PITCHING HINTS FROM CHRISTINE
Your next step is to sell your script. This is known as the pitch. A pitch is a summary of your screenplay. This pitch is usually presented verbally to a producer, an agent, a manager or an executive. The preliminary pitch is about 20-seconds. The next pitch is about 5 minutes. A more extensive pitch is about 45 minutes.
A 20-second pitch needs to be short and captivating. It usually focuses on the logline without embellishments. The 20-second pitch is to excite an interest in your audience. It captures the essence of screenplay while not going into detail. The best 20-second pitches are those that state that a screenplay is similar to a commercial movie but different in some way. For example, Jason Bourne was pitched as James Bond with amnesia. The Incredibles was a movie that twisted a popular concept of Superheroes playing the everyday man.
One of the reasons that the 20-second pitch is so brief is that typically a producer or manager or agent or developmental executive will have to recall your pitch to many other people. If they get confused or can’t present your pitch well then it may not get presented at all.
A 5-minute pitch is even more crucial because it is expansive overview of your story. It includes interesting details including twists and turns in your story and your character arc. It must be so fascinating that the person listening will ask questions. If your audience asked questions, this is a good sign. If they just thank you and move on then they are not interested.
The 20 minute to 45 minute pitches are done by invitation only. Once a producer, agent or manager expresses strong interest in your screenplay or your writing skills then this will happen.
Getting through the pitching process is challenging especially for those writers who expertise is writing and not selling. We strongly recommend hiring a pitching consultant. If you can’t present your script then you will never sell it.
There are important points to remember when working on your pitch:
Pitch your genre. If it is comedy, make it funny. If you are pitching a thriller or a horror film, make your pitch come across suspenseful.
Be brief. Do not give details, such as descriptions of your protagonist in terms of where they are from unless they have a direct effect of the progression of your story.
Sound natural. Do not read word from word from a cue card. You should not sound rehearsed. Deliver it with enthusiasm and excitement.
Learn about the person that you are pitching to. What movies have they or their company done. What genres? How much money did the movies gross.
Only compare your movie to successful movies. Avoid comparing your movie to unsuccessful movies.
Perfecting your script is the most important thing that you can do but it is no good if you can’t sell it. First, you can pitch to friends and relatives. Then, you can hire a pitch consultant. Don’t spend thousands but find someone in the industry that has years of experience and charges a reasonable fee.
The world is your oyster …
It makes you realize how people feel after they hear 20 pitches. Engaging and interesting is key. Invest the time and energy to perfect your pitch.
If you need help, we have experts provide assistance and provide a money-back guarantee.
MORE PITCHING HINTS
9 Pitching Hints that Every Screenwriter Should Know
- The first 6-10 words out of your mouth are by far the most important.
- If your screenplay is based on a published book (preferably not self-published) and you own the rights, then mention this immediately.
- If you won or placed high in a top writing contest such as Nichols Fellowship, Sundance or Toronto Film Festival then definitely mention this immediately. FYI – Nearly every Sherwood Oaks student that became a Nichols semi-finalist gets paid to write after attending a seminar.
- If your story is meant for animation, then wait until the end of your pitch and state that it could be either live action or animation.
- Avoid asking rhetorical questions.
- The goal is to have the person that you are pitching to ask questions and do most of the talking after your initial 20-second to 2 minute pitch.
- Be sure to state the genre. If it’s comedy, the pitch should be funny.
- Never says it’s a blockbuster or its the perfect film to make sequels.
- If they like it, stop talking and listen!
Most of us visiting this site are writers or filmmakers and not born salespeople. Yet, in order to make it in Hollywood, you need to know how to sell yourself. You may have the best material out there, and your family and friends may love it, but what about the rest of the world? How can you take your concept and material and turn it into a pitch that people will not only listen to, but hang on every word? The magic words are “Tell me more …” Almost all new writers or filmmakers get turned away after the first 30 seconds. How can you be different?
The key is to find someone who has decades of experience being successful at pitching to Hollywood professionals.
Gary Shusett has a unique ability to listen to any pitch and no matter how problematic, he can instantly turn it into very powerful selling pitch for the writer.
Gary Shusett is currently writing a pitching book and we hope to have it available at the end of 2013.
Pitching is like telling a good joke.
There are 3 acts. Beginning, excitement and the final funny punch line.
Don’t ask questions during the pitch. You may put them on the spot and make them feel stupid.
Involve them by creating intrigue.
Only tease the person a little.
If they ask what happens in the end, Don’t say you have to read the story … tell them
Be sure to Pause during a pitch
If you need help, we have experts provide assistance and provide a money-back guarantee.
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Pitch Repair & Coaching Lessons
Any writer who has ever pitched a script will tell you – it is the most nerve-wracking experience one can endure. But, you do it because you know that’s the only way to get your baby on the big screen.
So, you take a deep breath and you sit down in front of two executives that have the power to make your dreams come true.
You lay your logline on them, they stare intently back at you. You press on, unsure of yourself, and lay your 3 minute pitch on them, giving the full synopsis. By now, you are probably sweating profusely and wondering just what they’re thinking.
The executives thank you politely, shake your sweaty hand, and send you on your way – no comments, no suggestions, no indication whatsoever whether they loved or hated it! So, how do you know if your pitch is working for you?
Whether you’re a seasoned professional, or a total newbie, the fact is that every writer wonders whether or his/her pitch is good enough. That’s where a great pitch coach can make all the difference!
If you have confidence in your pitch, you will have confidence in yourself, and are therefore a hundred times more likely to achieve your goal and sell your script.
Sherwood Oaks’ Director, Gary Shusett, has over 30 years of experience and a unique talent for constructing the perfect pitch! He has helped hundreds of writers by pinpointing the issues with their pitches, rooting out anything that may be detracting from their effectiveness, smoothing out the rough areas, and even coaching writers on how to improve their overall approach to their Hollywood careers.
After all, you can have the best pitch on earth, but if you don’t know what to do next, you’re career is dead in the water! This is why Gary uses his years of experience and special talent to give each writer a word-for-word breakdown of how to correct their pitch, and maximize not just a script’s potential, but more importantly – the writer’s potential for Hollywood success.
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” I want to express my deep gratitude to Gary for being so approachable, honest, and helpful. I cannot overstate how valuable your advice has been. In the few minutes we talked, you turned my pitch on it’s head and made it 100% better. Not only that, but your instruction has given me a much more solid understanding of the strange animal that is “pitching”, and how it differs from the process of storytelling. A thousand thanks to you and your staff, Gary. I look forward to attending another event soon!”
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Gary Shusett has drafted a pitching book with Mark Miccuci who has worked at a production company for 5 years. Mark Miccuci is presently working on this book.