Producer Area and Guidelines

Making Programs for VisionTV

VisionTV works with independent producers from Canada and around the world on a broad range of programming including documentary series and one-offs, lifestyle series, and music series and specials. We are committed to cultural diversity and the fair and accurate reflection of people of all faiths, cultures and races. We have very specific requirements. Please read this guide carefully.

We are accepting proposals for the 2016/2017 broadcast year.

All series and one-off documentary, lifestyle and music program commitments have been made for VisionTV’s 2015 – 2016 broadcast year (Sept. 1-Aug. 31).

We receive up to 500 proposals per year and it may take us up to eight weeks or more to review your project.

Sections

Required Forms

Technical Specifications

Who We Are

VisionTV (ZoomerMedia, Television Division) serves the interests of Canada’s largest demographic, the 14.5 million Canadians who are 45 plus. The channel, licensed as a multi-faith broadcaster in 1988, features Zoomer news, movies, music and faith.

About 50% of the schedule is comprised of dramas, comedies, documentaries, music, information and current affairs programs – presented, produced, co-produced and acquired by VisionTV.

The other half of the schedule is produced and presented by approximately 90 faith groups. This programming ranges from the Daily Mass and Reflections on Islam, to Insight Into Sikhism and Context with Lorna Dueck.

Sixty-five percent of programming in the overall schedule and 50% of programming in prime-time is Canadian.

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Who Watches VisionTV

VisionTV is available as a “basic” service on cable and satellite in approximately 10 million households across Canada. One in four Canadians tune in to VisionTV at least once a month. An average of 3 million people tune-in to Vision TV each week and 7.9 million people will tune-in each quarter.

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What We are Looking For

We are looking for programs that include:

  • Religious subject matter as it intersects with groundbreaking thinking and discoveries in politics, science, archeology, social/cultural/world issues, and religious leaders/icons.
  • Speculative fiction, i.e., supernatural/paranormal/apocalyptic themes.
  • Music programs featuring well known hymns and gospel music.

Proposals can be submitted at any time following our submission guidelines and must include a signed release form. See Submission Guidelines and Release Form below.

Documentary Series and One-Offs — Recent or Currently Airing

Facing Extremism — On the surface an Islamic terrorist, white supremacist, honour killer and violent right-to-lifer would seem to share little in common, but through the exchange of stories from perpetrators and victims of hate crimes and terrorism, we find out what goes into the making of any extremist, and into breaking that mindset. Experts on the psychology of extremism help us tie these divergent stories together. We don’t take sides that support or condemn any belief or political cause, but simply share the stories to gain new insight into the pathology of extremism and ways to stop the hate.

Sex + Religion — What is the relationship between religion and sexuality? Where does sex fit into the pursuit of divine enlightenment? Is it an integral part of who we are or is it a blind biological drive that distracts us from realizing our highest spiritual goals? In a world in which we are bombarded with sexual messages, can we unite our sexual desires with our divine purpose? In order to get to the heart of this dilemma, this 13-part documentary series explores the world’s four major religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism, and interviews ministers, rabbis, imams, priests and other religious experts to give us insight into how ordinary people can reconcile their sexuality and their love of God.

The Naked Archaeologist — Is the Bible history or myth? Present-day archaeology may hold the answer. In this series, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici investigates the mysteries of Biblical archaeology.

Biblical ForensicsReal Faces of the Bible< is a four-part documentary series that blends myth-busting archaeology with dramatic recreations and forensic investigation. Having been granted unprecedented access to four ancient skulls from the Holy Land, each episode seeks to accurately reconstruct a “biblical” face. Travelling across the globe, archaeologists and scholars separate fact from myth, while a team of forensic anthropologists and artists put flesh on bone, using both traditional and state-of-the-art methods of facial reconstruction.

Unlikely Obsession: Churchill and the Jews — A powerful new documentary film based on the acclaimed Churchill biographer Sir Martin Gilbert’s book that examines a neglected aspect of one of world history’s most renown leaders; Winston Churchill’s relationship to Jews and Jewish issues. Drawing on a treasure trove of interviews featuring Churchill family members, Lord Conrad Black, Sir Martin Gilbert, Alan Dershowitz, The 11th Duke of Marlborough and others, Avrich shows how Churchill grew beyond the kind of friendship with individual British Jews to an unlikely obsession in becoming a supporter of Jewish causes—most notably being responsible for determining the future status of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. As a war leader and peacetime prime minister, this film examines the origins, implications, and results of Churchill’s commitment to Jews.

The Science of Sin — People lie, cheat, steal, and yes, they still ‘covet thy neighbour’s wife’. Deadly or not…big or little…people sin. Every major religion has a stance on sin, and in our secular world, almost all modern-day laws have been written to curb the dark sinner lurking within all of us. What remains a mystery is why we sin, even when our brains know better.

This is a 4-part series that explores the shadowy pathways of the human mind to examine why the temptation to sin is evolutionarily hard-wired and asks if this scientific reality can be trumped by culture, laws or religion.

Each of the films tackles two of the Seven Deadly Sins with a modern twist, interweaving leading-edge science with the personal stories of our ‘characters’— regular people who have sinned in life-changing ways. The final episode will explore only the one sin of “Pride”, as we find out why it is still regarded as the “mother of all sins”.

God Bless America — In this new six-part documentary series, award-winning Canadian broadcast journalist Ralph Benmergui visits our southern neighbour to learn how and why religious faith has come to play such an important role in the political life of the United States. The program’s premiere is part of a series of special broadcasts on faith and politics, marking the January 20th inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Decoding Christianity — For two thousand years the finest artists in the world have been inspired by the core beliefs of Christianity. Adopting a thematic, investigative and quirky approach we bring the audience on a journey of discovery unlocking the mysteries of the church and its symbolism. A six-part series.

Speculative Fiction — Documentary Series

Apocalypse…When? — Why do we keep anticipating The End of the World…an end that never materializes? What happens when nothing happens? The series explores the origins, implications, repercussions, and psychology of Doomsday thinking.

Supernatural Investigator — Have extraterrestrials visited our planet? Did vengeful demons hound a Canadian journalist to his death? Why did the U.S. government experiment with ESP during the Cold War? Did the world’s greatest escape artist somehow slip the bonds of death? This documentary anthology series from VisionTV takes a critical look at other worldly phenomena in an attempt to separate fact from fiction.

Episode List: The Antichrist; Life from other Planets; What Killed Joe Fisher Part 1: The Trap is Set; What Killed Joe Fisher Part 2: The Trap is Sprung; The Crystal Skulls; Remembering Past Lives; Seeing 911; Remote Viewing; Hex or Hoax?; Chaos Magick; The White Mountain Abduction; The Nightmare; Detour on the Road to Atlantis; The Seducers; Hunting Houdini; It’s in the Stars; Occult Architecture – Washington, DC.

Music Series

God’s Greatest Hits — Because music is so subjective, it is very difficult to pronounce any single piece the most holy or most divine. The five selected for this first of its kind documentary series are not only popular and moving, but have stood on their own throughout history: Amazing Grace; Hallelujah; Ave Maria; Wade in the Water; and Abide With Me.

God’s Greatest Hits not only combines contemporary renditions and archival performance footage, it goes behind the music and gives the fascinating history of each selection. Breathtaking performances are intermingled with discussions with musical luminaries, including critics, world class musicians and religious experts.

Time to Sing — Viewers at home are invited to sing-along with the series hosts, Marshall Hall and Rosalie Drysdale, and singers as they continue the Canadian gospel music traditions — all in a warm relaxed atmosphere.

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International Co-production and a Note to Non-Canadian Producers

Because of VisionTV’s licence requirement to broadcast 65% Canadian content, all of our commissioned programming must carry Canadian content certification. This means that Canadian producers must be involved in a production for it to qualify as a true co-production meeting CAVCO and/or CRTC co-production guidelines.

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What We are NOT Looking for

  • Second windows
  • Short films in any genre (less than 22 minutes)
  • Comedy Series
  • Drama series and dramatic feature films
  • Half hour, one-off programs in any genre (except for specific strands)

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Canadian Content Requirements

Virtually all of the documentary programming VisionTV broadcasts must qualify as Canadian content. This means that foreign producers must work with Canadian co-producers to achieve a qualifying rating on the CAVCO scale.

If you are a foreign producer with a Canadian partner, have a project you feel is appropriate to VisionTV and which qualifies for CAVCO, please feel free to send it. (Continue to read down for details.)

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Submitting a Proposal to VisionTV

What proposals must include:

  1. Submission date
  2. Program title
  3. Length — e.g. 22 (1/2 hr. slot), 45 (1 hr. slot), feature (specify length)
  4. Number of episodes
  5. Genre — e.g. documentary one off, mini-series or feature; docu-drama; lifestyle; music
  6. Region in which your company is located — e.g. Western (BC to Manitoba); Central (Ontario); Eastern (Quebec and Atlantic Provinces); North (northern territories)
  7. Co-Production (if applicable) — co-producing countries
  8. Strand (if applicable) e.g. I Prophesy
  9. Logline — a one-line description of the program/series
  10. Synopsis — a concise description of the program/series that fully conveys the creative treatment. Maximum 150 words.
  11. Treatment — includes the background, key issues, key characters and the access you have to them, host or investigator’s role (if applicable), the way the story will be told, the style and tone, the devices that will be used (e.g. narration, interviews, verite footage, archival stills or footage, CGI, re-enactments, graphics, etc.). Maximum four pages.
  12. Titles and short paragraph description of each episode for series
  13. Story arc or structure broken into acts (see break structure above)
  14. Low res photographs are welcome. (Feature photos for website should be 600 pixels x 380 pixels or larger.)
  15. CVs of the creative team — we are looking for clear proof that you and your team have the knowledge, qualifications and track record to make the project not only succeed but shine.
  16. Full contact information
  17. Preliminary budget top sheet (summary), finance plan and demo or trailer
  18. Release Form — Proposals MUST be submitted with a release form. Click the link to download and print the Release Form. Sign, scan and send as PDF with your proposal or send by fax to 416-368-9774.

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Meeting with Us

We frequently meet producers, most often after we have discussed an idea by phone or after they have sent an outline or complete written proposal. Given the volume of proposals we receive for consideration from across Canada, it can be difficult for us to find time to meet on spec. We are often at festivals, events and industry gatherings across the country where we participate in panels and pitch sessions.

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Where to Send Your Proposal

Proposals MUST be sent by email to: proposals@zoomermedia.ca

Hard copies are NOT required but if you wish, they may be mailed to:

VP, Independent Production
ZoomerMedia, Television Division
64 Jefferson Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M6K 1Y4

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What We Pay for Programming

Should your proposal be accepted, VisionTV would enter into a pre-sale licence fee agreement for the project. Every project is different and there is no hard and fast rule. Pre-sale agreements, meaning agreements to licence a project based on a written proposal submitted by an independent producer, can range anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 per hour, depending on the project. Click here for a complete list of all Funding Sources.

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Windows and Exclusivity

VisionTV requires a five-year period of exclusivity in Canada.

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Requirements Should Your Project be Accepted and Produced

  • Canadian content certification with a CAVCO and CRTC number
  • Errors and omissions insurance
  • Closed Captioning
  • Described video

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Important Notes

VisionTV has been acknowledged as Canada’s most exemplary broadcaster in terms of diversity. All of our programming conforms to the VisionTV Code of Ethics, Standards and Practices, and is consistent with fostering respect and tolerance of all faiths and cultures. We also actively seek to ensure that our programming reflects the full spectrum of faiths and cultures in Canada and provides a voice for those infrequently heard in the media.

VisionTV is a member in good standing of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and all programs must adhere to the standards established by that organization. In addition, VisionTV is required to comply with the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children. VisionTV also expects all programs to comply with CAB’s Sex-Role Portrayal Code for Television and Radio Programming and CAB’s Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming.

VisionTV is an English language service and only accepts proposals and projects that originate in English.

Normally we respond to proposals in eight weeks or more. Please be patient as the number of proposals to be read and tapes to be screened can be overwhelming for our limited staff. Please do not expect “rush treatment”. Exceptions cannot be made to meet other funding deadlines. If you know of a deadline coming up, you can best ensure that it is met by submitting your proposal a minimum of eight weeks in advance.

Unsolicited proposals and tapes are not returned, so do not send us your original copies.

We recognize that all ideas or projects presented in written form have been submitted in confidence by the independent producer and undertake not to pass any information about ideas or proposals to any third party without first obtaining consent. Please also be aware that ideas submitted to us may be similar or identical to those already developed by VisionTV or which others have already submitted. We accept no responsibility for duplication of ideas.

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Legal Waiver

In submitting a proposal or idea to VisionTV (whether via email, phone, mail, courier, hand delivery, tape, CD or a face to face meeting) you understand that VISION will not make any use of the proposal or idea that you are submitting to us except under the terms of an agreement to be negotiated between us.

You acknowledge and agree that our receipt and review of your proposal or idea does not mean that your proposal or idea or the underlying concept therein is unique or original. Similarly, you acknowledge and agree that VISION, or other persons, may have previously created or may in the future independently create something that is substantially similar or identical to your proposal or idea, which we will have the unrestricted right to use with no liability or obligation to you.

You have retained a copy of the Materials submitted to us and release us from liability for loss or damage to such Materials. The Materials submitted by you will not be returned. All of the above applies equally to any proposal or idea you have in the past or may in the future submit to us.

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