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Old 07-13-2018, 08:48 AM   #1
catcon
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Default Pitching as a Lottery

Well, I should have titled it "pitching OR a lottery".

I've sent 90 cold email pitches this week, plus 7 to Inktip on the free newsletter. I have no money for contests or BL or VPF or the regular Inktip newsletter, etc.

Do I sound frustrated? Nope. With every new script I write, that's just another one under my belt for use later on, after I'm "discovered".

However, today, after careful consideration, I've realized that even in my position as a retired person with virtually no discretionary funds, I might be able to manage about $25 for some fun.

I'm pondering what I should do with it.

For instance, on the aforementioned VPF, that would buy me two pitches -- my $20 CDN dollar conversion to USD cost is $27. Alas, I'm not looking forward to two of those "It just didn't grab us" responses from VPF. $10 per pitch has never disappeared into the ether so quickly!

ON THE OTHER HAND... I could buy 5 lottery tickets to the big $60M grand prize + twenty $1M mini-prize lottery up here in Canada, tonight! I don't usually engage in those things, as they're a way to lose money even faster than paid script pitch services. But with even one of the small ones, I could give up this pitching biz and go right into producing my own stuff.

What do you think? Invest in the lottery instead?

I have till this evening to decide. Awaiting your responses (sarcasm, wit and complaints welcome but, no, your advice one way or the other doesn't get you 10 percent of any winnings).

In the meantime, I'll just continue my cold pitching for the rest of the day. Thanks!
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:04 AM   #2
EdFury
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Default Re: Pitching as a Lottery

Quote:
Originally Posted by catcon View Post
Well, I should have titled it "pitching OR a lottery".

I've sent 90 cold email pitches this week, plus 7 to Inktip on the free newsletter. I have no money for contests or BL or VPF or the regular Inktip newsletter, etc.

Do I sound frustrated? Nope. With every new script I write, that's just another one under my belt for use later on, after I'm "discovered".

However, today, after careful consideration, I've realized that even in my position as a retired person with virtually no discretionary funds, I might be able to manage about $25 for some fun.

I'm pondering what I should do with it.

For instance, on the aforementioned VPF, that would buy me two pitches -- my $20 CDN dollar conversion to USD cost is $27. Alas, I'm not looking forward to two of those "It just didn't grab us" responses from VPF. $10 per pitch has never disappeared into the ether so quickly!

ON THE OTHER HAND... I could buy 5 lottery tickets to the big $60M grand prize + twenty $1M mini-prize lottery up here in Canada, tonight! I don't usually engage in those things, as they're a way to lose money even faster than paid script pitch services. But with even one of the small ones, I could give up this pitching biz and go right into producing my own stuff.

What do you think? Invest in the lottery instead?

I have till this evening to decide. Awaiting your responses (sarcasm, wit and complaints welcome but, no, your advice one way or the other doesn't get you 10 percent of any winnings).

In the meantime, I'll just continue my cold pitching for the rest of the day. Thanks!
Since I think VPF is a crock, you might as well buy the lottery tickets.... or use the 25 dollars as a savings start to save enough to enter the Nicholl at the early bird time next year.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pitching as a Lottery

Hey catcon, here's some motivation/encouragement for you... I've come across some prodcos that prefer or only accept Canadian writers. Go get em'!
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pitching as a Lottery

Today's lottery challenge is just an "experiment" and isn't out of frustration or lack of motivation; it's just that there's a bit of money lying around and I'd like to spend it!

Anyway, thanks for the word about "producers wanting Cdn. writers".

With a database that now contains 4087 company names - of which about 750 are "current" (ie. have been pitched this year), I have probably encountered most of those you're referring to. And yes, it's not only Canadian companies we're talking about. You see them on InkTip regularly (eg. Nasser) where "due to government grant incentive must be Cdn writer", etc.

Frankly, with my first deal I'm probably on the move outta here; the native film industry is pretty discouraging for its lack of risk-taking. Everybody's goal is simply to get the required Cdn. content elements (eg. writer and/or director) so that they can hire a middling Yankee star to lead the cast. Nothing that results from these arrangements ever seems to get distributed much beyond Cdn. TV or the film festival circuit up here.

Even the numerous (and boy, there are a lot of them) award shows are taxpayer-financed.

It's important to help us feel good about ourselves, you see.

But that's no way to run a creative industry or "business"; oops, did I use the word "business"?

But Canada's a great place for foreign/European/U.S. producers, because of the numerous tax breaks. The productions they bring here can keep all those dues-paying below- and above-the-liners gainfully employed for a month or so. Same in the U.K., Australia, etc. And yes, I know some (or many) of the 50 states have great tax incentives, too.

But it seems when you're native to the place in question, you need that other (foreign) piece of the puzzle to make the endeavor profitable; otherwise, nothing happens.

Given my experience, I don't even pitch Cdn. companies too often, though I did send one today come to think of it.

Anyway, no more time to rant. Did about 50 pitches today, but I'm still deciding whether my WCG status (World's Cheapest Guy) prevents me from spending that $20 on lottery tickets, or just staying home tonight.

I will post my decision here, later.
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pitching as a Lottery

Buy lottery tickets and fund your own movie... get rid of the middleman!
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pitching as a Lottery

Spent the $20. For a guy who's max win in a lottery was $100 over 35 years ago, and hasn't bought $20 in tickets total in the past 3 years, I'll find out tomorrow if the experiment was worth it. Or, whether I should have invested in VPF for a couple of "It just didn't grab us"'s instead.
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Pitching as a Lottery

RESULTS:

"Not a winning ticket"

and don't forget:

"No gagnon"

Since we're all supposed to be bilingual up here in Canada.

So, how does this compare to "It just didn't grab us" two times on VPF? I dunno, but I had at LEAST as much anticipation over the past 18 hours for the lottery result, as I ever have had for the latter.
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: Pitching as a Lottery

Just mho, but I don’t believe in “paying to pitch.” A., as Im out of work, I have better things to spend my money on and B, I think it’s BS.

And catcon, just so you know you’re not alone, I sent out a ton of cold queries this week. I know my loglines are solid; I keep my pitches brief, yet I’m getting nowhere. It’s getting harder and harder to get read. That said, the fact that Hollywood puts money behind such fetid stink bombs as “Bad Grandmas,” makes me wonder why I bother.

I think I’ll pick up a couple of Lotto tickets today.
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: Pitching as a Lottery

Quote:
Originally Posted by MargoChanning View Post
...just so you know you’re not alone, I sent out a ton of cold queries this week. I know my loglines are solid; I keep my pitches brief, yet I’m getting nowhere. It’s getting harder and harder to get read. That said, the fact that Hollywood puts money behind such fetid stink bombs as “Bad Grandmas,” makes me wonder why I bother...
Being a self-employed computer database guy from 1990 till the day I retired, 3 years ago, I naturally have quite a contact database going for my now full-time writing interests. It's complete with graphs-over-time and intricate data views. You wouldn't believe the downward direction of my read requests, although you indicate you're experiencing a similar trend.

Some of my thoughts are: (I apologize, but I can get pretty verbose when I'm "between scripts" )

- Prodcos have found that they can get paid to read, and even paid to receive pitches, so it's just another narrowing of the doorway even as more of us are writing more material. In addition, as the entrepreneurs behind these on-line systems (often other writers, or creatives, or wannabe producers) develop such systems, to generate biz (usage) they're seeking out more and more prodcos to sign on, usually with some tiny $ inducement per pitch. It's becoming a crowded and repetitive field, and will only going to get worse for us as our "free" opportunities dwindle.

I cold pitched a company for years, till suddenly they responded with a "we are no unsolicited and only take pitches on (such and such).

And note, even managers are increasingly becoming no unsolicited entities (or, as we've seen on a recent thread, paid-to-submit).

(Make sure you consider http://www.scriptrevolution.com; it's totally free to post stuff, but of course it's hard to know what prodco's are using the system)

- The endless remakes, reboots and sequels, as well as the plethora of big budget comic book movies based on existing IP, have not only made a billion dollars the new benchmark for success, they've made success using those IP sources seemingly-guaranteed (but of course it isn't). Here's the key for us: Every one of those are from existing IP, and intellectual property is the stuff we're creating in our specs. So the trick is to make our IP the next IP everybody wants to exploit the hell out of. And no, it doesn't have to be a billion dollar exploitation. $10M or $100M will do just fine.

On the other hand, prodcos always admit that they want to find that next low-cost and/or high-impact Napoleon Dynamite or Juno-type Indie wonder.

Yet, few of them want to take the chance on developing it from scratch or, as you know, to even "read" the darn thing from a cold pitch. They will, however, jump on-board as a co- or distributor after somebody else has taken the initial risk and done most of the heavy lifting.

These, then, are our realities, and opportunities, which are still plentiful though definitely hard to find. That is, we must all take a hint from the rush to find existing IP to exploit, in that if we can just retain our own IP and make that trailer or short or micro-budget feature (anything for TV is a lot more difficult, because long-form TV is based even more on creating the gravy train from somebody else's existing IP), then WE will be the envied-IP owner who can exploit that one idea ten-fold.

This DIY is a legitimate and doable option; I really envy you younger folks who may have the time to try this approach.

- Lastly, we've heard about these nebulous "lists", which I call blacklists (not the blcklst.com thing), to which execs add our names or script info once they've been covered, unfavorably, so that it gets harder and harder to get subsequent reads anywhere - even for different scripts.

This is really annoying, to me, since my writing has improved a lot since 2010, my first year, yet it was 2010-11 when I got reads at some pretty darned big prodcos through cold pitching. Alas, the scripts were not ready, but even the pitches were dirt poor. So were these companies simply that much more open to reading stuff back then, or do these merciless "blacklists" really exist? But what value do these lists provide, when years later writers are obviously much better and deserve another look, let alone that the script is a different one and may be a good match to what a company is actively looking for.

It also makes little sense that these companies would "share" this information. It's why I'm skeptical of our willingly submitting our stuff to coverage databases, for our money I might add, such as blklst, specscout and others.

Those commercial ones are bad enough: Your 7's and even 8's sink to the bottom of the lists pretty quickly and become virtually unsalable. So isn't a list that's "unofficial" an even worse concept? Maybe it's just paranoid-me, but if I were a prodco I'd not trust what Joe-Bloe said about some writer or script, 3 years ago. Coverage from Spielberg's or Bruckheimer's, sure, but we're not talking about even pitching to them, right? We're pitching somewhere between Joe and Steven.

These sorts of things may make some writers give up, but it can also do the reverse: Make us more determined AND cranky, so we'll be far more demanding when someone ever does want one of our blessed scripts. At least for me, it has. The days of free or $1 options or $10K script purchases went out the window, for me, around 2011.

Good luck, and a single lottery ticket is definitely worthwhile so long as you have a loaf of bread in the house. I'll probably keep it up once a week, now.

Last edited by catcon : 07-18-2018 at 06:14 AM. Reason: Added "managers" reference to those who are increasingly no unsolicited
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Old 07-14-2018, 01:19 PM   #10
MargoChanning
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Default Re: Pitching as a Lottery

Thanks for the great intel, catcon. And the URL. I'll check into it.

I may even be PM-ing you, soon. If so, and you don't mind, I'll give you a heads up. Got some great "war stories," and plenty of time as I was "retired" from my advertising gig.

Cheers to all.
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