PITCHING + SPEED = SPEED PITCHING.
Its as simple as that. Five minutes with a producer, agent or consultant, in which your one and only goal is HOOK. THEM. IN.
Normally, a pitch wouldn't be in a room full of other people doing the same thing, shouting over the top of each other - or would it? You could be in a pub, or at an event - You see Mr. Big-shot producer, and decide to go for it.
BIG-SHOT: "What's it about?"
Ten minutes later (if Mr. big-shot hasn't run away screaming), you find yourself saying 'and then this happens, and then that happens...' Not the way to do it. So what does speed pitching teach you?
Keep it simple. Seriously, don't over complicate it. Sure, have a decent hook, a character flaw, a challenge and a dash of irony, but that's it. If there's one thing I took away from all of this is, "If they want to know more, they will ask."
1st Pitch: Went brilliantly. My project suited them, and they want to know more. Fantastic! On top of this, I actually ENJOYED the conversation! A really warm and friendly producer.
2nd Pitch: I pitched more as a flavour of what I write, as I was pitching tv to a film producer, somewhat unfortunately. Yes, I could have pitched a film, but as I'm looking for a producer to create a new project with, I chanced my pitch. The Pitchee was lovely, but not interested, but tried to be helpful which was nice.
3rd Pitch: Same deal as my 2nd i.e. Film not TV, but he asked me to send some sci-fi pitches to him, which is great! Lovely guy, too.
I found it scary but great - in fact the hardest part for me was the buzz and noise in the room, and trying to remain focused above all that. But good fun, and I'd definitely do it again!
What it has taught me as a screenwriter is to write the pitch first. Then write the one-page pitch. Get all that stuff down first. And again, above all - KEEP IT SIMPLE.
The biggest success that I had was pitching an idea that even I can readily admit isn't the most original. Certainly, the script content is, but the premise? Not really. But it made for a good pitch, most likely for this very reason. I added the dash of this-and dash of that once the pitch had ended (to pepper it up), playing off the producer's responses and questions, but it did work.
So when you're writing your script, always know the logline. It will keep you on track with your project, and save you having to figure it all out long after the first or tenth draft.
And remember: Its just a conversation.