How Many Times Should A Screenwriter Practice A Pitch by Carole Kirschner

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Film Courage: How many pitch meetings will an executive usually have in one day? Because [as a screenwriter looking to pitch] we’re going in, we’re ten minutes early, we’ve got our best outfit on, business casual (I don’t know what we’re wearing?) but something that makes us feel comfortable, we’re ready, this is the biggest deal to us, but this person [we are pitching to] has already seen how many people beforehand?

Carole Kirschner: When I was at CBS in comedy development we would meet with people at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. So here’s a tip: get the early morning meeting. Do not get a late afternoon meeting. Especially don’t get a late afternoon meeting on Fridays. If you can get a morning meeting, that is the best way to do it.

Executives are experienced at taking meetings, they know how to do that. So if you have to get an afternoon meeting, it’s not going to sink you. But your pitch has to be great. If your pitch is great then they will come alive because they are looking for great pitches because it makes their job easier. So if you have an engaging pitch, they will come alive. If the pitch is boring in the late afternoon, it’s harder to pay attention to it.

 

“Don’t be spontaneous! It should be rehearsed. It’s a performance. It shouldn’t be memorized from within an inch of its life, that is not a good idea. You should know it backwards and forwards and sideways. Then put away the paper (although you can have notes if you want) and then make it a conversation. Do not leave it to “I’m just going to walk in and do this.”

 

Film Courage: Let’s talk about working on your pitch. Because, again we see ourselves one way, others see us another way. Are we coming up for a script for our pitch? Or is it better to be spontaneous?

Carole Kirschner: Don’t be spontaneous! It should be rehearsed. It’s a performance. It shouldn’t be memorized from within an inch of its life, that is not a good idea. You should know it backwards and forwards and sideways. Then put away the paper (although you can have notes if you want) and then make it a conversation. Do not leave it to “I’m just going to walk in and do this.” No. It’s like people in school. You want to be an overachiever. Be completely prepared. Not memorized but completely prepared.

I have a former mentee who sold a lot of pilots scripts. She never goes in [to pitch] unless she’s practiced eight times. She practices in front of people. She practices in front of a mirror. She practices and practices.

There was a writer/producer who was phenomenal named Stephen Cannell.  He was the most prolific television producer and creator in the business. He was always practicing his pitch. I knew his daughter and she said “You know, we couldn’t go to the store without him pitching.” If he was walking down the hallway in his building, he would buttonhole you and tell you the pitch and ask for feedback.

Practice, practice, practice.

 

 

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COLD NIGHTS HOT SALSA takes you inside the international dance world of Victor and Katia, aspiring young salsa dancers from Montreal, who seek to win a World Salsa Championship.

During their three-year quest Victor and Katia draw upon the talents of Eddie Torres, Tito & Tamara, Billy Fajardo, and Katie Marlow. Central figures in the salsa dance world, these mentors put their passion and professional dance skills before you and reveal what it takes to perform and compete at the highest level.

Victor and Katia’s story is a love story. It’s the story of their love to dance and of how being a couple enhances and also complicates their life together and dance ambitions.
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