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Old 08-02-2007, 08:32 AM   #11
RGF
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Default Re: Pitching

I think there are situations where you might pitch an idea, and situations where you'd pitch an already written spec. Idea pitching seems to be more successful for writers who are repped, and already have a stature in the biz. They may be able to get a project green-lit pitched with just the idea. For most of the up and coming writers, since ideas are a dime a dozen, I think writing the script first is most important. Then go in there and pitch it to however you can so that you can get it read.

I once pitched an idea to a company that has a deal with New Line. They actually gave me a better idea for the logline right in during the pitch..which was great. Until about 6 months later I saw a sale which was exactly the same logline we had come up with in the meeting. It could have been a coincidence, but I'll tell you I will never pitch an unwritten idea again (at least until I'm repped and playing in the majors).
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:40 AM   #12
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Default Re: Pitching

Why?

You take the time in a meeting to pitch an entire script you've already written, when if they like the idea, they're just going to ask to read it?

Why wouldn't you spend your time pitching something you haven't written, hoping that they buy it and pay you to write it?

Sorry, I just don't get it.

That's fine, but that doesn't change the fact that working writers pitch completed scripts all. the. time. I have two friends who are pitching completed projects all over town right now. (As in: to working producers with studio deals, not in line at Coffee Bean.)

A lot of times development people would rather hear a pitch than read a script, because a pitch is ten minutes in a meeting where you sit in a comfortable chair during business hours and drink Fuji water and scope out of the writer is kind of sociable and interesting and someone you'd be able to work with, as opposed to, if you read the script, you have to take it home and read it on your own time at night or on a weekend, and you already have sixty scripts you're supposed to get through.

For the exec, a pitch is often just easier. You may not agree, but that's the reality of the business.
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Old 08-02-2007, 12:36 PM   #13
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Default Re: Pitching

I don't know why a working writer with reps would ever pitch a completed script. But I understand why someone would when they are trying to break in. If you're unrepped and just trying to get reads you have to say and do whatever you can. But the bottom line is why give someone two chances to say no instead of one?

I think part of the problem is what people are thinking a pitch is. To someone that is working, a pitch is (usually) a 10-20 minute verbal walk through of an idea. Beginning, middle and end with set pieces, etc. This could be a spec pitch, an assignment pitch, rewrite pitch, etc. For these pitches, nothing is written until a deal is in place.

My writing partner and I have sold a number of pitches and we would never pitch a finished script. If we write something on spec, our agents and managers send it out. Sure they hype it up however they do it but it is never truly pitched.
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Pitching

You're misunderstanding what your friends are saying.

No.

I would not advocate taking BestWriterEver's advice. But it's up to you.
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:31 PM   #15
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Default Re: Pitching

That discussion has actually been very useful to me, especially the comments from Jeff and rubarb. I'm unproduced as a screenwriter and unrepped, but my work does get me into pitching opportunities, usually impromptu.

It seems a lot of writers do pitch completed work, but it should be a brief, concise pitch, just enough to make somebody want to read it. Followed by engaging a lawyer to submit, if you don't already have one. In the world of produced and/or repped writers, a pitch usually means a longer, more detailed meeting to solicit a commission based on an idea.

Thanks for the pointers.

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Old 08-03-2007, 09:50 AM   #16
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Default Re: Pitching

I agree with what you took out of the conversation, David, except for one point. You don't always need a lawyer or agent to submit. If you are currently unrepresented, often they'll take the script from you without concern, or sometimes they'll ask you to sign a release form and submit it yourself. It only has to come through an attorney if they say they can't take it otherwise.
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:39 AM   #17
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Default Re: Pitching

Guys, this is really simple.

When people in the business refer to a pitch, they mean a writer coming in and telling the story of a project that they propose to write.

You don't pitch out a script you've written as an entire story because you want them to read the script. And if they like the quick one or two sentence description of it, they want to read it, too.

You can refer to telling someone the brief logline as "pitching" the idea. I think that's where the confusion is coming from.

But if you have a script, you want people to read it.

And yes, if you don't have an agent or manager, then you need to be the one who tells people that intriguing few sentences about your project that makes them want to read it.

After you get an agent or manager, you don't do that anymore. The agent and/or manager gets people to read your script. Then you go meet people who are interested in you and/or your script, from their reading of it.

In that meeting, you are talking to people who have already read your script. They'll ask about it, about you, about a lot of things.

And, when people get really interested in you as a writer, you can go in and pitch something you want to be paid to write. In that sort of meeting, you are expected to tell the story you're looking to write in a fairly complete form.
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Old 08-03-2007, 01:52 PM   #18
darrylyo
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Default Re: Pitching

BWE, Otis, and Mini laid down the facts. They know how it works because they're pros.

Not that the pros are never wrong of course, but it's baffling why some folks are so passionate about contradicting them--especiallyon really basic stuff like how a pitch works.
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Old 08-03-2007, 04:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: Pitching

Mini is on the money. When I said I pitch my scripts, it means I pitch the logline.
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