At the Screenwriters' Festival 2008, Martin John Gunn and David Shields (see above) won the Pitch In Time competition with their OAPower pitch, delivered extremely well onstage by Gunn alone - it's basically about old age pensioner superheroes. If I'm honest, it proved that a dodgy title is clearly no obstacle if you have a good, well-communicated idea, which is good to know. Here are the triumphant duo again below, receiving expertly post-pitch feedback from agent and TwelvePoint editor Julian Friedmann, after the event, along with Second Place winner Simon Sayce (Third Place went to Elena Fuller):
The event was a fun centrepiece of one evening's entertainment, although it was interesting to note how tiring it was to listen to pitches - possibly because you're straining to build a mental picture of someone else's idea, purely based on words which are coming out of their mouth. Obviously, the Festival itself is a gloriously draining ride, so that should be taken into account, but it's probably important to make the pitchee's job as easy as possible, so that their brain doesn't turn to mush.
With that in mind, I thought that prospective entrants to 2009's Son Of The Pitch might want to see a few of the questions and comments which the panel of judges, including Tony Jordan, uttered after each of the finalists' basic two-minute pitch. These are, of course, useful for screenwriters to consider, full-stop:
- Why does X happen?
- Why does X do that?
- What's the format - how long is it?
- Who'd be your ideal casting?
- What sort of genre is this?
- There seem to be two main characters - whose story is this?
- Who/what are we rooting for?
- You need to think about where he starts his journey, in order to set-up where it ends.
- Why is it specifically them that have to stop his dastardly plans?
- What kind of audience do you see it aimed at?
- What timeslot is this?
- What's at stake in the story?