What Is With All This Pitching Nonsense?

I don’t understand, in the slightest, all this emphasis in the “I want to learn to write screenplays” universe on pitching. What is that about?

Why do people want to pitch?
Why do people think they need to learn to pitch?
I know why people who wanna be writers think they need to learn to pitch… it’s because people make money TEACHING them to pitch.

You are not going to pitch.
Not to someone who might be able to BUY a pitch.
You won’t.

I’ve had three movies made. I’ve sold pitches. I can get my agent to set a meeting and go in an pitch something. Big deal. Like they’re going to buy a pitch from me. I don’t know Harrison Ford. I’m not going in to sell a piece of material with Will Ferrell attached… so there’s zero chance they’re going to buy something from me. The business is HORRIBLE now and they’re only buying pitches from HUGE writers with HUGE ATTACHMENTS.

I did sell a pitch a year ago, but that was based on a true story and we had the life rights and a book.
But I can’t sell just a story pitch these days. I’m not Jay Roach.

And neither are you.

So the thought that someone out there who has not even written a screenplay is going to ever be allowed to pitch to someone who has the ooomph to even say “Maybe” is ridiculous. If they know your work and love it to pieces, you can come in and pitch.

Is it because people are lazy? Is it because they want to sell an idea and not take the time to do the hard work of writing a whole screenplay? Get real.

You are not going to be pitching anything to anybody real until you’ve got some real work under your belt.

It’s silly to conceive of anything else.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “What Is With All This Pitching Nonsense?

  1. JBC

    Thanks for this bit of insight Mr Akers. It is some relief for those of us who do not live in LA and are too far away to spend our lunch hours riding elevators hoping to bump into studio suits.

    I think being able to sell yourself at the right moment must certainly be part of the process but really – how often does a chance meeting at Starbucks really result in a sale?! Seems like a super long shot.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      It’s good to know how to tell your story in two minutes… I did it today… told the story of an existing screenplay in less than two minutes in order to get someone to want to read that script. But I wasn’t trying to sell a pitch, which is IMPOSSIBLE now. “You’re trying to sell air” is what the executive told me… I was just giving a description of a story.

      For that reason, I guess it’s all right to learn to pitch, but not with the idea that you’re going to actually sell something. NFW.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      It’s good to know how to tell your story in two minutes… I did it today… told the story of an existing screenplay in less than two minutes in order to get someone to want to read that script. But I wasn’t trying to sell a pitch, which is IMPOSSIBLE now. “You’re trying to sell air” is what the executive told me… I was just giving a description of a story.

      For that reason, I guess it’s all right to learn to pitch, but not with the idea that you’re going to actually sell something. NFW.

  2. Jim

    I am glad you said it.

    One small thing: several of these people are learning to pitch their scripts that are already written so people will read them in these picthfest thingamajigs.

    But otherwise, you are right on.

  3. Brett in Manhattan

    Is it because people are lazy? Is it because they want to sell an idea and not take the time to do the hard work of writing a whole screenplay?

    __________

    Yes and yes.

    I remember reading an interview with an agent who said whenever an aspiring writer, or someone who knew one, approached him, he would ask how many screenplays the writer had written. The answer was always “one.”

    Regarding pitches, I recently got someone I know to submit a screenplay to her agent. I attribute the success to my ability to describe the premise in about 25 words.

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