Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pitch Night - Totally Anti-Climactic!

OH. MY. GOD. What a panic. So, here's how it worked... in a private back room of the Southern Cross (bar and restuarant) three tables were set up in a semi-circle at one end of the room, with the Pitchees sitting at each one. At the other end of the room were all the pitchers. Chatting nervously, trying to remain calm. Or maybe that was just me. I had downed a half a bottle of rescue remedy on the way, which actually did help. I could feel my insides trying to panic, but were just not able to muster enough energy. The rules were given... each pitch got three minutes. Then you switched. The three minutes would be strictly enforced. And the first up were two names I didn't know, and me. Oh shit! Which is actually what slipped out for all to hear. Ops. But come on! I'd never done this before, and was hoping that I could watch at least one round so I could better prepare myself! No such luck. Evil people prepared that list. I quickly took off my coat, and tried to gather my visual aids, but that apparetnly was eating into my first 3 minutes. I sat down, and managed to get out my TV series pitch notes, and luckily for me, the guy I was pitching to (which was a last minute replacement that I had no idea who he was!) was really nice!! I somehow got through my pitch. Sean, the stopwatch keeper announced 30 seconds remaining, which was great, and I hurried up the last bit of my pitch, to get it all out just in time. The lovely man asked me a hurried question, I gave a hurried reply, and then I stuffed all my visual aids into my bag and moved onto my right - which bloody way was right? I saw the only desk left available and figured that was it.) The Film guy. He'd done a lot of films, and I was nervous as hell to pitch my script to him. I told him I loved "River Queen" and he rolled his eyes, saying that was a whole other conversation. HAHA! Right. Pressing on, I had a logline typed out on a card to give him at the end of my pitch, but without thinking, I shoved it in his face, and he was forced to read it! Nice start to a "pitch". Make him read something. DOH! I found my pitch notes, and was off to a bumpy start, but managed to get it all in. Poor guy. I'm sure he felt like he was watching a huricane. I don't know if I even made sense. He seemed to nod a few times, so I'm guessing I might have. Then ops! 30 seconds, and I hadn't come to the end of my story... I rushed along, and blurted out the end, before time was out. I offered for him to keep the card, which somehow I felt was presumptuous, but he kept it anyway, and I was off to the next table, back to my TV series. At this point, I'm thinking this is stupidly funny. It all felt quite riduculous actually. I greeted the last group with a cheeky grin. I pulled out my TV series props and notes. I was off and running again. I got through the pitch, and they were both lovely. Smiling and nodding. The lady asked me a good question. I left them a post card with my info and a brief blurb about the show. AND I WAS DONE. 9 minutes. Here's your coat, what's your hurry? Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. I had forgotten to give the first TV guy his post card. I didn't even get to give them the whole package I'd carefully prepared. In a nice plastic folder. They were still sitting in my briefcase, untouched. I had no idea what just happened. I felt the need to run away. Which I did. All I could think about was a much deserved glass of wine. As I was driving away, it occured to me, I'd just let a bar! I could have gotten a drink, and then gone back in and watched how other people pitched! What an idiot!! But by then, I was half way home, and it felt just too silly to turn around. Crap! I was spent. I felt somehow ripped off. I'd prepared hard for this night for a week. And it was over all said and done in a half an hour. Litereally. I checked. I felt like it was a blind date gone bad. And I had to find the door myself, without even a kiss good night. I have no idea if my pitches were good or if they stank. I guess if I hear nothing from any of them, then I have my answer. But that's like sitting by the phone waiting to see if the bad date calls me. I'll take it as the learning experience it was, and move on. Well, like my friend Charlotte said, it helped me hone my story down to one page. Now if anyone asks me what my story is about, I can quickly tell them with confidence. And she's right. I also got a good logline out of it. That will serve me well. Will I do another pitch night? Like a glutton for punishment, damn straight I will.


  1. Funny story, real glad I didn't go.

  2. Ah, where's your masochistic spirit? ;) I'm looking forward to the next Wellington Writer's Group... maybe see you at that much more human event?

  3. Hi Lyse,

    This is a great honest review of the event... Thank you for it. I can relate very much!

    Next time, we should have a debriefing/support group for the writers who are pitching. Everyone who pitches should by rights have a drink waiting for them at the end...

    At the end of the rounds, Sandy Gildea from SPADA (the producers association) spoke and recognised exactly how hard the pitching process is and thanked the writers who pitched for putting themselves on the line.

    And then all the producers said thanks and supported Sandy's comments. One of them said that he thought all the pitches were good.

    So hope you can take some comfort from that!

    Hope to see you on Tuesday...

    Cheers, Sean

  4. Ah... a drink waiting at the end... the shiny reward at the end of an ordeal. Wicked. I would pay an entrance fee for the promise of that. And while I'm at it... can I say that newbies shouldn't be made to go first. That's just mean. haha!!

    I really am so bummed at myself that I bolted. Instinct took over. But I learned a lot from my first time, and I have had a good chuckle over it all today. Next time, I'll stick around for sure, as I would have loved to hear Sandy and the producers encouragement at the end. My bad.

    As a side note... Sean there was a lot of comfort for me in the fact that you were the stop watch keeper. And your 30 sec warnings were a slice of kindness that was much appreciated at that time.

    Tuesday. Yes, cool! I didn't see a post on the NZWG for info on the next meeting. Where and when? Same place and time? :)


  5. Indeed, same place and time. I'll be putting out an email and notice tomorrow about it...

    Cheers, Sean

  6. As somebody else who pitched you pretty much summed it up. And i did the same thing same place two years ago.

    People say that when you run a marathon you learn so much about yourself. Why put yourself through a marathon when you can pitch for three minutes.


  7. I shudder to think of what I learned about myself that night. Maybe that I'm long winded! Doh!

  8. you have run the gauntlet and blogged about it.

    well done.