Speed Dating

NATPE’s big TV pitch conference is this weekend, and tomorrow is the day they offer 10-minute consultations to help people prepare for Friday’s marathon o’ pitching.  I’m delighted to have been one of the pitching experts asked to help participants perfect their loglines… and no less delighted that I won’t be pitching my own stuff this time around.

Pitch conferences are the speed dating of your writing career.  They are fantastic; in one day you can get your work in front of twenty companies.  They are also *emotionally exhausting.*  Seriously, it wears me out just thinking about it.  The problem is that you want each meeting to be with Prince Producer Charming, and alas, that’s as much of a career fairy tale as a romantic one.  So how do you get the most out of the pitch conference ball?

1) Make sure the glass slipper fits.

Do your homework.  Which companies will be there?  What do they produce?  You would be amazed at how many people skip this step.  If they’ve heard of a production company, they will leap at the chance to pitch to them, even if their project is totally wrong for that company.  So let’s say you sign up for Oxygen Media, The Discovery Channel and the CW… Consider the comment section open for ideas of a TV series that would suit all three.  Unless you’re coming in the door with a slate of different projects, pick companies that actually produce the kind of material you write.

2) Know how to dance.

Know what you’re going to say.  Have your logline and three-minute elevator pitch down pat.  If your pitch is longer than five minutes, cut it.  Not to tough-love you too much here, but really, they’ll know in the first minute if they want to hear more.

3) Get their phone number.

If they aren’t interested after the logline and (very) brief elevator pitch, use your time to ask them what they are looking for.  If you have something like that in your portfolio, give them the logline.  If not, ask if you can give them a call if you develop something that fits their mission.

4) Be yourself.

Cinderella cleaned up for the ball; she didn’t wear a disguise, she simply appeared as her best self.  Don’t pretend to be something you are not.  You are a professional writer with a distinct voice and personality.  You are looking for people and companies who get your sensibility, places where you can shine.  Be professional – clean up nice for the party – but don’t worry about fitting their mold.

Anyone else been to a pitchfest and care to share?  What do you wish someone had told you?

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2 thoughts on “Speed Dating

  1. Thanks, Vanessa. It really is fun and you learn so much – I learn so much – from every pitch. It’s always easier to see mistakes when someone else is making them! 😉

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