A friend of mine pitched me a show idea the other day. It’s a great idea with strong talent attached. He told me he’s planning to pitch it to the Director of Development (DOD) he knows at a local production company. The problem is he hasn’t developed it past the One Sheet stage. His response to me telling him that he needs to do more work was,“Oh it’s fine. I know him.”
Having a relationship with someone in the biz does not license you to bring half-baked ideas to them. All that relationship does is give you access. Access to get a meeting when someone else might not be able to get it. Access to have them take 10 minutes out of their exceptionally busy schedule to hear your show idea.
What my friend doesn’t realize is the reason he can get a meeting with the DOD is because they know each other, and the DOD trusts that my friend is not going to waste his time.
However, if he pitches his half-baked show that is exactly what he will be doing: wasting his time. And by wasting his time he is wasting that relationship because the DOD is going to lose the faith he has in that relationship, thus losing this chance and subsequent chances to pitch to this person and production company.
If you have developed a relationship with someone in a position to help you get your show in front of the right people you must treat it with the highest regard. Don’t call them with questions you can find the answers to elsewhere. And don’t assume that they will cut you some slack on your pitch because “you’re friends”. They are already cutting you slack by taking a meeting.
Your responsibility is to have your work done so well, so thoroughly, and have so much info to back up your pitch that the DOD is thrilled that they took the time to see you.
People have good ideas for shows all the time, but it’s the work that needs to be done in between the spark of the idea and pitching the show that separates what gets made and what doesn’t.
So before you call your friend in the biz to pitch your idea make sure you haven’t taken any shortcuts in the development of your show, or your first pitch meeting with them could be your last.