The Craft: How and Why a Pitch Works
Posted: Nov 14, 2016 Hosted By: Max Timm
Unique and fresh. Let's dig in to why those two words are so important where a pitch is concerned. First, you all know what a logline is, yeah? I assume so, but if you don't, you're in the right place. A logline is basically a written form of a pitch. It's a way for a producer to read a short and quick version of your project's summary within one sentence. When I'm reaching out to producers on behalf of the writers in our Development Program, for example, I'm sending along loglines for those producers to consider. They read through a bunch of them, decide on whether or not any of them spark interest, and then they request the script. All based on the logline. So in a lot of ways, your foot in the door is the logline, or in other words, your pitch. You can see why I'm spending so much time building this episode up and hitting all of the conceptual points first. I can't stress enough how important it is for you to be able to nail a pitch, and by "nail" I mean, prove to whomever is listening that you know how to tell a story. Maybe we can start there, really. A story.
What is a story, really? Have you ever really tried to define what a story is? To actually sit down and come up with your own definition? We all assume we understand what that word means, "story", but have we really given it much thought? I'll break it down for you, and hopefully you can get a better sense of it too. It starts with purpose. What's the purpose of a story? Ultimately, it's to entertain in some way, shape, or form. I could dive in to the meaning of the word "entertain" too, but let's not go off on too much of a tangent here. A story is also a way to inform. Here is information I have to share, let's share it with others. We, as screenwriters though, are not journalists delivering a non-biased relay of information or news. We're not simply telling someone that something happened. That's just information. Information turns into entertainment when it is told as a story. So... story is both information and entertainment. Fine. Basic. Your eyes are probably glazing over as I speak and wondering when they hell I'm going to just get on with it. Here we go...