We know that Concept and Story must be working in a powerful way on the page. That is the dramatic word translated into a visual medium. The writing must be amazing. High Quality. Here are three major mistakes writers make in a pitch.
This ON LOCATION episode deals with the spoken word. THE PITCH.
There are several different kinds of pitches. The ‘elevator’ pitch, the ‘in the room pitch’, the ‘telephone pitch’ – when the receptionists says ‘we don’t accept unsolicited material’. There’s the ‘pitch fest pitch’. If you’d like more details feel free to call Wayne’s Movie World at (519) 735 0442. No charge or obligation.
MAJOR PITCH MISTAKE NUMBER ONE
Telling the story. I have been on pitch panels several times and most peoples’ pitch make this mistake 99% of the time. It is like a ‘book report’ Trust me when I say, don’t tell me the story. At this stage a Producer doesn’t care about the story. They will care at another stage but what they want to know from your pitch – is the story marketable? Can they sell it? They learn that from the CONCEPT.
After you tell them the genre, the first thing out of your mouth should be your concept.
“Jurassic Park is open again”, JURASSIC WORLD
“A Robot from the future is here to kill a woman and her unborn child”, THE TERMINATOR.
“What if the devil had a child?” ROSEMARY’S BABY.
MAJOR PITCH MISTAKE NUMBER TWO
Not giving enough thought to the title of your screenplay. Most likely your script will be pitched to an Independent Producer. What these producers are looking for is a title that could become a ‘mini-block buster’. I touched on this aspect in an earlier ON LOCATION EPISODE. Check the archives for it.
Your title is extremely important when it comes to the pitch and should be said after the concept. Remember to make your pitch sound conversational.
MAJOR PITCH MISTAKE NUMBER THREE.
I’ll tell you a story which happened to me a few years ago. I wasn’t on the pitch panel. I was in the audience. A woman got up to pitch her story. She made MISTAKE NUMBER ONE. She didn’t make NUMBER TWO because she didn’t tell the panel her title. She gave a good talk about her story. It was well spoken, but elicited no interest. The panel was very kind and thanked her. A moment later a panel member just started talking to her. It was a normal conversation. A few minutes went by and she said, my script is based on a true story and it’s about white slavery. Those words should have been the first thing out of her mouth. “Based on true story about white slavery”. I don’t know who was and I never saw her again.
Hey, thanks for checking out this edition of ON LOCATION and be sure to visit the rest of the site.
NEXT TIME – The truth about screenwriting contests.