Ahead of the publication later this month of Radarscreen, realscreen‘s second annual Global Pitch Guide, the head of France 2′s documentary department Fabrice Puchault (pictured) discusses what he’s looking for and the best way to pitch to him.
WHAT HE’S LOOKING FOR:
Public broadcaster France 2 is the country’s second largest channel and the leading channel for broadcaster France Télévisions Group. Documentaries play an important role for the network, and are presented in three different strands – primetime specials, ‘Infrarouge’ (Infrared) and ‘Grandeurs Nature’ (Nature up-close).
The network aims to take eight or nine primetime specials a year, as either 90-minute one-offs or series ranging from two- to-six 60-minute parts. “We are looking for strong, popular stories for a family audience, and TV events,” says Puchault. “Subjects should immediately ‘ring a bell’ with the audience.” Among the genres targeted are science, history, drama docs, and archive pieces (like Apocalypse, which the channel had great success with).
The ‘Infrarouge’ strand, meanwhile, plays weekly on Thursdays at 11 p.m., airing hour-long one-offs or series consisting of three parts, maximum. It focuses on current affairs, social issues and contemporary history. Finally, ‘Grandeurs Nature’ airs Sundays at 4:30 p.m., consisting of hour-long one-offs or series that are 4 x 60 minutes, max. The strand seeks blue-chip specials suitable for family viewing.
HOW TO PITCH:
Puchault says there are no fixed rules when it comes to pitching, adding that treatments can range from two pages to 15 (although a single page “is never enough”).
“A pitch should give the story, the angle, the narrative structure… a tape could be a plus, but not necessarily,” says Puchault. “Bios and track records of producers and directors are a must have, and sending a previous film that you have done is a good idea.”
Pitches should come by email, and preferably from a production company. “We are also looking for signature docs that could fit our strands,” he explains, “But don’t tell us that the program you pitch is the ‘ultimate,’ or the ‘final,’ and don’t make a lecture about a topic.
“Tell us a story,” he continues. “Of course the program should be of interest for a French audience, although that doesn’t mean it has to be a French subject or have French characters in it. A good fit for us would be major subjects told through intimate points of view. Intimacy, access and emotion are necessary ingredients whatever the subjects are.”
Puchault adds that projects “should strongly involve the viewer, immerse him in a sometimes harsh reality, and keep a strong and solid storyline. Innovation, new insights, and new ways of storytelling are most welcome.”
He is not looking for young male-oriented programs, and does not want reality TV programming for these strands. A guide for producers (in French) can be found at http://www.francetelevisions.fr/guide-des-producteurs.
For history titles, contact the deputy head of the documentary department Barbara Hurel (email@example.com), while for science programs and the ‘Grandeurs Nature’ strand, contact Caroline Glorion (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“The minimum for an acquisition is €15,000 [US$21,000],” says Puchault, “But there is no pricing range per hour. It always depends on the project and on our editorial involvement in the project.”
Puchault and his fellow commissioners attend the Realscreen Summit, MIPTV, MIPCOM, Sunny Side of the Doc, IDFA, and the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers.