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The pitch, knocked out of the park :-D

I've been a little off the grid recently. You'd think that with the free time I had in my last week before my work started up again, I'd be pretty accessible, or at least updating my journal every day. But I've been completely consumed with taking on a challenge I'd never faced before, but need to take on if I'm to progress in my chosen work.

I got an opportunity to pitch a script to a movie studio this weekend, which is a great step for me. I really need to be getting my work out there, so this is a skill I need to cultivate, and jump on these opportunities when they arise. So I decided I was going to put together the strongest pitch I could for my subversive feminism gladiator movie, Adonis.

I've never pitched before, however. I didn't even know that much about it. And Adonis is not exactly the easiest movie to sell. Y'know, with the gender role flips and the female-on-male sexual assault and the hundred and fifty million dollar price tag. But it's what I'm feeling most passionate about is Adonis, and I want to get it out there eventually, so I wanted to try channeling that passion into a pitch.

I did a ton of research, figuring out what goes into a good pitch. I consulted with my old teacher, the awesome Mark Edwards, and his enormous media knowledge. I learned that generally, the best pitches describe the broad, important arc of the story, including the specific genre, the logline, and recent films that it can be compared to in some signficant way. It should not include "marketing speak" or informing the executive how they should regard or feel about it -- just the story told in the most efficient, engaging way possible. They want you to say it, not read it, so you need to be memorized, but not so that you sound like you're just reciting.

So Bernie and I wrote a pitch. Not only is it challenging to boil down what (I think is) a fairly complicated story, we also wanted to present our challenging subject matter in a way that would be less scary to mainstream audiences and seem to have more universal appeal. We wanted to represent it in a way that was still honest, but more palatable and accessible. That was tough, but we finally finished a version that we felt captured it. Then we chopped it down until it was no longer than five minutes to say. And I practiced. I practiced and I practiced and I practiced. I walked around my neighborhood reciting it. I gave it to remembers of Bernie's family over Skype. I invited some lovely friends over for dinner to listen to me give it. They gave me some really useful feedback, helping me refine my language and anticipate the questions I might get after I gave it. Thanks, guys! You were so helpful.

I was very afraid my nerves would make me forget what I was going to say. There wasn't a lot of reason to be nervous-- it's not like I'm pinning all my hopes on my very first time out, and even if I do super badly, it's not like I'll always be talking to the same person who got that one negative impression of me --but I was.

It was to happen over Skype. I dressed up, even though they'd probably only see me from the sternum up, and did some very natural-looking makeup to conceal my acne and make me look better on camera. Presentation is important, however, and I'm not too big to try to make use of "pretty people get what they want." And I vibrated with nerves until they called.

But you know what? The minute we got going, it all snapped into place. I gave the best, smoothest, most enthusiastic version of the pitch that I've given yet. I knocked it out of the park. And the executive responded to it! He listened to my pitch with engagement, making listening noises at the right points. His comments included, "Gladiator happens to be one of my favorite movies," when I mentioned the comparison (along with Hunger Games and Mad Max: Fury Road). He asked me three questions, none of which were bad. They were basically "Do you think there's franchise potential?"-- Yes! -- "Is this attached to any particular moment in real Roman history?" -- Nope, using the Roman trappings with its own history! -- and "Ever consider writing this as a book?" He acknowledged that's not exactly a small endeavor, but with the industry's tendency toward existing IPs, that helps films get made. He concluded by saying, to my pleasure, "Great pitch, rich characters, rich world. I'll have to think more about this."

I know that it's unlikely that anything big for me will come of this. But even if nothing else happens, I think this was a really positive step for me. I gave a great pitch. I got a compliment on it from a real film executive. This is a persistence game, and encouragement like that keeps me going. I got a good experience at a skill I need to cultivate my first time out.

I do hope he'll ask to read the script. That would be a real victory, even if nothing else happens. Probably the most realistic best case scenario I can hope for is he'll ask to read the script, like it even if he knows he can't buy or make it, and want to know what else I've written. Or offer me a job of some kind. That would be cool.

But I'm super proud of myself. I did a new, difficult thing that I need for the future. I made a career step forward. And I did a good job.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
qnmark
May. 30th, 2015 08:42 pm (UTC)
This is really awesome.
(Anonymous)
May. 31st, 2015 03:11 am (UTC)
So proud and happy for you!
Xo Aunt Ardie
(Deleted comment)
nennivian
May. 31st, 2015 01:36 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! No matter what happens, that is a huge accomplishment!
redfishie
May. 31st, 2015 04:01 pm (UTC)
Go you!
lisefrac
Jun. 1st, 2015 03:35 pm (UTC)
*throws confetti* I'm so happy for you! Pitching is such a good skill to have, even if this doesn't go anywhere.
jducoeur
Jun. 1st, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC)
Excellent!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:



MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3


at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM

and

Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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