Sunday, June 21, 2009

How do I get pitch meetings?

How do you get pitch meetings once you have a reality idea that you think is sellable in the marketplace?  Its harder than ever before to sell an idea in Hollywood.  (Movies or TV) There are so many obstacles, a lot of competition and now with the recession, its even harder than ever to 'break in.'  It takes more than knowing the right people, its determination and sacrifice to create and sell a hit.  You could have all the knowledge and the skills, but if your blueprint isn't set on Hollywood Success - you could very easily FAIL.  Giving Up is not an option in my world.  It isn't enough to be in the right place at the right time - you also have to be the right person with the right idea in the right time.  

When I first started pitching my ideas in the marketplace, I didn't have someone booking my meetings and introducing me to key executives in the industry.  It was all ME!  And if you are reading this, there is a chance that you don't either.  What did I do?  I came up with my own strategy to stand out from the rest of the world trying to pitch.  

Here is what I did.  I got and still get a daily subscription to Variety.  I would read all about the reality shows that were being bought and sold in the marketplace, as well watch key executives moving from place to place.  I created my own HOT LIST of up and coming executives and production companies that I wanted to get a meeting with.  (I still have a HOT LIST) 

I would then pick up the phone and call their office, introducing myself and try and set a "meet and greet."  (This may be easier for me, because I have Producing credits and do know a good amount of people in my industry).  This can be a simple coffee meeting or a lunch meeting. What this did is it enabled me as a Producer to meet executives and find out what they were looking for in regard to Reality TV Concepts.  It also gave me a chance to introduce myself and give them my background and talk about some of the projects that I was currently developing. After my meeting, I would immediately send out a Thank-You note in the mail.  This gave me the leverage to be able to set a future meeting to pitch my ideas.   I did this with Evolution USA and now I can get a meeting there anytime if the idea is something that they are interested in. In fact we pitched there with Jose Canseco.

Since then the tables have turned, and I have a great management team as well as a great lawyer.  I have been pitching so much that I now get any meeting, with just about anyone I want in town.  Well, I take that back...Mike Darnell is a hard one to get a meeting with even if you have a big star attached (Christopher Titus).  Last year I blogged about how he cancelled 7 times, even as I was pulling into the Lot for the meeting.  

I do a lot of homework to see what is being bought and sold in the marketplace. That is one of the benefits of having a manager (and Variety subscription) to help guide you with all of the inside information.  Every three months we update our list of what the networks are looking for.  It dramatically changes. We recently pitched a big NEW network and what we found was that they loved all three of our concepts.  The next day they called and said "wait, we only love one," and the next day they called and said "scratch that - we love a nugget of what you had in that one that we decided we didn't like."  So what was a makeover show is now a reality game show.  Its crazy.  Now, we are in the process of pairing up with a game show runner who's agent is friends with my connection at Sony, and who knows where it will go from here.  I think it could be a big one.  But, then again it all goes back to "being in the right place at the right time - and being right person with the right idea in the right time."  

There are so many ways to get introduced and have an in...I've used friends of friends, networking groups, cold calling...How are you getting your meetings?  I'd love to hear all about how  your creative plan worked to get a meeting with a top executive.  Inquiring Minds want to know!

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