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Want to learn how to pitch a reality show?

September 10, 2010 | 10:33 am

Got a reality show or a documentary movie you think can be a sleeper hit? Well, you can try your luck at WestDoc: The West Coast Documentary and Reality Conference, which takes place next week in Santa Monica.

This is the second annual WestDoc conference. Last year, about 400 people came to the event to pitch shows and learn how to fine tune their project. This year, 500 are expected to beg and plead for a few minutes with some of the executives and producers roaming the Doubletree in Santa Monica.

Among the companies participating are ABC, Discovery, Animal Planet, E!, ESPN, Bravo, Creative Artists Agency and TLC. The conference, which was co-founded by producers Richard Propper and Chuck Braverman, is aimed at giving producers a chance to get feedback from the networks they want to pitch.

Besides the usual panels about the state of the reality and documentary business, WestDoc will also offer attendees two chances to get feedback from the networks and producers they want to pitch. One such panel may best be described as speed dating for producers. The way it works is attendees will be given an opportunity to land a one-on-one meeting with a network executive during a session called, appropriately enough, "Face Time." The lucky ones who get face time will have 10 minutes to make a pitch.

There is also a contest between 12 previously selected producers and directors to make pitches in front of executives from various cable networks and an audience of conference attendees. The winner walks away with $7,500.

Last year's winner, Bess Kargman, is currently putting the finishing touches on her documentary "First Position," about seven kids and teens competing in the Youth America Grand Prix, a student ballet competition.

"Some of the funding I got definitely came out of WestDoc," said Kargman, who said one of her biggest financiers approached her after she won the contest and offered to fund much of her production.

That was a good break for her, since last year's first-place prize wasn't cash but a Tiffany pitcher.

"I feel gyped," she joked.

For more on the conference, visit the WestDoc site.

-- Joe Flint