Why Should We Care - Making Your Story Universal - (Part Two)

Why Should We Care - Pitching Yourself Part Two
By Brandon Combs

So we've learned how to care about your story, but how do you get people to care about you as the writer? 

As an ice breaker— who here's been on a Blind Date? If you have, I'm so, so sorry. If you haven't, let me sum it up. It's a confusing and scary process where two people awkwardly force communication while harshly judging each other. Long story short, it's exactly like pitching and the same basic rules apply!

Whether you're pitching verbally or in writing, there are certain guidelines to remember: 

Everyone is different: Just like in the dating world, where there's a million fish in the sea, the same goes for executives who hear pitches. Not everyone is going to like every one of your projects or the way you pitch said project. Pitching is a numbers game. The more practice you can get pitching and the more people you can share your ideas with, the more likely you will find someone that's interested. 

There's no right or wrong way: There's a billion different dating sites and handbooks, and there are a billion different ways to pitch. It's up to you to figure out what’s the best way to tell your story. Every story is different, and they therefore need to be presented in different ways to hook a listener. Even the tips I give here—if something doesn't fit because of the structure of your particular story, don't try to force it. 

There's also certain pieces of information that every pitch should include: 

Make it love at first sight: Hook your listener early! First impressions are everything, so really put your projects’ best foot forward by talking about what’s exciting about your project. The earlier you can intrigue a listener/reader with any aspect of your idea the closer they will listen and the more engaged they will be. Get to the hook and relatable themes of your story/character quickly so we want to go on the journey with you. 

Don't tell your whole life story: Just like how on a date you don't  want bring up that time in junior high you puked in gym class, you don't want to bog down your pitch with extraneous details. Don't "And then, and then, and then..." your listener to death with every single detail of your plot. Just hit the broad strokes. Tell the most horrific, comedic, tragic, thrilling and/or romantic parts of your story. Detail the trailer moments of your film by making them the connections between the beginning, middle and end. 

Have a solid style: If you're going on a date at The Ritz you wouldn't dress like you're going to McDonald's. Your style would match the situation. So, if you're pitching a horror script you wouldn't tell it like a comedy or a romcom. Make sure you begin by being very clear about the style and tone of your story. The better you setup your world and how it works, the better readers/listeners will understand what you're going for overall.

Bring out your character: Just like on a first date, you want to share glimmers of yourself, but not the whole shebang, you want to do the same with your characters in your pitch. We don't need to know EVERY single person in your script. Just the most important ones, the main protagonists and antagonists. The more people you mention the more confusing things become, so really try to hone in on the arcs and motivations of just your main players. 

If this sounds scary, don’t worry! Practice makes perfect and unlike a blind date you're in control!

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