Pitching Tips

• After creating a list of potential buyers, plan on pitching first to the company least likely to take your project. You'll benefit from the practice and any notes they might give you.

• Before going out to pitch, do some research on the buyers you'll be meeting. Be familiar with the type of projects their company has previously done or is developing and on what individual buyers have produced.

• Bring no more than one or two people to a pitch meeting.

• Be warm, friendly and professional. (It's okay to be a little nervous.)

• As in the general information meeting described in Chapter 10, start by acknowledging the person you're meeting with (good time to mention how much you enjoyed one of her past films), and then tell her a little about yourself. Next, instead of, "Let me tell you why I'm here ..." (which is what you'd say in a general information meeting), you can say something like, "Let me tell you about this terrific project."

• The more excitement, emotion and passion you can generate, the better. Passion sells big time! I can't tell you how often I've heard stories of pitch meetings where afterward, the buyer had commented that the project was just so-so, but the seller's passion was what won him over.

• Be able to convey the key elements of and turning points in your story, such as the enormous obstacles your hero must overcome, the conflict, the irony, an outcome that defies all odds.

• It's always good to bring in a prop or two, photos, charts, etc. to support your pitch. It helps a lot!

• Take notes during pitch meetings, tweak your project and resub-mit it if the door is left open to do so.

• Be open to buyers' suggestions for changes.

• Don't bad-mouth other projects, writers or producers during your pitch.

• Don't interrupt when someone else is talking.

• If you don't know the answer to a question you're asked, don't fake it. Promise to get back to the buyer with an answer.

• If you're asked for further information pertaining to your project, plan on sending it in, e-mailing or delivering it in a timely manner (before the buyer loses interest).

• As in any other meeting, thank the person you're meeting for his time. And if this is a contact you'd like to develop further, send a hand-written thank you note.

• If you don't hear back from the individual(s) you pitched to, wait at least a week to follow up. You can follow up by phone or e-mail, but if you send an e-mail, make sure your subject line clearly indicates who you are and that you're following up on (the name of your project).

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