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Well, that was quick

Ah, well. Got the rejection for my pitch. That was a short-lived period of self-satisfaction.

I figured this would happen, especially on my first time out. It will likely happen A LOT before I really get anywhere. But I did so well on the delivery, and the guy's immediate response in the session seemed positive-- better on both counts than I was expecting --that I let myself get my hopes up. Dummy, you always do that. But this is okay, this is good, I put myself out there, got a sense of how it works, so maybe I'll feel more confident and do better the next time.

The only real problem is I'm not exactly sure I understand how to interpret the feedback I got in order to improve the pitch. There was a report that I don't have a ton of context for, and I'm particularly having trouble understanding the scores in relation to some of the comments.

Here is the report and scorecard from Paramount. All scores are from 1-5.

10:20 Phoebe Roberts

Pitch delivery/presentation - 4

Clarity of pitch - 3

Set up protagonist(s) well - 3

Cool world - May be easier to have a book to base it off of - Consider writing it.

OR base it around a well known historical moment in order to get it made.

Cool characters - Continue to expand on the world.

Didn't connect with the story enough to want to pursue. Pass.

Hmm. Like, I assume that 3 on a 1 to 5 scale means "average," as it is the mathematical average of those numbers. But if I was "averagely" clear, what was I unclear about? What would be a "good" level of clarity, then, like a 4? I thought I did a good job on the delivery, which apparently with that 4 I did. So is 4 a "good"? I got another 3 on setting up the protagonists, but got the comment "Cool characters." I would think that "cool" is on the positive side, where "average" seems in the middle, neither positive nor negative. So what's not good enough? What should be in there that wasn't? I was expecting to get told my story was too big and expensive, but I'm not sure what I failed to explain in my pitch. I mean, I guess I shouldn't expect to give a perfect pitch MY FIRST TIME TRYING IT, but I'm not sure I know what the problems were.

And I know preexisiting IPs are what get made into movies these days, sigh, but the "write a book first" advice is kind of discouraging. I'm not a prose writer. I've done almost no prose fiction writing in the last five years, and I've been purposefully studying another medium. I don't even know if I'm good enough at it to write a good book of this. Also the idea of taking a year to write it, then trying to find a publisher (a process I know even less about than dramatic production) is a daunting prospect. Even if that would really work (which is no guarantee) I don't find the idea that appealing.

For the moment, I'm going to step away from it and get some distance. I've not had success trying to immediately edit anything; I get trapped in my "If I KNEW what it needed, I would have written it that way IN THE FIRST PLACE" fallacy. And because I'm not sure what to make of the feedback, I think I will soon try to pitch it again exactly the same way. Get another data point on it. If the feedback is the same, that might tell me something. If it's not, it may mean these things are a lot more a matter of taste. A lot of art things are.

I mean, yeah, I'm probably more disappointed than I should be. But I'm glad I tried it. I should try to focus on this as a victory, because it is.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 1st, 2015 10:28 pm (UTC)
That feedback is totally useless unless you want to write a book (which you don't) or pretty much re-write the whole script (which you shouldn't). I can understand your frustration and disappointment.
It sucks that he didn't ask to see the script.
Jun. 2nd, 2015 01:38 am (UTC)
Kudos for putting yourself out there. And overall this is above average, which is damned fine for a first go.
Jun. 2nd, 2015 02:02 am (UTC)
Here's how I read that feedback: "This is a really cool, original idea. The characters are the most interesting part, the story less so. But without a hook (e.g. matching wits against a known historical or fictional character; based on the best-selling novel; the "real story" behind a famous historical moment) to hang the marketing on, I wouldn't know how to sell it."

I don't know what that means in terms of where you go from here, but that's my take.
Jun. 2nd, 2015 11:33 am (UTC)
That's how I read it as well. They like your concept and characters but there isn't enough zing to the story or an angle they can market easily from.
Jun. 2nd, 2015 08:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you for weighing in. Would you mind explaining to me what about the feedback made you think that? I'm struggling so much interpreting it and I'd be really curious if you could explain what the signals were to you.
Jun. 2nd, 2015 08:21 pm (UTC)
Well, let's see. You get a 4 in presentation, so they like it/you, but only a 3 in clarity, and since they give both the world and the characters a "cool" what's left is the story, so that's where you're losing a point. They say they think there's a whole book in it, which again suggests they want you to put more into the story, but also that they need someone else to figure out how to market this before they'll take that chance. Combine that with Hollywood's notorious reluctance to fund original ideas (look at how few non-comedies are not based on a true story, a bestseller, a comic book, a remake, a formula) and that's how I come up with my reading of the feedback.
Jun. 3rd, 2015 04:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this, that's really helpful!
( 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


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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