Friday, January 28, 2011
Here is Gene Roddenberry's original 1964 pitch for a little show that he called...
More on the ongoing BRAIN EATIN' ZOMBIE BABIES project...
To increase the volume of traffic to the YouTube Channel, the collective braintrust suggests that I post more frequently and provide exclusive content - not found anywhere else.
In response to this, we've taped an interview with Alyson Court. Her voice is featured in the upcoming RESIDENT EVIL: MERCENARIES 3D video game. She plays the popular character Claire Redfield, for the uninitiated.
The interview has been divided into 4 parts: Her early years, How she got the role of Claire Redfield, All about Resident Evil and other projects (including BEZB's). The first part of the interview is now online (see above). We expect to post a new portion every week, for the next 4 weeks. Beyond that, we have several new BEZB episodes in the can - as well as some interesting vintage Behind the Scenes material from FREAKY STORIES.
If posting frequently and unique, original material is a way to draw traffic, we'll know very shortly.
Here's a PDF of the Series Bible for the Scifi BATTLESTAR GALACTICA reboot. This is not a Pitch Bible - but an early Writer's Bible. It goes into far more detail than you'd find in a Pitch document. It may have been written prior to the pitch, and been in the producers briefcase to be used as reference, or to show how much detail they plan - during the pitch.
As a fan of the show, I think it's really interesting stuff.
Thanks to Benedict Bowen for posting this!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Here is an example of a really bad pitch. The idea is quite good. A Christmas Movie!
What's not to love??? Christmas is perennial. Christmas projects nearly always make money - and more than one studio has been built on the success of a Christmas project.
This is a case where the investors were interested, but he let it slip through his fingers because of a really, really bad pitch.
FIRST OF ALL - THIS IS A PITCH TO INVESTORS - NOT A PITCH TO BROADCASTERS OR PRODUCTION STUDIOS. (There is a BIG difference to the approach.)
So where does he go wrong?
1. He doesn't know the business. Building and running a studio is a difficult and expensive proposition. His investors know that. He would have been much better off if he'd said that he was going to outsource the project to an established studio with a track record for delivering product on time and on budget. Production is no time for the vanity of building a studio. Its about creating as good a product as possible. That's what the focus should be.
2. He appears to have no contacts or background in the animation or distribution industries. These are key. You have to know what you're doing - or at least give informed answers. In a pitch situation, you have to anticipate the questions and have the answers ready. The investors' bottom line is that they want to protect their investment and see a return on it as well.
3. The title was awkward. "Deliverance" carries a connotation that is the antithesis of a Christmas story. Be on your toes. If you make a mis-step, call it "a working title", so they know you're reasonable and open to change.
IF he had a track record - I wrote _____________. I produced ______________. I directed ____________. I animated ______________. I am a graduate of XYZ Animation School. - it would have established his credibility.
IF he had demonstrated how similar projects had provided returns on their investments, that would have gone a long way toward easing the investors' concerns.
Nice hats though.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
More from the Mail Bag:
I've been asked about specific formats, type fonts and bindings + anything else you can think of.
Should you call your group of protagonists, "The Heroes", The Colleagues" or "The Friends"?
Do you need to include 13, 24 or 36 story springboards? How long should they be? Should there be a pilot film or would a script do?
It all comes down to a GREAT IDEA and a Great Pitch.
If you can snag them with something that makes them sit up and say, "WOW!" - then you've got a winner. Then the font you use, or the binding you've selected won't make a bit of difference.
In the end, its the great idea that counts.
And being in the right place at the right time with that great idea.
And being able to convince the buyers that you not only have the vision, but the skill and professionalism to deliver that Great Idea on schedule and on budget.
And being able to... What type font did you say you were using???
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I love it when I get mail. It lets me know that someone other than my Mother is reading this blog. Well, that and my Sitemeter...
Anyhow, a Reader writes...
I'm working on a medical drama. When writing the treatment (<-- probably means Pitch Bible), must I include every medical mystery that will appear in each episode, or do I just write the main story lines? The series not only focuses on the medical side, but the personal lives of the main characters too.
Good question! If it were me, I'd only give a 'taste' of the medical mysteries.
Look at "House" for example. He's based on Sherlock Holmes (speaking of mysteries).
The medical mysteries in that show are SECONDARY to the characters relationships.
Focus on the main storylines.
Wait! There's another question!!!
Should you include a pilot with your Pitch Bible?
It can go either way. If I'm writing a comedy - pitch bibles, while they can be humorous - aren't especially funny. If I want to capture the feeling of the show and give a sense of the characters' dialogue, then yes - I'd include a pilot script.
Pilot films can be tricky. They're done (by necessity) on a low budget and despite all the 'explaining' that you'd do for the buyers - a surprising number people might not get your idea.
I've had pilot films work both ways for me. In one case, it absolutely sold the show. In the other case, it shut the project down dead.
Hope this helps!
Friday, January 14, 2011
While speaking with a friend recently, he mentioned that he was planning to move forward with his project "sometime in the Spring". That's good. His project is finally moving forward (he's writing a book).
Then he said that he'd get started after he did his Taxes. I scratched my head. Taxes? It's January. You don't have to file until April. What's the wait? Why not get started now?
He gave me 10 good reasons why he should wait. And you know what? Every one of his reasons for not moving forward with his 'dream project' was a good reason. And you know what else?
Because after Tax season, he'll put it off until he finds some time in the Summer. Then human nature being what it is, he'll put it off until the Fall (because everyone's busy in the Summer and why be stuck inside writing when he can be enjoying himself outside) - and then Fall is also busy, so he'll put it off until after the holidays - - - and a year later, we're back where we started.
The bottom line - He will never finish or even start his dream project. And that's his choice.
The people who get things done (in this, or in any business) are the people who look at the calendar and ask themselves, "Where would I like to be in 5 years time?"
Do I want to change my life?
Do I want to see what's over that next hill?
Once, a long time ago - I was watching some crappy cartoon on TV. I thought to myself, "I can do better than that." So I got up out of my chair. And my life has been so much better because I did.
Monday, January 10, 2011
I haven't been pitching much recently, mostly because of the number of Pitch Bibles that I've been writing for other people. But I did pitch a show last week and I'd like to share with you, what I did - and how it went.
What's the show about? Secret Stuff. I can't tell ya. So don't ask.
I started by contacting the studio's Executive Producer. It's not hard to figure out "Who's Who" in any particular organization. We spoke on the phone - and I confirmed what they were looking for: This particular company wanted action/adventure/comedy for Boys aged 8 to 12.
BINGO! That's the target audience for the show I wanted to pitch. (Every company is different - what works for one, will be wrong for another.)
We set up the appointment. I arrived at their studio 10 minutes before the meeting and checked in with reception. (Never be late! They can be late. YOU can't.)
The pitch started with the usual small talk. Then we segued into the business. I worked from the Two-Pager (which in this case was One Page). I pitched the concept. BINGO! They got it right away. The Pitch Bible itself - while 'leafed through' during the meeting, really wasn't needed. They got the idea from the single-page presentation document. The Pitch Bible became a "leave behind".
(I left 3 bound hard-copies of the pitch and an electronic copy on CD. They have offices in multiple cities and would need to transmit the pitch to various locations for consideration.)
They have nothing like my show. As far as they know, there's nothing like my show on the market. Its something very rare in this day and age - a totally original concept. And it is a perfect fit for their demographic. From there on, the meeting was about potential broadcast markets.
This is as good as a Pitch Meeting gets. Will it become a Development Deal? Time will tell and some things move slowly. But it was a good meeting: I pitched a show - they "got" the idea. It doesn't get any better than that!
To summarize - When I made the appointment, I confirmed that I had the kind of show that they were looking for.
The pitch was concise. They got the idea of what I was selling, as soon as I started to pitch it.
The pitch material was well prepared: Well written (and spellchecked) with art and graphic design. Also - printed on presentation-grade paper and bound. As well, I brought an electronic copy (PDF) with me for easy duplication and transmission between offices.
Bottom Line: When you're pitching, you're competing with the 'big boys' so you have to be on your game.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Happy New Year everyone! Yeah, yeah - I know I'm late. That said...
Let's start 2011 off with a BANG!
Collected here are links to The Very BEST of The Pitch Bible Blog.
No searching - it's all right here!
NEW!!! (I just want to add one note: You generally get one shot at pitching a project to a broadcaster. If they pass - its over. Got it? You get one try at it. While there is a lot of good info posted below - if you're really set on pitching your Million Dollar Idea, it might be worth your while to hire a Pro - someone who knows what they're doing when it comes to pitches.)
Everyone owns a hammer, pliers and a drill, right? But who among us does his own dentistry?
TOPICS - In No Particular Order
- The 21 Things a Broadcaster Looks For In Your Pitch
- Dressing for Success
- Pilot Reels - Promising too Much? I like this post, because one of our readers challenged my ideas, forcing me to reconsider my position. Interesting stuff. Live and learn.
- Words of Wisdom From Chuck Lorre - This is ESSENTIAL READING.
- Chuck Lorre is God. So pay attention.
- What The Broadcaster Expects From Your Pitch
- MORE - What Are They Looking For?
- Trademark and Domain Names
- Guerrilla Marketing 101
- Submission Release Forms a.k.a. By Popular Request
Happy Reading - More To Come