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Old 05-05-2010, 09:35 AM   #1
MargoChanning
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Default Tips On Phone Pitching, Please.

I want to pitch a cable pilot to a certain production company. They accept phone pitches to their Dir. of Dev., however, by reps, only.

My de facto manager will probably not do this for me as we seem to disagree on nearly all the proposed "attachments" for this project. So, I'm gonna do it myself.

Questions: First, is it ok to tell them why I want to pitch the project myself? How much ground should I cover? Brief synopsis, logline, what? Mention any awards? Finally, any tips on keeping a cool head?

Any info much appreciated.
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:52 AM   #2
joe9alt
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Default Re: Tips On Phone Pitching, Please.

This is more like cold calling, though. It's a shot in the dark. I'm not saying not to take that shot but that's what it is. It's not a planned phone pitch set up by a rep (which are a headache in their own right). It's a cold call. If you cold call, be nice, let them know you're working with a rep, and be ready to pitch your concept in depth -- but keep it to maybe 3-5 minutes.

What's up with your manager, man? Maybe it's time make him de functo?
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tips On Phone Pitching, Please.

I'm thinkin,' Joe.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tips On Phone Pitching, Please.

When I've cold-called (nerve wracking but I'd rather do that than cold query), I asked to speak to the person I want to reach, they usually ask who's calling, I tell them, and they put me through sometimes.

I made it past the first person that way who most likely would've shot me down right away if I had explained why I was calling in the first place.

When I've gotten through, the assistant usually picks up for the person I'm trying to reach and I ask to speak to such-and-such person again. The assistant then asks my name and I tell them and I either have to speak to the assistant or get put through (happened a couple of times) or get real lucky and the person I'm trying to reach just picked up because the assistant was out or for some reason, happened a couple of times that way . . . but I wasn't ready for that and kinda froze at first then regrouped. So just be ready in case that happens.

If the assistant tells me such-and-such ain't interested, I've asked the assistant if s/he would like to read the script. I received a couple of yesses that way and have actually had the assistant "pull" for me in trying to help me as much as possible.

Of course, I wasn't even ready when I did all of this.

And always polite, respectful, yourself.

That's just the way I've done it and would do it again.

Good luck, smcguinn.

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Old 05-05-2010, 01:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Tips On Phone Pitching, Please.

Thanks, Corona. Sounds like a plan.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Tips On Phone Pitching, Please.

You're welcome.

Hope something in there helps you.

Good luck,

Corona
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Tips On Phone Pitching, Please.

My experience of cold calling it is easier to get reads if you have a high concept hook that you can pitch in seconds rather than minutes--and an old insurance trick is to tell them you only want 15 seconds of their time. Most people can spare 15 seconds so it takes the pressure off, they know they are not going to be tied up on the phone for ages. It's harder with low concept scripts.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tips On Phone Pitching, Please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smcguinn View Post
I want to pitch a cable pilot to a certain production company. They accept phone pitches to their Dir. of Dev., however, by reps, only.
DoD picks up phone.

MACGUIRE
I'm here.

MCGUINN
Oh, gosh... err, I wanted to pitch this really amazing
concept I've been developing which I started to... well
like my dad was in the navy and he's seen action in
the Gulf although my idea is not completely, like
it's based on a carrier but it's kind of more like a
behind the scenes, not like in action right now, but
there's like, well first it's not related to my dad but
he knows some navy seals and they'd be like the
A-story and then the back-up--

MACGUIRE
What's your pitch?

MCGUINN
It's complete action, totally action and basically
just keeping it like it happens, it's very real. But
the focus is on the seals.

MACGUIRE
We're already working on something
like that at the moment.

MCGUINN
Okay. So...

MACGUIRE
Thanks for your call, we appreciate it.

Sorry, I'm cynical. There are reasons they only accept pitches from reps, including legal/copyright issues. It's your call but I suggest you don't and that you pitch in writing and (depending on genre/format) prepare a full treatment and several episode outlines. If you aren't experienced at pitching I suspect you'd find it very difficult to pitch convincingly over the phone and circumventing the rep requirement is not advisable. Just my suggestion.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: Tips On Phone Pitching, Please.

I should have added - one of the challenges of phone pitches is that it's very easy to be caught out, or find yourself unable to provide the best reply quickly enough. Maybe you think very quickly on your feet and you're the sort of person who could handle it, but it requires a reasonable level of understanding of the industry (which you may have) and a thorough and well-researched understanding of what it is you're pitching. If you do get caught out by a question which you can't answer properly or at all it can make you sound unprepared and foolish even if you are not. Also for these sorts of reasons phone pitching is not a good idea for the inexperienced. I don't know how experienced you are so whether or not you're up to the challenge only you can judge.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:35 PM   #10
MargoChanning
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Default Re: Tips On Phone Pitching, Please.

All excellent points, David.

I'm pretty damn good at written pitches. Unfortunately, when I called this company to find out what the protocol is, they told me to "phone it in."

I wanted my manager to do it, but as I mentioned in my original post, we don't always agree on certain issues. I'll leave it at that.

I thought I could carry it off, but hell, now I don't know.
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