The strange process by which the writer attempts to sell his idea for a script or show to a studio and/or network. It calls for the writer to put on the unlikely guise of the salesman. Some are good at it. Some are not. Some actually like doing it. Some would rather go through root canal. Here’s the thing – the kind of person who can talk about an idea and the kind of person that can actually write it are seldom the same. A writer is often an introvert. To force him to play the role of the song-and-dance pitch-meister goes against his very nature.
Sometimes you are so bursting with ideas that you can’t help but pitch it well. Other times… not so much.
But every writer I know has war stories about pitching to share.
A friend of mine tells a story about meeting with a feature film producer – he had made some big hits in his day but he was getting older when my friend met with him. Without any kind of warning – DURING the pitch, there came a knock on the door and a male nurse entered and began taking the guy’s blood – drawing blood for tests AS my friend was pitching. The symbolism was not missed.
I remember pitching to a rather high strung executive who kept running to the window every few minutes, hoping to witness a car accident in the street below. Very odd.
A good pal tells story, “a friend once went in to the new head of comedy for a major network, who was the proverbial ‘fetus in Armani.”’He pitched a sitcom that would be edgy and fast, with ‘the anarchic spirit of the Marx Brothers.’ I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. It’s worse. The exec said, ‘The Marx Brothers. Yeah, yeah, those are the three guys who are always slapping each other, right?’”
Another friend relates a tale of meeting with an executive about possibly being head writer for a very prestigious show. “The executive said, ‘Okay, it’s your first day as head writer on the show… What’s the first thing you do?’ and the friend replied, ‘Call in sick.’ Why he did not get the job right then and there I don’t know, because that’s a great answer.”’
A great answer indeed…