Thursday, August 16, 2007

To pitch or not to pitch

Howdy writers, wrongers, and all in between,

This post as the title says tries to ask\answer the question, do you pitch something you haven't finished?

It's a tough question, I'd say and is totally p to the discretion of the screenwriter. No one is going to hate you if you say:

"I'm working on a great idea that... It's not done yet but I love it so far. It's about..."

I see everyday on Done Deal Pro that many of the sales are for pitches. I, for example, have one spec finished, two in various states of completion and about ten that are sequenced and have all of the characters defined.

Sure it's better to have them written but being able to come up with ideas is just as important as having 10 finished scripts. besides, if you write ten scripts, the shelf life will be different than if you concentrate on selling some of them before piling up a bunch more.

This is of my course my humble opinion and should in no way encourage anyone to approach a pitch fest or the like with unfinished work, but you never know if someone maybe interested if you don't pitch it.

A good example is a prodco that I queried for one script. They were willng to read it so I asked about ones that weren't done.

The answer was:
"Send the loglines and I'll let you know which ones may interest us."

Funny enough the ones that I thought were my strongest concepts and most complete stories were the ones that garnered interest. I should be sending them out by mid-September, around the time I should hear about the first script.

My fingers and toes are crossed on that one as it is my baby.

One reader thought that so much was going on they may have missed something. Of course that was what I was going for. I mean if a viewer mentions something they noticed but you didn't, there is more incentive to actually see the movie again to try and catch that part.

I guess having one protag for each year of college is a lot but all of the subplots revolve around the desires of the protag - as they should.

I personally am looking for an apartment in LA right now so that I can take a day off every two weeks and hawk scripts. I carry my first one in my bag at all times and soon hopefully I'll need a bigger bag.

Even contemplating this takes huge balls so I say go for it. Every chance you get. No Fear. They can only say no. True the pitch works better for an established writer but a new writer with a good sense of a good story can at least et a meeting.

For me it would be much worse to have scripts or ideas in any form that I didn't push than to have an exec say:

"Come back when it's done. It sounds intriguing. Here's my assistant's email."

or even:

"We don't look at unfinished work from unknown writers. What do you have completed OTHER than that?"

At that point your newness may pay off as you say, "though my completed body of work leaves a little to be desired, I did get through three drafts in under two months and have the others sequenced and researched. could I possibly initiate a query upon completion?"

I mean, you have to be as open and excited about your work as possible or no one else will. I hear from lots of paid writers that enthusiasm and positivity will get you farther than three scripts and a bad attitude about criticism or notes.

I actually would love the opportunity to discuss possible changes and their ramifications with an exec.

So to make a long story short, do your best Carlton Fisk impression and get out there. Execs are waiting to hear from you.

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