1. Know what your buyer is producing..
Be familiar with their product.. Do not pitch coming-of-age stories to action producers and vice versa unless you have information that they are specifically looking for the sort of thing you are pitching.
2. When the buyer talks – LISTEN..
Nothing makes a buyer crazier as when someone pitches him exactly what he says he is NOT looking for.
3. Rehearse your pitch..
Never try and ad lib it. At the same time try not to over rehearse. Just get familiar enough with the story so you won’t get stopped by nervousness or an unexpected interruption.
4. Be professional..
If you are pitching as a producer then you should look like a viable producer. Dress like it. If you are a writer you want to look “creative” but not like a flake.
5. Never lie about your project..
(especially about “attached” stars or “owning the rights.”) If you know the project, book, script, etc. is available, then be honest with the executive that you haven’t purchased it yet. Also, if you’re pitching to more than one place, let them know where.
6. Be brief..
Tell the concept. Then the characters. And finally the story. When you rehearse, boil your story down to 20-30 minutes. Any longer and people start checking their watches. Don’t over sell. If they ain’t got it they ain’t gonna get it. Keep one eye on the clock. It’s fun to hang around and schmooze but you may be missing subtle banishment signals.
7. If you get criticism be strong, yet flexible..
If they pass in the room, BAIL. Abandon the pitch. Take it like a grown-up. Hopefully, you’ll pitch them again. This is the start of a relationship, not the only idea you’ll ever have. You want to leave them with the impression you are a professional.
8. Try to pitch only in formal meetings..
Buyers dread having people come up to them outside the office to pitch them stuff. You can approach a buyer, but to set up a meeting, not to sell him something on a basketball court or at a restaurant. Restaurants are for eating and socializing. Schmoozing is terrific, then when you go into the room you’re dealing with a friend, not a stranger.
9. Try and have a good time..
A buyer is not only evaluating your idea he’s buying your passion and enthusiasm.