Pitching 101

Got :60 seconds?  How do you pitch your idea?  In an elevator.  In a room.  At a lunch.  What if you have ten minutes?  Or even thirty?  The art of the pitch in any business is a finely tuned craft.  But in the business of ideas it is absolutely paramount.  Knowing what to include, what not to and how to structure your pitch is what every writer labors over before they head out to meet with studio executives, producers, directors, actors and financiers.  Want to know how to get anyone to want to be in business with you?  Here are a few tips:

Start with an intriguing lead. Leading questions are often the best way to lure someone in.  “Have you ever been to an astrologer?  Do you know someone battling cancer?  Do you believe in past lives?  Have you had a bad experience with a doctor?”  Once you’ve piqued their curiosity in the subject matter, they’re more receptive to hearing the rest.

Who’s your hero?  Pull them into your hero right away.  Let them know who they should be rooting for and why.  Explain what they’re after and how they need to grow.  Flawed characters on difficult journeys that force them to grow make great stories.  

Paint the plot.  Give a clear picture of what the significant act turns are that propel your hero in directions they weren’t expecting.  There should be three.  They should build in drama and raise stakes. “Joe loves a girl.  She is kidnapped.  His best friend is behind it.  She’ll be killed at midnight if Joe doesn’t do as he’s told."

Deliver a theme.  What do you want your audience to ultimately learn from your story?  "Crime doesn’t pay?  Only the good die young? There is hope for politics in America?  God will catch you if you fall? Best to end on a message that leaves the listener understanding why the story is being told in the first place.