Pilar Alessandra discusses the key strategies of a pitch meeting for writers. There is a difference between pitching a particular project versus pitching yourself for representation. In the former case, they may purchase/option your script and hire other writers. In the latter, they are looking for a potential long term business relationship with you.
There is also a third contentious class of pitching where producers ask a select group of writers to pitch their particular take on a usually studio project.
Consider some objectives for pitching yourself for representation. Agents or managers have read your script and liked it so they called you in for a meeting. The next objective is to ensure they like you. Can they work with you? Satisfactory writers who are good to work with get more jobs than excellent writers who are difficult.
They are also looking to see what stage of your career you’re at. Are you a baby writer, mid-range or experienced? How many scripts have you written?
Agents and managers ask themselves what do particular writers bring to the table that they can sell? How do they present you as a commodity?
What particular life experiences can make you more attractive to producers? Were you serving in Iraq? Were you a White House intern? Ultimately, your success as a screenwriter depends on more than just your writing abilities.
Agents and managers will also look to define your unique selling points to the wider industry. Who are you? Are you a writer or hyphenate such as a writer/director? Do you have a specialty/ preference in terms of platform, genre, budget, or themes?
How would you define your writing style? Is it funny, playful, dark, twisted, prosaic, succinct, modern, classic?
What is your unique approach to writing? Who are similar writers and films? Potential representation need to know if they should pitch you as either a Shane Black or Charlie Kaufman. They need to know who are your peers in terms of who does similar work.
Discuss where you draw your inspiration from? What issues, themes, life experiences make you want to tell stories. What are you passionate about? Entertainment? Social justice?
What led to the development of your current project? Was it a critical life incident, a newspaper article, a play you saw or a book/ short story you wrote?
What are your career achievements? Have you won any competitions, received letters of interest from above the line talent, finance, pre-sales etc?
What are your career goals? Divide these into primary and secondary goals. Do you only want to write features, or are you interested in TV, advertising, copywriting too?
Agents will primarily seek to staff you on TV shows, win you open writing assignments or sell your script. Currently, the majority of writing jobs lie in a diminishing pool of writing assignments than script or pitch sales.
The meeting should ascertain why a certain agent is a good fit for you? Are they boutique, top ten percentary or mid size? Do your research and chose an agency that best matches your career status.
Thank them for the meeting. Follow up. Ask when a suitable time frame would be to call them back.