Pitching Your Script in Conversation

This past week I was at the Atlanta Film Festival. If you’re in the entertainment industry and you haven’t been to a festival, you need to go. There is much more to success in the film industry than just writing and filming! Getting out there–really seeing first-hand what’s going on in the entertainment business–is priceless. Another priceless thing to know is the art of pitching your script in conversation. If you get it right, you could get the deal of a lifetime. But get it wrong, and you’re back to the drawing board.

What You Get from Film Festivals:

While I cannot guarantee that you’ll meet a movie star at your first festival, attending the afterparty is always a fun way to network. You never know who you will run into, and the exciting thing about going to an afterparty is that everyone there is passionate about the entertainment industry. But please, do not try pitching your script to everyone you meet. It will get old fast, and you’ll probably wind up turning off more people than you impressed. Keep reading for more tips on how pitching your script in conversation actually works.

Pitching Your Script at Networking Events

The name of the game in entertainment is networking, and film festivals have several different events that you can use to your advantage. One of the best ways I have found to meet people in the industry and to learn more about the entertainment business is through panels. Usually, at a panel, you’ll see thought leaders and influencers on the stage. They are there for the audience — to help them get ahead, to share news about a current project, and to put a face to their brand. But these very panels are often a place where many hopeful writers make disastrous mistakes.

After panels are over, a lot of producers come down off the stage, and the urge for some writers is to run up on stage and to pitch their script. ALERT! Do not do that. I’ve seen it all at these panels, and what most writers don’t realize is that they are ruining their chances and making a negative first-impression with a poorly thought-out pitch.

So here’s what NOT to do when you’re pitching your script.

  • Don’t approach a producer with a full script in hand.
  • Don’t write the synopsis on your business card – we can’t read that!
  • Don’t expect that the producer will read your script that day, even if it’s incredible.

What You Should Do when you’re pitching your script:

  • Introduce yourself and then have a 30-60 second pitch about your script ready to go.
  • Practice your speech so that when the time comes, you’ll ace it.
  • Be ready to tell the producer what is compelling and unique about your idea.
  • If the producer is interested in your idea, they will tell you the process of getting the full script to them.
  • Respect the legal process: Production companies cannot read every script they get without legal authorization. There’s a process to follow.

Producers are looking for great ideas, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to pitch them! Chances are, that if you go through all the steps I mentioned above, you’ll have a much better chance of getting your great idea in front of a producer. Good Luck!

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