Say What?

Pitching can be nerve-wracking. It shouldn’t be, because all you’re trying to do is share your passion, but there is always the possibility of rejection, and, as a species, we don’t handle rejection well. I don’t know about you, but when I’m nervous, I tend to just launch into the good bits as soon as possible. I rush, trying to get it over with.

Bad idea.

Because the words we forget to say are, oh, I don’t know, how about the title. The genre. The stuff that allows people to grab on to our ideas and actually hear what we’re saying. So calm down and remember that the first words out of your mouth prepare their listening for the more important words down the line.

The first thing you should say is the title.
The second is the genre.
The third is the logline, which should give the flavor of the piece.

After that, you should have a couple of additional sentences in case they’re intrigued and demand to know more on the spot. Sometimes, however, the above three pieces of information are enough to ask them to read the script or the book.

Think of it as Mad Libs. All you have to do is fill in the blanks:

“Title of Piece” is a “Genre” about “Single Most Important Thing About Your Piece.”

Speed is Die Hard on a bus. Die Hard isn’t just a similar movie, at the time it was its own specific genre – a thriller in a small space, one guy and one ally against an overwhelming foe. And what’s the most important thing about Speed? Yup, bus. And they can hear that, and understand it, because you took care of their top questions – title and genre – first.

Argo is the true story of how six Americans were smuggled out of Iran in the middle of the hostage crisis. You could say “thriller,” but the fact that it’s a true story is, I think, the more important genre.

Try it. See if it works. Feel free to post your loglines below for feedback. And have fun with it! It’s not about distilling your entire epic trilogy into one sentence, it’s about having a few words prepared to start the conversation rolling.