CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

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  • CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

    There seems to be several folks in here that attended previous CS Screenwriting Expos. Thank you for all the insights you have posted in other threads. I've read several reference posts about the Golden Pitch event. However, the CS web site is (IMO) void of specifics on the Golden Pitch experience.

    Can anybody shed some light on the Golden Pitch process? May I pitch my three best scripts or just one pitch per $25 fee? Do you have a choice of production company to whom you are able to pitch or are pitch appointments assigned? Is one production company any more responsive than another? Is it better to register for a front-end pitch or drop in on the last day? I imagine the last day the reps are exhausted and unresponsive. Is it even worth my time and $25 per shot to do the Pitch?
    Last edited by dtrimble; 09-24-2009, 07:54 PM.

  • #2
    Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

    Is it even worth my time and the $ 25.00 per shot to do the pitch?

    Yes, for one major reason: If you expect to be successful in this business you have to know how to pitch, and there's no way to gain any experience pitching until you're face to face with an exec talking about your story. There is no substitute for this and it's a bit of an expensive lesson in this format, but if you take the approach of 'I'm doing it for the experience and honing my pitch skills', then you can come away feeling self-satisfied. No one is coming out of the pitch room with a million-dollar check in their hand. The best you will get is a 'request to read': this is the first step in any possible script sale process so recognize it as such before you enter the room.


    Is one production company any more responsive than another?
    Yes, but that depends on you. Do you have a VERY GOOD idea that is VERY WELL thought out and properly loglined? Is your idea something the company has expressed interest in? (IE--don't try to sell a romantic comedy to Bad RoBot Productions--they're in the sci fi business). Can you sit down, eye to eye, express your idea clearly and concisely, be strong in your presentation and keep the exec's attention for five full minutes? You have to be energetic, engaging and professional. If you start rambling, if you're unsure of your story, etc. you'll lose the exec immediately. If they pull out their cell phone and start texting, they're gone and you won't get them back.


    [QUOTE] Is it better to register for a front-end pitch or drop in on the last day?
    /QUOTE]

    It won't matter if you have a strong idea and a great presentation. The Friday pitch session did seem a little more relaxed than the Saturday or Sunday pitchfests--fewer pitchees and not as many execs to pitch to--it's a good way to start if you have little experience pitching. What wears down the execs most is endless pitches of rambling, poorly presented stories and snotty attitudes from writers who don't realize they're not up to snuff. The execs want to hear good ideas--that's why they're there. They don't want and don't deserve bitchy attitudes or unprofessional behavior. If that's what you give, you'll get it right back or perhaps be ignored totally.


    Do you have a choice of production company to whom you are able to pitch or are pitch appointments assigned?


    Of course: you are buying a five-minute block of time with a specific company at a specific time. Once the companies attending the pitchfest are listed, do some homework and find out who they are and what they specialize in/what material they are looking for. Again, don't bother buying a pitch session with a sci-fi company if you're pitching a romcom, etc. Planning your time and pitches well will help you make the most of your money and experience.

    May I pitch my three best scripts or just one pitch per $25 fee?


    You can pitch one idea or more if you have time in your five minute pitch session, but again, they have to be very good ideas and very well thought out. Five minutes goes by like lightning if your pitch is going well and it can be an eternity if the pitch is a clunker. I say go with your very best script and idea every time you pitch, but you could also choose several different companies looking for different material and vary your pitches to fit their needs. it's good to have more than one idea ready when an exec says 'that's not for us but what else do you have?'



    Hone your ideas down. Pitch to the mirror, pitch out loud in your car, wherever. Talk it out, refine and trim your idea. Really, really trim it down. Be really, really well prepared. I cannot stress that enough. Like the opening of a script has to be a real grabber, so does your meeting with an exec. You'll have thirty seconds (if that) to engage and hook them before they drift off. Five minutes is not a lot of time (unless you're bombing-ask any standup comic about that). There are going to be hundreds of people pitching--you have to rise above the masses of mediocrity and dreck. Good will never be good enough--it has to be great, both your idea and your pitch. Every time.

    ** one last side note to all--professional behavior starts with the way you look. These execs have eyes. They see who is in the room, see who is approaching them and the other execs. They can see terror coming a mile away: Don't wear the 'grim reaper' t-shirt your mom hasn't washed sinced the vernal equinox or the paint-splattered tie-dyed acid wash jeans with the hole in the crotch and ass. Get a babysitter--no exec wants to waste time while you push the baby stroller down a crowded aisle of screenwriters to them, or try to nurse Junior during your pitch. Mommy doesn't come into the pitch room with you or run your pitch for you,either. Guys--SHAVE! (I swear I am not making any of that up--it happens at nearly every pitchfest).

    Clean, neat and business casual should be the order of the day. You are selling yourself as much as your material, so make sure someone wants to buy the whole package.

    hope this helps.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

      Is it even worth my time and the $ 25.00 per shot to do the pitch?

      Yes, for one major reason: If you expect to be successful in this business you have to know how to pitch, and there's no way to gain any experience pitching until you're face to face with an exec talking about your story. There is no substitute for this and it's a bit of an expensive lesson in this format, but if you take the approach of 'I'm doing it for the experience and honing my pitch skills', then you can come away feeling self-satisfied. No one is coming out of the pitch room with a million-dollar check in their hand. The best you will get is a 'request to read': this is the first step in any possible script sale process so recognize it as such before you enter the room.


      Is one production company any more responsive than another?
      Yes, but that depends on you. Do you have a VERY GOOD idea that is VERY WELL thought out and properly loglined? Is your idea something the company has expressed interest in? (IE--don't try to sell a romantic comedy to Bad RoBot Productions--they're in the sci fi business). Can you sit down, eye to eye, express your idea clearly and concisely, be strong in your presentation and keep the exec's attention for five full minutes? You have to be energetic, engaging and professional. If you start rambling, if you're unsure of your story, etc. you'll lose the exec immediately. If they pull out their cell phone and start texting, they're gone and you won't get them back.


      [quote] Is it better to register for a front-end pitch or drop in on the last day?
      /QUOTE]

      It won't matter if you have a strong idea and a great presentation. The Friday pitch session did seem a little more relaxed than the Saturday or Sunday pitchfests--fewer pitchees and not as many execs to pitch to--it's a good way to start if you have little experience pitching. What wears down the execs most is endless pitches of rambling, poorly presented stories and snotty attitudes from writers who don't realize they're not up to snuff. The execs want to hear good ideas--that's why they're there. They don't want and don't deserve bitchy attitudes or unprofessional behavior. If that's what you give, you'll get it right back or perhaps be ignored totally.


      Do you have a choice of production company to whom you are able to pitch or are pitch appointments assigned?


      Of course: you are buying a five-minute block of time with a specific company at a specific time. Once the companies attending the pitchfest are listed, do some homework and find out who they are and what they specialize in/what material they are looking for. Again, don't bother buying a pitch session with a sci-fi company if you're pitching a romcom, etc. Planning your time and pitches well will help you make the most of your money and experience.

      May I pitch my three best scripts or just one pitch per $25 fee?


      You can pitch one idea or more if you have time in your five minute pitch session, but again, they have to be very good ideas and very well thought out. Five minutes goes by like lightning if your pitch is going well and it can be an eternity if the pitch is a clunker. I say go with your very best script and idea every time you pitch, but you could also choose several different companies looking for different material and vary your pitches to fit their needs. it's good to have more than one idea ready when an exec says 'that's not for us but what else do you have?'



      Hone your ideas down. Pitch to the mirror, pitch out loud in your car, wherever. Talk it out, refine and trim your idea. Really, really trim it down. Be really, really well prepared. I cannot stress that enough. Like the opening of a script has to be a real grabber, so does your meeting with an exec. You'll have thirty seconds (if that) to engage and hook them before they drift off. Five minutes is not a lot of time (unless you're bombing-ask any standup comic about that). There are going to be hundreds of people pitching--you have to rise above the masses of mediocrity and dreck. Good will never be good enough--it has to be great, both your idea and your pitch. Every time.

      ** one last side note to all--professional behavior starts with the way you look. These execs have eyes. They see who is in the room, see who is approaching them and the other execs. They can see terror coming a mile away: Don't wear the 'grim reaper' t-shirt your mom hasn't washed sinced the vernal equinox or the paint-splattered tie-dyed acid wash jeans with the hole in the crotch and ass. Get a babysitter--no exec wants to waste time while you push the baby stroller down a crowded aisle of screenwriters to them, or try to nurse Junior during your pitch. Mommy doesn't come into the pitch room with you or run your pitch for you,either. Guys--SHAVE! Shower! Comb your hair! (I swear I am not making any of that up--it happens at nearly every pitchfest).

      Clean, neat and business casual should be the order of the day. You are selling yourself as much as your material, so make sure someone wants to buy the whole package.

      hope this helps.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

        I'll definitely be pitching. As a newbie to pitching, it'll definitely be a crash course. I'm looking forward to it despite the queasy feeling in my stomach.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

          Hey Callingit. That is some GREAT feedback. Like Wyowriter I am a newbie. Might as well just jump in. I have three weeks to perfect my pitches. My greatest challenge is with loglines. Time to work it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

            they offer "pitch" seminars during the expo so definitely take advantage of those.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

              Nikee is right: there are some great pitch seminars going on during the expo and you should take advantage of those before you pitch.

              Some of the seminars are Friday morning, and the pitch sessions start Friday afternoon, so Friday can be a very productive day. Take a seminar or two, have some lunch and go pitch.

              Ken Rotcop's pitch seminar is brilliant if you can get to it.

              good luck.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

                Yeah, I definitely had those on my "to attend" list.

                I'll echo dtrimble: thanks for the valuable info, callingit.

                Looking forward to meeting people out there. For me, it'll probably be a kind of Stranger In a Strange Land scenario.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

                  Perhaps somebody can explain the process for me a little better. Are the companies that are sending reps to the GPF assigned certain dates and times to receive pitches? I am weighing which classes I might have to pass on (or get bits of) in order to go do a pitch. If I have an idea of when companies I am interested in are there, it will help me plan better. There are some classes I won't mind missing, others I don't want to miss.

                  I guess I am looking for tips on how, and if, I can have some level of control over when I give my pitches. I assume the Pitchfest is kind of like a speed dating job fair where reps listen to hundreds of people pitch their sellable qualities to see if they can find their money match. If that is the case, I can see the possibility that the 15 - 20 minute window I will have to surrender from a class turning into 30 to 45 minutes waits.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

                    If we get pitch times that we do not like, how about some online swapping? Is there usually a message board at the Expo? Perhaps swapping pitch appointments is possible in either of these two ways or even another.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

                      Who is getting the gold registration over the basic? What are your reasons for this, i want to register today and can't decide if i should just get the basic and then add the network parties, or get the whole package which seems like it could be overkill.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

                        Well, I registered when the Gold Pass was $270. But if you're skipping all the seminars, it would be a $100 plus $30/each for the networking parties. I plan on doing that and attending some of the seminars, so the Gold Pass was the best option for me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

                          the networking parties are not really worth it. the industry folks rarely attend and then when they do, you can't get near them.

                          you can't do any online switching for pitch times but you may do it in person with someone else who want to bargain/switch. of step in if someone doesn't show up for their pitch. these things happen often but it's hit or miss.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

                            don't forget to create a "one" sheet to leave behind after you pitch.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: CS Screenwriting Expo - Golden Pitch

                              add up the classes you want to take. compare it to the gold pass in cost. go with the cheaper.

                              keep in mind, you can only absorb so much. be strategic. try to focus on one area of your game that you want to work on.

                              plan backups if you bail out of any of the free panels.

                              and leave nap time.

                              every year i took fewer classes, but learned more. for me, my perfect receipe was 1-3 classes a day with 1-2 free panels or guest speakers. no more!

                              and if you ended up doing 3 full classes and 2 panels/speakers, i am pretty sure that would have you going from 9 am - 6 or 7 pm with only the lunch break. that is exhausting.

                              no public comment on the pitchfest or Open.

                              i would buy / attend only 1 party while there. not all.

                              enjoy!
                              a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Pearl Buck

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