If you’re a professional screenwriter with a great idea for a movie…should you go out and pitch the idea or write it as a spec? Traditional wisdom is that you’re better off writing it. But screenwriter (and WGA Board Member) Craig Mazin thinks otherwise.
I think pitching is almost always the way to go. Admittedly, I’m a bit biased here. I like pitching. I
think I’m good at it, and I’ve had success doing it. Every original
screenplay I’ve ever written was first sold as a pitch. In fact, in ten
years of professional screenwriting, I have written a sum total of zero
…I pitch my original stories because I’m selling more than words…I’m
selling a total service. I want to be the man they can trust to
shepherd the story of the movie from the first draft to the locking of
the last reel. I want to be the writer they recognize as a partner,
with all of the rights and obligations that go along with that word. I
want to be someone who offers them a chance in a “what if?” and all of
the excitement and possibility that goes along with that, rather than
someone who gives them a “what it is”, and who then must struggle to
change my identity from “author of 120 pages I bought” to “story teller
of a movie I’m making”.
Personally, since I hate doing anything on spec, out of sheer laziness I would lean towards pitching instead…besides, I enjoy pitching.