Monday, June 14, 2010

The Art of the Pitch in Hollywood

Starting with how the idea for your project came to you is one of the best ways to begin your pitch. Because you are connecting to a real place and the source of your genuine inspiration and excitement about your project, your delivery will come across in a manner that's not so re-hearsed. It's a great ice-breaker. Best of all, talking about how you got your idea makes you more relaxed and less self-conscious, which in turn makes the person you're pitching to also feel more relaxed and engaged.

As a producer who has heard infinite pitches, nothing is more painful than watching someone sweat, turn red and even shake because they feel so uncomfortable and nervous. While some executives might come across as a little cold, the truth is, every executive is rooting for you. If you have a great project, you make them a star.

Worse are those who come in and read from a document. We want to connect with you, see who you are and get to know you. We're taking time out of a very busy day to have you in our office, so do what you can to entertain us.

The best way to do that is to connect with your genuine source of interest and excitement because that reveals you...and your excitement will engage us and be infectious.

Never under estimate the importance of practice and being prepared. The best way to prepare, I have found when I'm preparing a pitch, is to write the story down. Usually, this process takes place in the form of a treatment or outline that I've been working on for at least a week. By reading and researching the characters (if based on a book or true story) and writing the treatment, I've gotten to know my characters and story intimately so that talking about them becomes second nature.

DO practice in the shower, in your car, on your way to your coffee shop, as you walk across the parking lot -- do whatever it takes! Practice your pitch on your friends. Make sure they are friends who are supportive and won't tear you apart or put you down as that will only shred your confidence and put you back a few steps -- completely counter-productive! So practice, practice, practice!...until your pitch is second nature.

DON'T wing it. Unless you're a seasoned pro, a gifted story-teller who has been writing novels, scripts or plays for at least 10 years as these are the only people I know capable of "winging" pitches...and even they too have to prepare a little bit.

Last but not least...

Have FUN! Love your story, love what you're telling...even if it's a scary movie, a tragedy or a horror movie...enjoy the process! Chances are if you have fun, the person you're pitching it to will too!

For more information about "Pitching" and other Hollywood Tips, contact Wendy: l