Son Of The Pitch: The Knowledge

You'll no doubt have seen, on a couple of other blogs (such as Blogsville newcomer Jez Freedman - swing by his gaff, why don'tcha?), that the Screenwriters' Festival has already set about receiving submissions for its next pitch competiiton, Son Of The Pitch. For the uninitiated, this is one of the annual event's entertainment peaks - if not for the ten finalists who have to pitch to a panel of judges live onstage, then for the hundreds of screenwriters watching, who are so relieved to not have been chosen.

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?

1 comment:

Jez Freedman said...

excellent, thoughtful and insightful - and the post isn't bad either...