Recently I was in Australia with Glen Mazarra, Jen Gristanti, Ellen Sandler and Steve Kaplan speaking at the 2013 TV Writers Studio. It was a blast! Thanks to everyone in both Melbourne and Sydney for making me feel so welcome. It was inspiring to work with talented writers hungry to learn more about the craft and business of television.
Because Pitchslam was a part of the festivities, many people had questions about pitching. Several of the workshops talked about what to do in a pitch. One person approached it in a different way. She wanted to know what NOT to do in a pitch. Having heard thousands of pitches and bought hundreds of projects, I've witnessed some of the best and excruciatingly, some of the worst.
So here's the list I came up with and shared with the folks Down Under and want to share with you:
10 Sure Fire Ways to Kill a Pitch
1. Memorize it to within an inch of its life and don't veer off, no matter what. Being stiff and wooden is an added plus!
2. Avoid eye contact -- look down at your notes or the floor the entire time.
3. Dive right in and give a nice LONG laundry list of every character's first and last name and a boring description of each one.
4. Leave out the tone and setting.
5. Say something offensive about women or minorities.
6. Give as many minute, unimportant details as possible, while avoiding the big picture.
7. Keep talking, especially when you see someone's eyes glaze over.
8. Rush through it as quickly as possible.
9. Tell lots of dry facts. At no time should you tell an engaging, informal story.
10. Explain, in an uninformed way, why this is going to be so great!
Would love to hear any others you’ve encountered along the way…
Director of WGA's Showrunner Training Program, creator & Director of the CBS Diversity Writers Mentoring Program, international speaker and a leading expert on entertainment career strategies, Carole Kirschner teaches creative professionals how to navigate the often mystifying landscape of show business. Her book, Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV and Digital Entertainment is a primer on how to break in and move up in the entertainment industry. Through her popular workshops, Carole teaches writers, producers, directors and executives the real world strategies that will help them not just succeed, but thrive.