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Messages posted since 04/29/2014
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Topic: Austin Conference?

Author: Heather Hughes Posted: 09/21/06 10:40 AM

Anyone going to the Austin Screenwriters Conference? Have you ever done the pitch contest? What was it like? How do you make the most of the whole confernce experience?

Thanks for the advice.

Author: Richard Franklin Posted: 09/21/06 12:45 PM

Heather, I found this, and thought you'd like it. I hope you can use it.

When I had to take "pitches," the Writers usually would give a powerful logline at the beginning and we'd say whether or not we were interested in hearing their pitch (or "what else have you got").

It was always one line--one sentence. Never, ever has anyone given me a logline that was a paragraph.

It's called a logLINE, not a logPARAGRAPH.

A lot of Writers who have never pitched, don't seem to have a clue when they get the chance to pitch.

Instead of putting together the best elements of the story (script) for a pitch and being animated/excited about what they're telling, they'll ramble on and on in a ho-hum fashion.

There was this guy who had a GREAT story about something in history his parents had gone through. Unfortunately, he wasn't a verbal storyteller. He just rambled on and on and on in a very unexcitable fashion, telling us every little single detail. It was difficult to stay awake. And the poor guy couldn't figure out why Paramount had turned him down when he pitched it.

Try the VERY BEST you can to create a very powerful logline and, if possible, make your story sound unique. Remember, less is more.

You wanna WOW 'EM. Not have them look at you with confused, inquisitive looks on their faces and ask, "So what's the story about?" Or say, "I don't get it." Or "Not interested. What else have you got?"

You want to be able to pitch and sell your product!

Here's another piece of tidbit. The fewer words you say (logline), the more they'll remember it.

And why on earth, unless it's a well-known character, would you put names in your logline? If an executive has not read your script (which he/she hasn't, otherwise you wouldn't be pitching it), they're not going to know who the heck you're talking about!

Usually, pitches are PITCHES. There are no scripts. But if you're not established and you've never sold a pitch, you may get the opportunity to pitch your scripts.

There was someone I knew who pitched fabulous stories. But when he handed in the script, it wasn't the same story at all. Don't ask me! I've never figured out what the hell he's thinking.

Relax, take a deep breath and do whatever you do to pour your creative juices together.

Author: Heather Hughes Posted: 09/21/06 01:40 PM

Thanks so much, Richard!

The thought of pitching in a conference room full of people (as opposed to sitting alone with the people you're pitching) is terrifying, so I appreciate the advice.

Take care,

Heather

Author: Heather Hughes Posted: 10/25/06 01:20 PM

Hi everyone,

I just got back for the Austin Screenwriter's Conference and it was amazing. If you can ever get it together to go I highly encourage you to do it. The panels are amazingly valuable, the speakers are so accessible and the support you receive there is fantastic.

Where else can you run into Sidney Pollack, Shane Black and Christopher Vogeler in the hotel lobby or bar and get the chance to chat with them? How else can you get Christopher Vogeler in a room and ask him to define one of his concept that you've never grasped?

At the Producers round table sessions I sat with producers who freely handed out their business cards and all asked that I send my script to them. Amazing!

At a Writers round table session I really wanted to meet Mike Rich (Finding Forester) to follow up on some advice I'd heard him give at a panel and the moderator told me to take any table and that she's bring him to my table. (I had to leave to catch a flight and only had time to meet one writer during that session) He sat down with five of us and answered all our questions.

I am in love with that conference and hope you'll all get to experience it someday!