I’ve pitched a few projects recently at two very different events – one was the London Screenwriters’ Festival and the other, a Creative England ifeatures networking event. The LSF was organised with strict time limits on the individual pitches – five minutes and then move on to the next one. Held over the three days of the Festival, there were an average of eight to ten producers in each session and anything up to thirty people pitching. In the session – about an hour, I pitched to seven of the eight producers and got requests from six of them. Even if your project doesn’t get picked up, it’s worthwhile attending because you’re making connections, getting contact details and the most valuable part of the process, seeing how your log line stands up.
The networking event was more relaxed and probably closest to the kind of pitching situation we’re likely to find ourselves in but the same criteria applied to the log line.
Blake Snyder highlighted this in “Save the Cat”. He recommended before you typed Scene 1, you test marketed your pitch on complete strangers and assessed at what point they lost interest, because if you can’t keep their attention, how are you going to keep anyone else’s? And that point where they look away or just look plain bored is where I go back and look at the story.
But it can work the other way as well, sometimes by sheer accident, the log line will come out slightly different and you’ll see the affect it has and you’ll know you need to go back and look at your script and make sure it reflects what you’ve just seen and felt. And the feeling wins every time.