by Shore Scripts judge, Peter A. Knight
1. Wear your favorite shoes. Confession, this is the least valuable suggestion on here. Your clothing choices only help if they give you confidence and nothing will give you confidence (of the kind you actually need) more than having a great pitch. So work some more on the pitch and wear the shoes you wore to your cousin’s casual wedding. Those were nice. I honestly thought you looked great.
2. Being “in the moment” is, of course, a maddening concept. Taken literally it is worthy of the fortune cookie factory. However, I have on occasion started a pitch only to find myself walking out twenty minutes later wondering what hell happened. The time in the room somehow slipped away. I suspect in these instances I was not “in the moment.” What I do now is take a deep breath before I begin the pitch –for you that comes after the small talk where you tell about the funny thing that happened at your cousin’s wedding. I’ll even hold my deep breath just a second longer than what feels natural. That’s when I start in.
3. Try to remember that your pitch will likely be one of hundreds the executive will hear. Hundreds if not thousands. Keep that in mind when you run through your pitch one last time with a red pen. Get it lean. Convey the core with more detail than the edges. Simplify your sentences.
4. Do you struggle with self-loathing? JK, you’re a writer of course you do. But tamp it down. Summon the best credible version of yourself before you walk in the room. Remember how charming you were at your cousin’s wedding?
5. Don’t pitch anything you wouldn’t watch. We’ve reached the end of this list so now I can tell you my secret. This is the only valuable tip on this list. Oh, don’t act so surprised! One of these entries was about “being in the moment” for God’s sake. So disregard the others. But listen to this one. Writing pilots is tough. Making pilots is tougher. If you don’t love your idea at the beginning you will hate it by the end. Take your own taste seriously and pitch only what you would watch.