“What Are You Looking For?”
This is the question we get asked the most. On this page, we’ve tried to answer that question as fully and as clearly as possible. Please take the time to read this information and apply these filters to your creative thinking—this will give you the best shot at a successful pitch.
Whether you’re an independent producer, an artist or a freelance creator, these are the opportunities currently available with CBC Arts:
First, it’s important to understand the overall vision and strategy behind CBC Arts.
CBC Arts content lives primarily in the digital realm, with a secondary television presence. Both feature the most surprising, relevant and provocative arts content today—the kind of content that inspires Canadians to come back again and again, and share their favourite stories with their friends.
CBC Arts is for all Canadians who are even a little bit curious about the arts: occasional adventurers, digital explorers, culture vultures, cultural scribblers, working artists, aspiring artists, songbirds, crafters, sophisticates, doodlers and dabblers of all kinds. At the heart of CBC Arts is an online platform curating content from across our TV, radio and online properties, as well as stories, photos and videos both produced in-house and commissioned from artists, producers and the general public.
I WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO EXHIBITIONISTS (as a videographer) AND/OR TO THE CBC ARTS FEED (as a writer):
We are interested in working with and developing diverse content-makers from across the country who can deliver original, creative short videos that tell stories about Canadian issues, arts and culture… And have the potential to be highly shareable in the digital world.
Fresh ~ Diverse ~ Distinct ~ Irreverent
We are where the audience lives.
We are looking for story pitches that showcase fresh, innovative Canadian artists and cultural producers. Our idea of “the arts” is inclusive and contemporary: our ideal story pitches celebrate less traditional art forms including digital arts (e.g. GIFs), web series, podcasting, street art and performance, experimental film, and the way artists interact with social media. They feature fresh, diverse, irreverent and distinct artists—and are highly shareable. Surprise us with something we’ve never seen or done before!
When pitching a story, please ask yourself the following questions:
How do I submit my idea?
Send your story idea to email@example.com. Please put "PITCH" in the subject line and make your proposal one page long. Include links to your past work.
I WANT TO PITCH A CBC ARTS DIGITAL ORIGINAL SERIES:
CBC DIGITAL ORIGINALS take risks, exploring niche stories and themes in the worlds of arts, to entertain active online communities, deliver content that people will talk about and share, and incubate new homegrown talent and formats.
Produced in partnership with Canada’s leading digital storytellers and emerging creators alike, CBC DIGITAL ORIGINALS are video series made for young, diverse audiences whose phone is their dominant screen.
These premium series are designed to build our digital audience reach on CBC.ca and social media. We are looking for risk-taking content that covers underexplored subject matter that is in step with the CBC Arts strategy (above). Episode lengths currently range between 3–10 minutes and most seasons consist of 8–12 individual episodes, but content will dictate the format needs on a project-by-project basis.
Our Current CBC Arts Digital Originals
CBC ARTS Series
Please note: we also commission digital originals in other content areas. For more information, please click here.
I WANT TO PITCH A PRIME TIME TELEVISION SERIES:
In our Arts programming at the moment, we're looking for series that are authentic, distinct and character-driven.
Authentic means real moments experienced by real people. Authentic storytelling doesn’t feel fake or constructed, isn’t superficial, and connects with the audience on an emotional level. We want to showcase the best of Canada. Crash Gallery is built around a series of challenges, but the creative energy and competitive spirit is neither forced nor faked, and the only real prize is bragging rights.
Distinct means that you probably wouldn't see the content on another network. Does your show fit perfectly on another network? Have you seen this story told before? If so, it’s not for us. Our series should celebrate under-represented artists and introduce Canadians to a facet of arts they never considered before.
Character-driven means that we want to hear pitches that are about people, not subjects. Interrupt This Program is not about the history of war-torn cities—it’s about the lives of the residents who are using art as an agent of change. Pitch us a story, pitch us characters, but a pitch that is just about a subject won’t cut it. We need drama, but we’re not about nasty, superficial conflict. The characters in our Arts series are engaging, inspiring, resilient, and forward-thinking.
When reviewing new proposals, we’ll evaluate how your concept addresses each of those elements, and how it helps fulfil the overall mandate and creative direction of the CBC Arts strategy. Other important factors to consider:
Do not be earnest. We want to make art more accessible to our viewers through entertaining, immersive, captivating content. We don’t want to be earnest or old-fashioned.
Make the audience feel something. Our Arts series are not about delivering straight-up information. We deliver emotion and human connection. Create something that will make our audience laugh, cry, gasp and feel proud to be Canadian. Inspire Canadians to become more engaged with the world of arts.
Stay in Canada. We currently have one Unscripted series (Interrupt This Program) that explores the underground arts scene in cities outside Canada—but that’s an exception. We are mostly looking for concepts set in Canada.
Stay present. Our mission is to reflect contemporary society. We are not looking for historical documentaries or biographies.
It’s crowded out there. Drawing eyeballs to new content is no small feat in this crowded media landscape. What unique hook does your series have? What’s the wow factor that’s going to generate buzz and compel the audience to watch? Open our eyes to something surprising and new.
Diversity is key. The CBC continues to invest in diversity both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. This means introducing new perspectives, voices, and topics of conversation, and talent that’s as ethnically, culturally and geographically diverse as the audiences we serve. We encourage all producers to embed diversity of view, subject and approach in your proposals.
Why is the public broadcaster the right partner for this series? This is a big question that we ask of each incoming pitch. Where is the public value in your concept? Why is CBC the best platform to tell your story? This links back to the point above regarding distinct content and bringing new perspectives to the audience.
Our Current CBC Arts Prime Time Television Series
We encourage producers to begin by familiarizing yourselves with our content. Watch CBC on TV or online. Follow the CBC Arts feed on social media. Review our schedule online. Set up a Google Alert so you can be notified when we greenlight a new show, or there’s an article in the press about our programming.
One-page pitches should be sent to the contact below, along with a signed copy of the CBC's Submission Release Form which can be downloaded from this website. If you have any video to support your pitch (ie: host or talent tape, short teaser, etc.) you may include links in your email.
All proposals are reviewed by the commissioning team on a regular basis. If there is interest in a project, you will be contacted for further discussion and refinement of the program proposal.
If the Network is interested in the concept, we embark on a phase of development, the deliverables of which are agreed upon by the producer and the CBC. Development funding is determined by the deliverables.
CBC Submission Release Form
Materials will not be reviewed unless accompanied by a signed CBC Submission Release Form, downloadable here: Submission Release Form (PDF)
All submissions should contain the subject line “Unscripted/Factual” or “Unscripted/Arts” (depending on your concept) followed by the title of your proposal. We will respond to all submissions within 4–6 weeks of receiving a signed CBC Submission Release Form. Please note that we cannot return materials submitted.
Development Manager, Unscripted Content
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