Apple Selecting Developers to Appear on 'Planet of the Apps' Next Year
Earlier this year, Apple posted an open casting call for its upcoming original TV show Planet of the Apps, an unscripted series about apps and the talented developers who make them. The show will serve as a "launch pad" and "accelerator" for up to 100 developers, who will receive mentorship from influencers and entrepreneurs such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, and will.i.am.
Details surrounding the show are still vague, including when it will air in 2017 and how it will be distributed, but the basic premise draws similarities to Shark Tank. Developers will pitch their apps, and those who make it to the final round will meet with top-tier venture capitalists investing up to $10 million over the course of the season, and receive featured placement in the App Store at the end of the show.
Apple accepted applications to be on the show until late September, and we have since learned some of the details about the step-by-step process from a developer selected to be on the show.
The person, who wishes to remain anonymous due to their involvement, said the application process involved four stages:
• First Round: The developer submitted a standard online application on the Planet of the Apps website, including a one-minute video, basic information about the app, and screenshots. Shortly afterwards, he received a phone call from a casting director in Los Angeles, who notified him that he was selected to move on to the next round. The casting director asked him several questions about how he thought of the idea, and why he wanted to be on the show.
• Second Round: The developer was instructed to pitch his app by creating a longer 5-10 minute unedited video that would be professionally edited by the show's staff and then shown to the producers directly. His team was given two weeks to finish this video. The producers provided a checklist of topics to focus on in the video, including how the app works, what makes it unique, how much money desired, and how the money would be used.
In addition, the developers were required to mail in a lengthy application package about the app and an Audition Release granting Apple permission to edit or use the video in any way.
• Third Round: The developer was given one week to sign a lengthy contract covering all of the legal issues behind being on the show, such as accepting equity from investors or Apple. The contract package consisted of forms such as a Participant Agreement, Emergency Medical Release, and App Idea Information Form. The contract was accompanied by another short questionnaire about the app, including how many times it has been downloaded.
In addition, the developer was asked to inform the casting coordinators about his team's availability over the next few months. He said developers will be flown out to Los Angeles on three separate occasions, filming for three days upon each visit for a total of nine days of filming.
• Fourth Round: The developer was subjected to a background check. He said the show's coordinators made it clear that, even at this stage, some of the developers would be selected as standby and would not be guaranteed an appearance on the show. Nevertheless, the show's travel team reached out to the developer to begin the process of booking flights for his team in anticipation of them being accepted on the show.
Principal filming of Planet of the Apps will begin in Los Angeles later this year and may continue until early 2017. The developer who spoke to us believes the first episodes could air around March or April of next year.