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Roadmap Exclusive Interview!
What elements are you most looking for when listening to a pitch?
Characters (i.e. heroes and anti-heroes) that hook me emotionally within the first 10 pages. Show me why I should care to tune in for the rest of the episode and the series! It goes without saying that a rich world and strong plot help drive a story but above all else, I need to want to live with this/these characters for a while. Personally, I also look for inspirational characters (not necessarily in the traditional sense) that are subversive and complicated and hard to put in a box.
What's the most common mistake you see when writers pitch?
My simple suggestion: Tell me a story. Don’t compartmentalize each section as “characters”, “story” and “themes”. Don’t ruin the beauty of good storytelling by giving away all the plot points at the beginning, and don’t spend 5 minutes telling me about our protagonist before getting into the action. Tell me the story and let characters and plot organically reveal themselves as they would if you were reading the script itself.
What makes you keep turning the page?
Multiple compelling, intertwining storylines OR one storyline that is well structured to allow challenges and surprises to build as our protagonist overcomes each one.
What is one of the biggest pitfalls a writer can fall victim to when writing a script?
Imagining a great scene and writing a story around that. That strategy often produces an evocative scene, but not a cohesive script.
If you could have been part of any movie or TV show that's been out in the past 2 years, what would it be?
THE GOOD PLACE, BARRY, RUSSIAN DOLL and DARK – if we’re spanning the breadth of TV comedy and drama. JOJO RABBIT and THE FAREWELL on the film side.
What is your biggest pet peeve to avoid during a pitch?
Please don’t pitch generic characters – make sure they stand out in a lineup physically, psychologically and in personality. Also, don’t get too into the weeds of the world before giving enough of the A plot or lead character(s) – I’m sure your universe is fascinating, but you’ll lose me.
Tell me a story. Pitch me the pilot as it evolves in the script and the characters should be introduced accordingly.
A New York native, Jake Holm is currently a development executive at Entertainment One Television. Since joining eOne, Jake has been involved in both critically-acclaimed and audience-beloved shows such as SHARP OBJECTS, THE ROOKIE and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. He has worked on projects through all stages of development across the full spectrum of networks, from broadcast to cable and streaming. Prior to that, Jake worked in the Television Literary department at United Talent Agency. Previously, he served as a development associate for veteran producer Jane Startz (ELLA ENCHANTED, THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS), helping her develop and manage a large slate of film and television projects for children and young adults. Jake began his career as a coordinator on feature films and commercials in New York City, before moving on to produce branded short-form content. Jake holds a BFA in Film & Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
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