Here’s a strange thought.
When most people pitch their projects, the question they never ask themselves is why.
“Why are you pitching in the first place?” Or, to put it another way, “What do you want?”
You see, one of the key issues I deal with when working with writers, and sometimes even directors, is what I call the “victim” mentality. We go into meetings assuming that we’re going to get screwed! That we are the least powerful one at the table, and that we should give in to anyone who shows the slightest interest in our work.
The fact is, until you’ve signed something, you are the most powerful one at the table – you have all the rights in your work. Until you sign.
So, you’d better know what you want. What is your priority? Is it money? Or for your script to be produced? Or do you want a single-card front-end credit? Or do you want to forward your career? Or to have your story told? Or to work with a particular company? Or a particular director? Or to become a member of Groucho’s? Do you want to be famous? Or make a change in society? Or something else entirely?
You won’t get all of those and you may need to choose. Do you go with the guy who offers you money but may not get the film made? Or the woman who has no money to pay you, but will bust a gut to get it filmed? Or the company who may do neither, but who will teach you a lot and give you a load of contacts?
When you know what you want, you know what to listen for – and that’s the first crucial step in making a good pitch.
If you want to know more – read the first Power Pitching Tip and the Pitching Tips article – and if you really want to get to be expert at pitching you need to practise. There are many pitching classes around – some better than others. You can learn from all of them. And I (of course) think the best are the Masterclasses I run for Euroscript. I generally only have time away from my other work to run one, or at most two, a year and the next one (and probably only remaining class for 2010) is in London on Saturday May 8.