Screenwriter Craig Mazin has some excellent advice on pitching. Here’s an example:
First, understand what it is that you’re pitching. You’re not pitching a script. You’re not pitching a story.
You’re pitching a movie. Don’t give me that blank
look. You’ve already done it. Ever see a movie and then have someone
ask you to describe it? That’s movie pitching.
What you want to do is achieve the same effect with the producer or exec. You want them to believe that you have already seen a great movie, and you’re just telling them about it.
Craig’s pointers also work for pitching a series. But there’s one thing he doesn’t bring up. Be flexible. Be prepared to get, and consider, the input of the person you’re pitching to. Today we pitched a series to a major production company. The exec we were pitching on got hooked on one aspect of the pitch and said, basically, how would you feel if you just went with that one aspect and tossed the rest? And, what if we added this extra element?
And you know what? It was a damn good idea. We jumped on it. And so did the exec, who is now as invested in the idea as we are and taking it to his superiors with enthusiasm. Will it go anywhere? Who knows. But it would definitely have gone nowhere with that company if we hadn’t been willing to consider other possibilities.