During my Storywise TV Spec and Pilot Teleseminar on Monday night, Glen Mazzara, showrunner on the WALKING DEAD, joined us to critique pitches. This is what he had to say;

  • Make sure to pitch versus read your pitch. I think that in this circumstance, it was very natural to read it but they say when you go in a room that you should have it memorized. I think he had an EXCELLENT tip of being able to visualize and the fact that it is call “showbiz.”
  • Lead with a description of your central character in the story. I do love what Glen said with regards to leading with your character in action in the story because this will sell you project. So, it’s almost like you would be starting with a brief of your A story with your character in action. I actually think that a well-written log line will do the same thing.
  • In listening to the pitches last night, I realized that the thing about the log line is that it has to be strong. A log line can reveal and often does reveal the weakness in your story. So, make sure that your log line embodies the hook and shines a light on your central character in action. Also, you may not want to say here is my log line. You might just say something like, “Let me tell you about the A story” and give your log line.
  • Do not lead with the world. You want to have a sense from the beginning of how your central character interacts in that world.
  • Do not mention your nerves. Own your spot in the room. Know that they need to hear your story.
  • Pause. Take the time to pause. Then, give them a personal piece about your character that is unexpected.
  • Remember that this is a VISUAL language. Tell a story and focus on the actors and the drama. What are the characters doing? Who are the characters?
  • Keep your pitch simple, clean, visceral. Get your audience engaged right away.