…Pitch #17 – Speed Dating

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Pitching is like speed dating...
Pitching is like speed dating...
…Pitch #17- Speed Dating

Most of you have heard me say "Ask Big" when it comes to asking people you know to do soft introductions to people you want to pitch and yet you still will do either 1 or 2 things:

  1. Nothing. You may be too afraid to ASK.

Or

  1. Nothing. You may not believe that sometimes all it takes is an open mouth.

I’ve written about this topic in articles before and I’ve also suggested this very thing in most of my pitching workshops and when I follow up with people to see if they have used their networks to get pitches, the answer is most of the time a resounding, “no.”

To test this theory, I decided to take my advice about asking people I know to introduce me to people who I wanted to pitch, by asking them to do a soft introduction. So, I asked a friend of mine if she wouldn't mind doing a soft introduction to the head of development at a pretty well known production company, with hopes that I can pitch the production company.  I knew she and the lady were associates, and I felt based on the company's previous projects and what they currently had in development, that at least three of my television shows could suit their mandate.

You've heard the saying; "a closed mouth won't get fed," haven't you? Well, taking my advice worked for me. After the introduction had been made, I followed up asking for a chance to pitch.  As a favor, the executive responded that same day, she expressed how busy she was, and told me to fill out their release form with more information on the projects I was interested in pitching. She said if she were interested in any of them, she would follow up with me and let me know which she'd like to hear about.  That day, I filled out the release and sent six projects to her, 3 of them fit, and the others I was unsure about, but just incase they were heading in a different direction, I wanted the others to be considered.  My submission included the: Title, genre, logline, and a brief synopsis.

A month had passed, and I hadn't heard from her. I had had a conversation with then Sr. Director of development at BET on the topic, "When and how to follow up," (You can read his entire interview in chapter 9), and based on our conversation, I decided to reach out to her based on the fact that she said she was “very busy.”  I didn’t jump to conclusions that she was uninterested, I figured, she could have forgotten about my email. I followed up with her by email asking her when would be a good time for a brief chat. Another twelve days passed before receiving an email from her asking me if I had time to meet the following Thursday. She was giving me 15 minutes of her time! Honestly, I stressed out. Why? Well, because she hadn't said which project she was specifically interested in, and I forgot to ask and was too afraid to email her back, which meant I had to prepare to pitch them all. Also, the thoughts looming in my head were that I was developing a new relationship and this meeting could determine if my network would grow, and if the door would be open in the future for all of the ideas undoubtedly my mind would produce. Relationships are everything! I was able to pass my bout with fear, and create a one sheet for all of my projects for guidance. Then, I rehearsed.

On the call, (our meeting was by phone since the production company is in L.A., and I’m in New Jersey), She sounded rushed. She said she had a deadline to meet that day. Crap. I asked her if she wanted to hear about any of the projects in particular. She stated that her company was interested in scripted content so to start there, but that I could choose which project to discuss. It was followed by another mention of her deadline; I knew there wasn't much time left. Oh the joys of pitching by phone. It was now or never.  At that moment, I heard Robert Townsend's voice blaring out at me from when I pitched him, "Just tell me the story!!!" So, I began telling the story of the strongest, most interesting character I'd written about. Then the next one and the next, until the silent alarm rang, telling her time was up. Our speed dating pitch session was over. She said she would get back to me.

The next morning in my inbox was an email from my newly formed relationship, asking me for a second date. She inquired if I had a series bible and a pilot script written for my project with the intriguing character whose story I told first. I replied, "Well, of course! She also expressed interest in another project too. To which I thought, but hadn't said, "Jeez, you are asking for a lot of goodies on the second date!" But for the sake of my characters, I decided to take one for the team and relented: "Oh, what the heck, just take all of me."

My takeaways:

  1. Practice prepares you to have grace under pressure.
  2. Always think of Robert Townsend in tough pitching situations and just tell your story.
  3. Most importantly, start your story with the character that is the most intriguing to you. Start first talking about the character that is like the love of your life or a miracle baby that came into your life and changed your world forever.
  4. Lastly, be prepared and have all pitch materials ready in case they ask you to hand them over. Just make sure you have registered them all with WGA first (Writers Guild of America).

 

Stop Faking It!

Stop Faking It!

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I'll admit it, there were so many things about pitching that I was clueless about! I was depending on the "faking it till I make it" way! And quite honestly, it (along with my instincts) carried me a bit far. 

But, faking it could only take me so...far.

I wanted to go all the way! I wanted to understand how to pitch my projects the right way. Then, I'd know I've done my absolute best and all that I can do to see my projects through to fruition. 

That's why I learned more about pitching content. What about you? How would selling your project make you feel?

Sneak Preview: Interview with Eddie Harris

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Pitches that Win
Hey content creators, 

I recently interviewed content creator, Eddie Harris for my book, #100Pitches: Mistakes I've Made So You Don't Have To.     In the interview, he was open and honest about how he sold many of his scripts to studios, as well as,  how he went about getting and preparing for his pitches. 

 In this snippet, he talks  about hooking the buyer by using comparisons.  You can listen below to a snippet of his interview on pitching. 

Listen to Eddie Harris below:


P.S. If you would like to be the first to pre-order my book, get on the mailing list at squeakymoore@thepitch101.com. 
Enjoy! 

The Effects of People Bondage on Your Writing

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I was recently conversing with a fellow content creator and she raised a writing concern that I have battled with for a long time.  My battle is one between my spiritual walk, my family and friends, and how to write for the "not so good" characters that are screaming to get out of my head.  

I am not even sure I helped to guide her.  My response to her was more of me yelling at the very same annoying voices I've heard in my head over the last 15 years of my creative career.  How can I create the characters I want to create and not offend Christ or my spiritual family and friends?  I fear God, I do...and recently I realized I feared what my friends and family thought just as much as I did God; probably more...unfortunately. I've only recently recognized part of my creative writing problem as people bondage.  

people-bondage

For years I've been stuck in this place of not being able to tell my truth without thinking of what the people around me would think or say; how they might shame me for being true to my authentic voice.  Am I the only one thinking this?  Am I the only one bound by these chains while writing?  Will I go to hell for unapologetically writing whats on my mind and in my heart?  Obviously, I'm not alone here!  That's probably why I went on a rampage when I responded to her question.  Part of me was happy to know someone shared in my struggle, and part of me ready to lead the troops in fighting back against the vocal army.  "No more!!!"  (As we rush into the crowd slaying the many voices on horses.) During my rampage, the most profound answer I've ever been able to come up with came to me.  

"You have to be true to the voice of the character."  

To those who struggle with this like we do, I say this:  

You have to be true to the voice of your character.  It's the only way people can connect to your work.  Leave yourself out of the writing altogether.  It's not about you.  Your character's are speaking, living, and breathing; it's their personal journey. There is no way to connect to the broader world if we don't write from the characters point of view.  We have to allow the characters we write to live their lives 3 dimensionally like regular people in the real world live; like you and I live. At the end of the day, we are ALL flawed.  We were born this way.  If you create human beings that are unflawed, no one in the world could relate to them.  It's still hard for me to imagine Jesus' perfect life.  I've had such a screwed up life, (I wanted to say something else, but my people bondage wouldn't allow me to), but my life certainly wasn't a crystal stair, and I've even had to put sometime on God's calendar to chat about the "why".  That the only thing at times that connect me personally to Jesus is all the crap he had to endure from the people who hated him and all the things he's endured in his life on earth.  In that sense, I get Him!  When you think of it, the only way to write the bible and to bring people closer to Christ was to write authentic people with authentic struggles.  Biblical people weren't all saintly; they were sluts, killers, liars, thieves, scared, and a whole bunch of other adjectives.   

What Do You Do With Your Deeply  Flawed Characters?


Well, He's given me my answer, I have to write stories authentically from my point of view so the stories can change the lives of others.  I have stories to tell that are for the greater good of others.  So I have to write them truthfully; unapologetically, not for the perfectly imperfect people who will turn up their noses at my deeply flawed f*^&ed up characters that exist in my head, but for the others who have had not so good lives, and have done not so good things....those people who are a lot like me. 

And so I write...

P.S.  Join the private Facebook group and be a part of an independent content creators forum for creating and pitching great projects at The Pitch 101.

Sneak Peek: Interview Clip with former BET Development Executive

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It's Gift Bag Friday! (New name- I realized the old one wasn't original- sue me! 😬😬)

In your gift bag today is a quick clip of one of the interviews I had with former development executive, Austyn Biggers from BET! There were so many nuggets to walk away with and you will eventually hear them all in my book #100Pitches: Mistakes I've Made So You Don't Have To! 

In this interview, you get answers on the 3 most common ways to pitch and when to follow up with the person you've pitched. It was great insight given that you can definitely benefit from knowing.

I can't wait for y'all to read this book!

Oh, the anticipated release is in January 2017!

Yay!!

Please subscribe to this site to learn the exact release date.

Until then, be creative!

ARE WE THINKING FORWARD?

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Are You Thinking Forward?
I met with an executive producer for a project format reality show I had created. We met to discuss my format bible. And, even though it was hell to create, I looked on the bright side- Hey, I got to the next steps with her and have possibly began packaging my TV show idea with an executive producer. Yay!

This EP also happens to have headed a development team for a production company, as well as, having executive produced her own notable reality shows.

We talked through my 20-page format bible, and she questioned a few of my creative decisions; ones that I may want to consider changing. She left the decision up to me, which also meant if I changed them; I had more work to do.

Her development thinking cap was on big time, and she forced me to think of the uniqueness of my show and how it fit into the years to come. She got me to thinking how I can reinvent the ways this typical format has been done in the past. (GRRR... I thought I had done that.) Sigh. It's the part I used to abhor when I first started pitching; being told that my idea wasn't perfect. I'm learning to get over myself. Okay, So...I'm not perfect! It isn’t the end of the world. (Well, I eventually landed on this way of thinking; at first I crushed to learn this news!)

In minutes, she managed to brainstorm all of the unconventional, yet brilliant and relevant new innovations that shaped 2015 and how we could incorporate them, turning my show into a...trendsetting and amazing idea.

Did you pick up on the WE like I did? BINGO!!!!!

I still have much work to do as I work on packaging this show and getting it on air. But, WE’RE moving in the right direction.

My takeaways: Don't feel dejected when asked to reconsider new ideas. It's not a form of rejection. It really means your concept has potential. It means you are in the beginning of a potential development deal! It isn’t a NO, it's a MAYBE SO... provided you are willing to collaborate and open yourself up to possibilities. Trust me when I say it took me 2 years to realize this lesson; a mistake I don't want you to waste more than 2 days on. So, if you are in development, accept it as a great possibility and do not allow your hurt pride or stubbornness to get in the way of your potential greatness.

For A Limited Time Only…

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You may not know me personally, but, I'm passionate about helping content creators learn what's needed to get your projects on the big and little screens, and I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge with you.
For this week only, I'm partnering with The Ocktober Film Festival to help all filmmakers learn more about what it takes to pitch your projects and how to properly prepare your pitch materials for the room when you pitch.  

If you've been following me, you know by now that it's my passion to educate content creators on the dos and don't's of pitching.  And I'm giving you all I know! 

In this jam packed workshop, you will learn some great strategies and great discoveries I have learned overtime. You really don't want to miss all I have to teach you. 

Get your tickets now for A LIMITED TIME ONLY for a third of the price. 

Can wait to see you!

(Limited seating)
Creatively yours,

Squeaky Moore
(Pics from my last two workshops)

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