NB. PITCH ME IS NOW CLOSED
If you recall, back in November 2012 I ran Pitch Me, where I invited writers to send me their loglines for their features, TV pilots and sitcoms, according to a list of what I was and wasn’t looking for. It was an interesting script call, with over 100 writers submitting. Here’s a run down of how I found the first round.
No B2W-led script call would be complete without my announcing who made it all the way … Here’s the 5 lucky writers/teams who have made it through to a full read:
1) Dan & Nuria Wicksman, THE WEDDING SCAM (RomCom feature)
After being betrayed in love, a broken-hearted man runs a scam where he takes out cancellation insurance on his forthcoming weddings, and then each time provokes the bride to cancel before the big day. But he doesn’t count on falling in love with the female fraud investigator sent as an undercover bride to bust him.
2) Samuel Clark, THE MANUSCRIPT (Horror feature)
A blocked writer discovers an unpublished novel by Edgar Allen Poe and decides to publish it as his own. His friends and family then begin dying in ways of Poe’s famous stories. Plagued by guilt and paranoia, The Writer struggles to keep his sanity.
4) Georgina Kuna, THE HEART OF THE MATTER (TV Sitcom)
Prim proper Joy Waters takes an admin job at a small arts centre, only to find the wildly eccentric staff must pass an up-coming inspection or face closure. Unfortunately the inspector is hell bent on personal revenge against manager Bob, and determined to close them down. With Joy’s help, they frame the inspector, and end up nationally celebrated as cutting-edge creatives.
5) Phil Peel, PHOEBE LANGTRY (Period Drama, feature)
The true story of the working mother who in 1812, abandoned by her husband, became a successful businesswoman and built the only surviving working windmill in Hampshire. As a married woman, with no legal rights, she has to trade family and livelihood, honour with passion, when she falls for a younger man and her son returns from war traumatised.
Here’s why I chose them – what I call the “three Cs” of pitching:
i) Clarity. I knew exactly what these stories were. Many pitches are not clear; they don’t state their intent enough. These did.
ii) Conflict. The conflict is obvious in these pitches: the writers have gone out of their way to represent it. If the person you’re pitching to does not know what’s at stake, they don’t know why it’s a story.
iii) Characters. The characters intrigued me in these pitches. I loved the idea of an “undercover bride” in Dan and Nuria’s; plus the thought of a writer at the heart of Samuel’s appealed – throw in one of my fave writers Edgar Allen Poe and my interest is sealed. I’d never heard of Phil’s main character, but was immediately interested: she sounds like a strong woman and a Google search later and I’m hooked. I love Jobsworth characters that get their just desserts, so Georgina grabbed me with her idea of framing the inspector and Casey and Sara got me hook, line and sinker with their dystopian world where pregnancy equals a ball and chain.
But of course it wasn’t just their pitches that got my attention, but their One Page Pitches and first ten pages too. Why:
– Their pitches were clear, concise and gave me a good idea of how the script would be. Here’s 6 Tips on writing a One Pager.
– Their One Pagers “matched” the tone of their pages
– The tone of the story “matched” the genre
– They avoided cliched openers and cliches in general.
– They introduced the story and the characters hand in hand; they didn’t make me wait for the story to “start”
– Their pages were not dialogue-led
– Scene description was vivid and interesting, rather than bland or prescriptive (16 Steps To Better Scene Description)
– They stated their intent: I knew where the story was going, but it wasn’t inevitable
Now Christmas is over, I plan to get down to reading the Pitch Me Finalists’ screenplays in full (in the order here 1-5) and providing them with some feedback “off-blog”. If I find I can get behind any of them, I will try and hook them up with people I think are a good fit.
Thanks again to everyone who pitched me … Don’t despair if yours is not on this list, there will be other opportunities with me at various junctures, both here and via London Screenwriters Festival. Watch this space!
I find it fascinating that the same markers for quality come up time and again. Be it a 2 page short script or a 102 page feature.
It’s all writing I guess … What the audience wants never changes, regardless of what it is – “a good story, well told”.
Your three Cs of pitching – clarity, character and conflict – are exactly the same three Cs I urge all my graphic novel writing students instill in their scripts!
Great minds, etc…
As Gail says, it’s funny how the same things come up again and again!
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I’m confused! as a new writer I’m reading everything on your site to better understand the industry. Your “The One Page Pitch” example of a LOGLINE you say to use 25-50 words maximum. But the Sitcom logline you liked has 61 words! 63 if you count hyphenated words as two. What about the logline for Georgina Kuna’s, THE HEART OF THE MATTER, makes it better to use more words? Thanks! I really appreciate your advice and the advice on this site. You guys are a great help to us beginners!
Hi Michael, basically it comes down to this: I liked the sound of the story for Georgina’s sitcom, plus 25-50 words is the ideal, not the “absolute rules”. The reason I say 25-50 words is because it helps writers “focus in” on their story, but end of the day, the story is king. Hope this helps.
Yes it does thanks! As a newbie I’m having to cut a lot of the fat off things I’m writing for the screen. I tend to want to add details to support my vision of the story. Friends who are helping me keep making me cut back. So I was just making sure it was not a typo or something. 25-50 words makes sense to me. Thank you for being there for beginners. I am deeply grateful for your time. Michael
Hey you’re welcom, Michael. Best of luck! x