In the past few months I have had a number of people come to me with scripts that they would like produced. This comes with the territory, but recently I have had a number of writers who have pitched a show to me in ways that are just wrong and I'm certain I am not alone in my feelings about this. So for all the playwrights, screenwriters, TV writers, ect. Here is my list of five things NOT to say when pitching your project.
1. Outside the box- Unfortunately, about 10 years back, (maybe more) this became an awful cliche' and one that consistently causes my interest in a project to drop. This has turned into one of those phrases that everyone uses and no one seems to have a handle on what it means. If you describe your script as outside the box, it's more likely to end up Inside the circular file.
2. It's the next....- Nope. It isn't. Whatever you are about to compare it to, it isn't. Every show is going to have a different path and the team behind it will decide what it will become. Don't try to be the next anything. Be the first. It's much cooler and the producer reading the script will be less tempted to say NEXT!
3. It's like ___________ but way better/more intense/etc.- Seriously? What if my best friend wrote ___________ which you just slammed? Writers, never slam anyone else's work to promote your own. Save that for the insecure bullies in the schoolyard. If you've written something great, let it speak for itself. Do not pass judgement on someone else's work because you never know who knows who. No one likes a bully.
4. This will make so much money- Great! Then put it up somewhere and go make millions. What do you need a producer for? Producers work on shows everyday that have a long road to travel before they make money if they ever do. If you tell me a show will make money, I'm already skeptical. How do you know this? Who paid to see it? How many times? Many folks may think that producers will jump at this statement, but we're actually more likely to jump ship.
5. It's really easy to produce!- What? I have seen 15 person musicals that were a cake walk compared to producing a one man show. There is nothing easy about producing no matter how many characters, set changes, costumes etc. you have. There will still be a lot of work that will go into making that show happen so I am sorry, but it will not be easy to produce regardless of what you say and if it were easy, you wouldn't need me.
So what Should you do when pitching your script to a producer?
Tell us why you wrote it.
Tell us what you want the world to know.
Tell us what's exciting about the subject matter.
If we're interested we'll ask more questions.
You won't even need to pitch at all.
Want to practice pitching to some Broadway Producers? I'll be at this event on Sunday.
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