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Old 08-28-2013, 09:51 AM   #1
ChiliP
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Default At home pitching - Benderspink, Caliber, Panay, 1211, Ineffable - Interesting concept

Just received a link to this in an email from Stage 32 and The Happy Writers

Skype sessions with our friend Daniel Vang from Benderspink, Lee Stobby from Caliber, and a bunch of prod co's.

http://www.stage32.com/creativefest/pitchfest

CP

PS - Get ready, Daniel. I'm aiming for ya.
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:12 PM   #2
Knaight
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Default Re: At home pitching -

$45 per session?!

Guys, there are better ways to spend your money.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: At home pitching - Benderspink, Caliber, Panay, 1211, Ineffable - Interesting

Hi Knaight. Allow me to retort. After I have a sip of your tasty beverage. Ahhh.

I don't know. Is $45 to pitch someone from a company who might be a match for your material or a manager from Benderspink or Caliber too high? Let me give you my perspective.

Last year, I submitted two scripts to the Page (approx $130). One made the semi's, one made the finals. I received four read requests. I would term one of those requests "exciting".

I also entered both scripts into the Nicholl (approx $130 - late entry). The one that made the finals in the Page didn't even make the first cut. The one the made the semi-finals of the Page also made the semi's of the Nicholl. I received one read off of that placement and I would term that read "exciting" as well. Good manager. Spec sales in pocket.

I also attended the Great American Pitchfest. I had to fly there ($450), book a room ($400/3 nights), and buy a pitch badge (around $500, might have been more, I forget). I spent the night before the fest in my room planning which managers/companies to target. I had a list of 10.

3 were no-shows. In 3 cases, the person representing the company was not the person listed in the book. 4 pitches went as planned. and I received read requests from all.

So let's just take those three - two prestigious contests and arguably the most respected pitchfest out there. I spent over $1600. I had 6 "exciting" reads.

We all enter these contests and submit to the subjective nature of things. The entry fees are usually around or above $45 if you get in early.

I don't know. I'd rather pay my $45 to be face to face with a Daniel Vang or a Lee Stobby and control the message, have them see my passion and my abilities as a speaker, as opposed to submitting to a contest and hope that I don't have a 22 year old reader who's girlfriend just broke up with him and hates that my main character reminds him of her. I also think it's worth $45 to be face to face with someone from a production company which I recently queried - a total fit for what I write - and received the dreaded "no solicited material" response in return.

So I'm in for 3 pitches. The same cost as my two Page entries basically. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. But at least I'll have some more control over the message and the delivery.

Thanks for listening. Next Big Kahuna Burger is on me.

CP
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: At home pitching

Hey, it's your life and if you've got money to burn then don't let me get in the way. I understand that this pursuit often feels hopeless when even getting a foot in the door tends to be impossible for most people.

The problem is, there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there who know just how badly you and several hundred thousand other writers want this, and they're more than happy to sell you their snake oil. Pitchfests are snake oil. Consultants, contests, notes services -- with a few notable exceptions, all of them are snake oil.

Out of everything you listed, the only one that's really worthwhile is the Nicholl. That contest brings exposure to a number of new writers every year and is well-respected by just about everyone. PAGE... I wouldn't call it a waste of money, but it just doesn't offer the same type of return on investment. Pitchfests are kind of a joke. The people who you're pitching are not expecting to hear anything good. They're being paid to be there, whether it's by their bosses or the pitchfest itself. At least with a major contest win, you've been vetted by someone.

I've entered a couple contests in the past. Nicholl twice, TrackingB once. Never amounted to anything, for whatever reason. It's always going to be subjective, because that's what story is. A script that I entered into both of those contests ended up getting me repped by an excellent manager and was later optioned by a guy who produced three of the best movies of 2012.

The route that took it there? A bunch of tedious work. After a number of rewrites on the script itself, I finally decided it was ready to go out. I spent hours and hours compiling a list of reps that I thought I might like to work with (why people query no-name managers makes zero sense to me). I worked long and hard crafting my query, then sent a personalized version to maybe 80 people. Two weeks later, I re-queried everyone who didn't respond the first time. Maybe ten percent of those became read requests. My manager took some interest and I followed up a couple times until I landed a meeting with him.

Total cost? Time and effort.

If you're not getting reads, it's possible that your concept just isn't connecting with enough people. Execution is what gets people excited about your work, but concept is what gets it read in the first place. It's also possible that you're just not getting it out there enough.

Very few working screenwriters started out with contest wins. I'm sure there are one or two, but I don't know of ANYONE who launched a career with a pitchfest. Even top-tier screenwriters have to hustle to get jobs. This is just my opinion, but I feel like you might as well start practicing your technique now, rather than throw your money away.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: At home pitching - Benderspink, Caliber, Panay, 1211, Ineffable - Interesting

Your opinions, just like your experiences, are your own.

Some people swear by the Page. Some by TrackingB. I know someone who did sell something for nice change out of GAPF. It happens. There's no one answer.

I'm not a newbie. Been around for years. Way wrong (and somewhat pompous) to assume that I haven't put in the time or that I'm not getting read. I simply said the contests didn't offer reads. I signed with a manager brought up on this site often. Eventually decided to part ways. Had offers from 2 more that simply did not represent what I wanted in a manager. Turned them down.

I see that Vang has signed one of The Happy Writers clients who also was signed by ICM. Stobby has signed and taken out one of their clients. Another writer landed a job on a Bryan Singer produced show. Level 1 optioned and is producing one of their writer's scripts.

All of these success stories are listed on the site. That doesn't seem like snake oil to me. But, again, maybe I'm just a sucker.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: At home pitching - Benderspink, Caliber, Panay, 1211, Ineffable - Interesting

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiliP View Post
Your opinions, just like your experiences, are your own.

Some people swear by the Page. Some by TrackingB. I know someone who did sell something for nice change out of GAPF. It happens. There's no one answer.

I'm not a newbie. Been around for years. Way wrong (and somewhat pompous) to assume that I haven't put in the time or that I'm not getting read. I simply said the contests didn't offer reads. I signed with a manager brought up on this site often. Eventually decided to part ways. Had offers from 2 more that simply did not represent what I wanted in a manager. Turned them down.

I see that Vang has signed one of The Happy Writers clients who also was signed by ICM. Stobby has signed and taken out one of their clients. Another writer landed a job on a Bryan Singer produced show. Level 1 optioned and is producing one of their writer's scripts.

All of these success stories are listed on the site. That doesn't seem like snake oil to me. But, again, maybe I'm just a sucker.
You're absolutely correct in that my opinions are my own. I'm no one special, but that doesn't mean they're unfounded. Regardless, it's definitely not my impression to come off as pompous and I am not implying that you haven't put in time. I'm just saying that spending $45 a pitch on a site like this is probably a poor allocation of your resources.

Every one of these places has success stories, but very few of them have enough that it's actually worth the fee. It sounds like you're pretty sold on this one, so I certainly hope that in your case, it pays off.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: At home pitching - Benderspink, Caliber, Panay, 1211, Ineffable - Interesting

Certainly not unfounded. I always welcome the opinions of others. Especially as it relates to this pursuit. And I respect yours.

I dunno. People swear by this Joey guy. And I've had nothing but a terrific experience on Stage 32. So, we'll see. Will it be worth the cash? I don't know. But I'm willing to take a stab on a face to face pitch.

Thanks, Knaight.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: At home pitching

It is interesting. But I would start with querying those places/people first and ask them to read my spec.

Every day seems to be a new service for us writers to access Hollywood. But it still comes down to great writing and of course luck.

Let me put it this way. I did well in trackingb contest and before I could use that, I already landed a manager with same spec. So that proved to me a good spec will rise above the rest in both a script contest and the biggest contest of all -- querying reps.

But do whatever makes you happy. Let us know how it goes. Good luck.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: At home pitching - Benderspink, Caliber, Panay, 1211, Ineffable - Interesting

I don't know much about pitch fests except that a lot of people badmouth them.

The badmouthing makes me wonder: if pitch fests are suspect, are the agencies participating also suspect by association?

Or do writers find pitch fests to be suspect because there is such a low success rate?

But if, say, the low success rate is due to the quality of the pitches or the material rather than due to the format or the very concept of pitching speed-dating-style, wouldn't that actually be reflective of reality?

I'm not sure I'd ever participate in one so I haven't thought about it much, beyond wondering why this concept seems to be perceived so differently on this side than on the publishing side (which has writers eagerly paying $$$ to go to conferences where speed-dating-style pitch sessions happen, and it's considered completely legit, although unnecessary [and, of course, conferences have the added value of multiple panels to sit in on, etc.]).
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:52 AM   #10
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Default Re: At home pitching

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
It is interesting. But I would start with querying those places/people first and ask them to read my spec.

Every day seems to be a new service for us writers to access Hollywood. But it still comes down to great writing and of course luck.

Let me put it this way. I did well in trackingb contest and before I could use that, I already landed a manager with same spec. So that proved to me a good spec will rise above the rest in both a script contest and the biggest contest of all -- querying reps.

But do whatever makes you happy. Let us know how it goes. Good luck.

Hi Bono. Totally agree that good material will rise to the top one way or another. Although, I also agree luck plays a big part. The way I landed my first manager was almost a sitcom like contrivance. But, ultimately, the material had to win the day.

As for querying first. With the production company I'm going to pitch to, I did try querying first and was hit with the "no unsolicited material" blah, blah, blah. I can understand. They've had some big films. So, this is just another way to get in front of them.

Thanks for the good wishes.
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