Monday, August 4, 2008

Pitching Day 1 - Just talk

I want to spend several days this week discussing the concept of pitching. We'll see how long this takes but after listening to pitches this weekend, I think it is imporant.

When writers attend sessions on pitch writing, they are often told to make sure to memorize your pitch. You need to know it perfectly so you can get all of the information out in that short period of time. This is true, however, there is a catch that people just don't get. You can't sound memorized.

Sitting there in front of an editor or agent and just repeating this pitch in a lifeless tone sends the wrong message. It tells them that you simply don't know your own story.

The purpose for memorizing all of this information - the high concept, the conflict and so forth - is to make sure you can use the bits of information when you are talking about the story.

As many of you know, I challenged people to meet me in the hallway and pitch to me. The funny part was how it happened when the few (and don't get me started on that one) pitched. We would be standing in line and having a great chat. When the idea of the pitch finally surfaced, sometimes due to me asking or more often their CP telling them they should talk, the writers would turn to me, glaze over, and launch into the memorized spiel. The personality and life they had just seconds before was gone.

Now, not everyone does this. Some people just know the story and tell me about it. Guess what, those people did much better. I heard someone this weekend and she pitched not one but two stories to me. Her pitch was flawless. Great eye contact, talked naturally, she knew her story. It was great. Here's the thing, she got a request for not one but for both stories. And I requested fulls. I am so excited about this, I talked to other editors and agents about the story and they fully agree on this one.

So if you are reading this, I've already begun marketing it... Don't forget to send the stories.

Look, you have been working on this story for some time. Just tell us about it.

Tomorrow... what to include or not to include.

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