Guidelines for Planning a Television Program

We hope this information will help you get started planning the video program you’ve always thought you ought to produce. We don't pretend to have covered everything here. For instance, the question of why to use video instead of some other medium is an issue for another time.

If there's one thing we've learned in the many years we've been making videos, it's that the most important part of every project is the planning. That's why nine of the twelve steps listed here are planning stages.

 1. Executive Producer

Designate an Executive Producer - yourself or someone you trust implicitly - who will have the authority to approve or disapprove any aspect of the project, including expenses and script content.


This person's decisions must be considered final.

 2. Objectives

State the objective: precisely what the program is to achieve.

-Train in psycho-motor activity
-Convey abstract ideas
-Persuade/change attitudes

Note that video is not the best medium for communicating a lot of facts. That's better done on paper.

Start by writing one or two sentences stating exactly what your program is supposed to achieve. This becomes the criterion by which all content will be judged: if it contributes to the objective, it's in; if not, it's out.

 3. Audience

Identify the audience and the place where they will be watching the program. Take a few minutes to think about this and then describe on paper the typical viewer for your program.


Be as specific as possible: age, sex, socio-economic background, occupation, outlook/attitude, and so on.


And where: in a classroom, auditorium/theater, study carrel, at home, against-the-wall-in-the-mall- to-be-viewed-by-all? We want to design the finished product to stand up in a worst-case situation.

 4. Technical Consultant

Unless the executive producer can perform this function, designate a technical consultant--a content expert who can carefully follow the script and/or stand by during recording sessions, watching to make sure we don't make the kind of glaring errors that would damage the credibility of the program.

 5. Treatment / Format

Develop a "treatment," a brief narrative description of the program. The treatment should say what the proposed show is all about and also reflect in its writing the style of the show.


Don't include specific production information such as types of lighting or camera angles; save this information for the script.


Keep the treatment brief and concise. It should simply describe what the video will show.

 6. Content Outline

Prepare a content outline--a comprehensive list of the necessary ingredients, factual or conceptual. We will use this as a checklist to make sure we don't leave out anything that's really important.

 7. Consultation with EPCC-TV

We suggest you consult with your EPCC-TV staff before beginning the actual script. Hard as it is to imagine, there may be something we just can't do here. So don't invest too much time before finding out if it's possible for us to finish your project. We also reserve the right to reject projects that we believe would not effectively meet their objectives or would cast EPCC in a bad light.

 8. Script

We can write it with your guidance and help. If you write it yourself, please be prepared for us to recommend some changes based on our own experience with video production. In any case, the finished script must be approved by the executive producer with the understanding that any subsequent changes may drastically delay or even pre- vent completion of the production.

 9. Logistical Arrangements

Arrange for locations and talent. You may be required to gain access for us to taping locations and to schedule participation by required persons at times that fit into our schedule

Generally M-F/8-5.

 10. Recording

Finally it is time for the actual recording. Your presence at each session is not always necessary.

 11. Post - Production

Post-production is pretty much just for us to do. We know your objectives, your audience and venue, and your required content, and we have the script you approved. We sit down at an editing console and put it all together, calling you only in case of emergency or when the project is finished (whichever comes first).

 12. Distribution

We make copies in the format (tape, disc etc.) you wish to use. The edited master remains on file here at the EPCC-TV, where it can be used to make more copies.

Cost Estimates
After you have described for us the nature and scope of your proposed project, we will be able to provide you an estimate of the final cost. If any of the visual or audio content you specify requires that we employ resources from outside the EPCC-TV, we will proceed only after obtaining approval from the executive producer for any extra expenses that may be incurred.

For our clients within EI Paso Community College, production costs normally are billed to a departmental budget number (Journal Entry) at the end of the month during which the project is completed. Note also that the El Paso County Community College District owns the copyright in all media materials produced EPCC-TV and reserves all rights. The requestor must agree that no copies of these materials will be made or distributed without the specific authorization of the EI Paso County Community College District.

Please contact the EPCC-TV production office for further details. Make arrangements to meet with us by calling 831-6560. Our normal hours are 8 -5 Monday through Friday. Feel free to drop in at our office.