Chapter 62 – Pitching Tips
by Leesa Dean
So this week I went back in. Writing, editing, taking meetings, you know, the usual.
Strangely, the little bits of writer’s block I had been struggling with were totally gone. I think taking nearly a week off from writing just made me wanna do it more. Luckily.
Last week and this, my producing partner and I took a few meetings. Both were with people who have tons of production/directing experience in tv and the web. We wanted some good strong objective feedback on the TOP SECRET PROJECT we’ve been working on all year.
I was actually pretty nervous about both, in spite of the fact they were casual and there wasn’t much at stake. When you spend a bit of time working on something and nobody else has seen it, you leave yourself open for criticism and rejection. Let’s face it, everything isn’t for everybody. And being in a self-imposed bubble can make you lose perspective.
Luckly, both loved it. Both suggested minor tweaks. Yes, I’m relieved. We still have a ways to go, but this is a great step. We have follow-up meetings scheduled for next week.
While they weren’t pitch meetings, we conducted them kinda sorta like traditional pitches. Which made them great trial runs.
For people who haven’t pitched yet, there’s usually a format I normally (more or less) stick to. Which is pretty similar to the one Stephanie Palmer of Good in Room suggests. And this format holds for tv and web pitches, since they are now blurring into one big thing.
– Intros, small talk.
– Super brief outline of the series. To me, anything more than an enhanced logline is overkill. I’ve had friends try out their pitches on me and some people go into enhanced, long character bios and plotlines. TMI TMI!!!! Keep it short and sweet.
– Questions answered, if any. Be Prepared!! Know your project inside and out. Meaning know every single thing about your characters, main story and have a minimum of five very strong episode ideas structured and figured out. You probably will never use this material in a meeting. But it’s crucial you know it, in case people ask quesitons.
– Show the footage (in our case, while we have a ton of stuff we’re putting together, we have a sizzle reel) Again, short and sweet does it. Anything more than 5 minutes, in my opinion, and people’s attention will start to meander. If you don’t have a sizzle reel, forget about this section, but come prepared with a pilot script. Do NOT give it to them, unless they ask for it. I have a pilot script as a backup, even if I have a sizzle. Let’s face it, this is about writing. You have to show you can write.
– More questions answered, if necessary.
– Hand out contact info (if it goes well, they’ll call, if not, they’ll toss it)
The entire thing shouldn’t last more than 15 minutes. If it does, it means things are going REALLY well. Usually. Most people won’t tell you they think what you do sucks, even if they think so.
So how do you know they love it? They usually schedule a follow-up meeting.