festival-150x99This was a post on an online forum I’m a member of.

Don’t waste your money on these PITCH FESTS! It’s a huge waste of money and time and there’s is no guaranteeing that your show or movie idea would be bought.

I tried to find out what really happened in comparison to what he thought was going to happen. They didn’t get back to me but I think their original post is most telling.

“It’s a huge waste of money and there’s no guaranteeing that your show or movie idea would be bought.”

Of course there’s no guarantee some one is going to buy your show. Paying to attend a PitchFest or any other kind of TV pitch conference isn’t like buying a toaster. It does not come with a guarantee.

But, if you attend one of these conferences and listen and seek to learn you’ll stand a better chance of selling your show in the future.

Let’s look at some very typical reasons you may not sell your show at the PitchFest:

– your show idea may not be exactly what that Development Executive or Broadcaster is specifically looking for that day.

– you may be pitching your show to the wrong Broadcaster (don’t pitch Food to a DIY network or a high-octane smash-em-up show to TLC).

– your idea may have already been done.

– it might be the end of a long day of meetings and they’re plain just tuckered out.

– you may not have developed your idea thoroughly enough for them to adequately see your idea’s vision.

AND, the number one reason your show may not be bought at a PitchFest.

– you are most likely not pitching to a person who has the power to greenlight a show.

So if you’re not going to successfully sell your show at one of these conferences what’s the point of going?

It’s important to meet the Executives and your peers.

Building relationships with the Execs BEFORE you’re ready to pitch will help you in the long run. It helps the Execs take you seriously when they’ve seen you coming out to the same events they’re at. They know you’re in it for the long haul and not out to pitch them a half-baked idea you thought of three weeks earlier.

As you build the relationships with the Execs you can find out from them what they specifically do and don’t like to see and hear in a pitch. This way you can tailor your pitch to their likes and wants. If they like the way your pitch is put together you have a better chance of them paying more attention to your show when you finally pitch to them.

It’s also important to meet your peers because as you get further along in this process you’ll see some of the same people over and over at these conferences and as you get to know them you can share notes and help each other along. And some days it’s just nice to know you’re not the only one struggling with the hardships of getting a show made.

Even if you don’t pitch your own show at the event, sit in on the pitch contests and see how other people do it and listen to the Execs feedback on these people’s pitches. Watch and listen to others success and painful failures and seek to learn from both. The info provided in these pitches can be invaluable as you build and hone your pitch.

The bottom line is if you expect to walk into a PitchFest and sell your show, you’re not going to get your money’s worth. But if you go to build relationships with Execs, your peers, and learn from seeing other people in the hotseat chances are you’re going to get some good return on your investment.

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One thought on “Pitch Fests are a Rip-off!

  • June 30, 2013 at 6:54 pm
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    I attended a pitch fest in NYC back in April. It was a success for me. My goal was to pitch to producers in the morning and agents/managers in the afternoon and get them to read my work. The ultimate goal was to build relationships. Success takes some planning, but pitch fests can be very useful in building your career. There are a few goals that you should set in advance.

    One goal being to network and meet agents and producers and shake their hands. The planning comes down to getting your pitch ready, but also pitching to the correct people. It’s important to research what the producers and agents have worked on in the past. Pitching an A-Team sequel to an indie producer will get you nowhere.

    Two is to potentially gain interest in your specific project and your body of work. If they like your idea, or the direction you are taking, the next question will be what else do you have? What you are really selling is not a specific pitch, but also yourself. So the pitch sessions are really about the complete package.

    If you manage to sell something at the pitch session, or later down the road after the follow up, people will have to work with you for several years before the project gets off the ground. Do you display the type of personality that people will want to work with?

    -CP

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