friends and family, or you can be part of an existing or upcoming production company, local community channel, major film studio, or any organization involved in the film and television industry.
What’s important is that your production team’s major participants be Canadian citizens, and the production company (if you have one) must be owned and operated by Canadian citizens or by corporations that are also Canadian owned and operated. This is required in order for your production to be officially recognized as Canadian Content.
Being a permanent resident of Canada is not enough. You and your principal production team must all be Canadian citizens as recognized under Canadian law.
If you or any member of your production team are under the age of 18, we will require written consent from the parents or legal guardian before accepting any of your submissions.
Will the submission process be complicated?
Our submission policy will only be slightly more complicated than the submission policy of most on-line video Web sites. We want to make this channel as accessible as possible to the general public, and not bog everyone down in a bureaucratic nightmare.
Will I get paid?
Yes, but don’t expect much beyond twenty bucks unless your show becomes a success.
The channel’s goal is to pay all producers up to 40% of the estimated profit from the revenue generated by their show’s broadcast. What you’ll receive as payment will be determined by the popularity of your show with the advertisers.
The advertisers will be purchasing their air time via a private on-line auction site, bidding for the most lucrative advertising spots available during the broadcast of each and every show. So even if your show doesn’t necessarily achieve the week’s highest overall ratings, you might still receive a bigger payment than expected if you show is watched by any of the lucrative audience demographics.
I’ve already sold a portion of my show to advertisers.
This will reduce and may even eliminate your share of the revenue generated from the sale of advertising time through the channel. We’ll need to talk this one over.
How will you decide what goes on the air, and when?
The Canadian Public ® will maintain a strict policy of total neutrality. Neither discriminatory practices nor preferential treatment will be tolerated under any circumstances regardless of their nature or apparent good intentions of such actions. All submission will be on an equal footing regardless of the source. So feel free to try just about anything you can conjure up.
Your submitted show’s scheduling will be determined by the evaluation of your show’s potential success not only on a per-episode basis, but also as a regular running series. The shows demonstrating the highest potential will be scheduled during the lucrative Monday to Friday evening prime time hours, which will be reserved exclusively to Canadian produced television shows.
Who produces the shows?
All of the channel’s programming must be produced by the contributors, including all television shows produced in our future production facilities. As the channel’s revenues grow, local production facilities will be set up across the country in order to help growing television production teams create bigger and better shows.
What kind of equipment should I use?
The quality of today’s consumer electronics have evolved to the point where even the recordings from low-budget camcorders are now suitable for standard definition television broadcasts. However, if possible, we strongly recommend you use at the very least a high definition camcorder equipped with an external microphone. This type of equipment could improve the quality of your productions to the point where they’ll qualify for high definition broadcasting, which we plan to exploit in the upcoming years once the bandwidth costs become reasonable.
For those who have excellent show ideas but simply don’t have access to the equipment required to produce them, an equipment rental service will be made available in the future. For now however, you’ll have to scrounge for what you need.
Who owns the shows?
The Canadian Public ® and its parent company, TCPub Media Inc., have a strict policy of owning and controlling absolutely nothing at all. All material submitted for broadcast consideration remains the property of the contributor, including all productions made using company equipment, and prepared at our future production facilities.
You produce it, you own it.
What can I produce? Or, what can’t I produce?
There are three basic rules.
- No explicit depictions of human sexuality,
- No promotion of religion,
- No promotion of hatred.
This doesn’t mean there can’t be any reasonable discussions on these subjects. It simply means that your submission can’t actively promote or exploit these particular subject matters. For example, you can discuss issues related to human sexuality, but you can’t actually show anyone engaged in sexual activity. This is a public access channel, not a porno channel.
The subject of religion is already a highly explosive issue, and the active promotion of one’s faith will not be permitted. However, you can still discuss religion in a social or human rights context such as, for example, the persecution of Falun Gong followers in the Republic of China.
The promotion of hatred against any particular group will of course be strictly forbidden. Exposing and uncovering acts of hatred in the name of social justice however will be strongly encouraged.
There will also be a few other rules such as restricting most scenes of violence, nudity and strong language to adult viewing hours. Product placements will also be severely restricted due to their invasive nature, and infomercials will be strictly forbidden.
If you use some common sense when conceiving your show, and you respect our basic content restrictions, you should have no problems submitting to the channel just about anything you can imagine.
What kind of show can I submit?
This is a public access channel. Follow the basic content restrictions, use some common sense, and you can pretty much submit anything that matches the following CRTC categories as authorized in the channel’s Category 2 Digital Specialty license:
2 (a) Analysis and interpretation
(b) Long-form documentary
3 Reporting and actualities
5 (b) Informal education/Recreation and leisure
6 (a) Professional sports
(b) Amateur sports
7 Drama and comedy
(a) Ongoing drama series
(b) Ongoing comedy series (sitcoms)
(c) Specials, mini-series or made-for-TV feature films
(d) Theatrical feature films aired on TV
(e) Animated television programs and films
(f) Programs of comedy sketches, improvisations, unscripted works, stand-up comedy
(g) Other drama
8 (a) Music and dance other than music video programs or clips
(b) Music video clips
(c) Music video programs
10 Game shows
11 General entertainment and human interest
13 Public service announcements
Did you notice what was missing from the list? Interstitials, religion, and infomercials. The Canadian Public ® is about entertaining and educating the Canadian audience, and not about broadcasting a series of short subjects, or promoting one’s faith or merchandise. Other categories not included in the license are formal education, preschool, and filler material.
Can I submit my own idea for a show?
You can submit an idea for a show as long as you’re fully aware that we won’t produce the show for you. We’ll only assist you in determining if your idea has any merit. Regardless of our opinion, you’re pretty much free do do whatever you want with your concept. You will personally reap the rewards or suffer the consequences on the outcome of your production.
Can I submit something I made for my film class?
If the copyright is in the name of the school instead of your name or your production company’s name, it’s possible that only the school is authorised to submit the material to the channel unless you’ve made prior arrangements with your school. There are a few schools in North America that require their students to surrender all of their intellectual property rights to the school as a condition of registration. So check with your school administration before submitting any student projects.
I have the rights to an old Canadian TV show or movie.
As long as you accept being paid based on the advertising revenue generated during the broadcast of your material, we’ll certainly consider it especially if it was once very popular or offered something very unique.
I don’t want my show distributed on the Internet.
No problem. The show’s owners are the ones who decide if they want their show distributed or not on the Internet via live streaming and BitTorrent. This form of distribution is entirely voluntary with one exception (read the next item).
I can’t think of anything!
The Canadian Public ® will provide concepts for new shows at no charge which you’ll find under our Web site’s Show Ideas category. Since these show concepts will be under the protection of a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada license, you are free to use them at your discretion and even profit from them if you can, but you will also be required to license your show under the same Creative Commons license agreement, which means your show must be distributed on the Internet via live streaming as well as via BitTorrent.
If you use one of our show ideas, you’ll have to share your finished product with everyone.
I have some fantastic product placements in my show!
You have a problem.
Although it’ll be impossible to ban every single product placement from every show presented on The Canadian Public ®, we won’t accept a show if it’s overloaded with so many obvious product placements that it makes the entire show look like an elaborate infomercial. There’s already enough commercials on the air as it is.
I made a movie.
That alone is quite an accomplishment! If it’s really good, we’ll air it during one of our weeknight movie showcases.
I made a horror movie which may not be suitable for prime time.
Don’t worry! It’ll be perfect for the Saturday Night Bloodbath!
Bring a date! And a chainsaw!
My production is not Canadian. In fact, I’m not Canadian myself. I’m from [insert country here].
For the first few months following the channel’s launch, we will accept foreign submission while we build a steady flow of Canadian submissions to come in. As the number of Canadian productions we receive increases, the number of foreign productions which we’ll accept will decrease.
The goal of The Canadian Public ® is to become a true English language Canadian channel, and not a national broadcaster of American content.