One of the reasons I went to the London Screenwriting Festival (LSF) was to lure a TV executive into considering my screenplay. The LSF has a dozen or so sessions when you can pitch your project, and you look at the list of who is in each session and then bid for the one containing the people you most want to meet. This means getting online at 12 noon precisely on the Saturday before the festival and picking a session before all the spaces have gone. I made it. Phew.
I’d never pitched before, and my phone pitch practice to the family-member-who-declines-to-be-named had not worked out too well, so I signed up for a Pitching workshop the morning before my session. It was run by a brilliant teacher called Pilar Alessandra. It was ace: and it led to my rewriting my logline.
Ah, I haven’t told you about the logline, have I? A logline is a sentence (or two) that encapsulates the story you are telling in your screenplay. You lead your pitch with it. So… I wrote a novel which is 300+ pages long, and is now a TV serial screenplay that is 200 pages long, and I have to boil it down into a single sentence. THAT is what drove me nuts before I went to Colorado.
Now, after revision, it is this:
A couple on the brink of retirement fight over their radically conflicting dreams of the future, until the wife’s realisation that her husband has Asperger syndrome changes everything.
There were ten execs in my session and I wanted to speak to four of them. Have you ever been speed dating? No, neither have I, but the Pitchfest sessions are apparently just like that. You have five minutes with each executive, and then the bell rings and you get up and join the queue for the next person you want to talk to.
When I walked in the room, two of the four people in my sights were not in my sights i.e. they hadn’t turned up. So I decided to have a warm up by talking to an agent who wasn’t relevant to my quest. That was good. He was nice. It felt comfortable and his ideas were interesting.
Then I moved on to someone who was not interested in the slightest in what I had to offer. Tant pis pour lui.
And then I went for the man I wanted to talk to more than anyone else. I introduced myself, told him my story was partly based on personal experience and then delivered my logline. As soon as I’d finished, he plonked his business card on the table and asked if I’d got the first episode.
“Yes! It’s here! And would you like the book as well?”
Now, all I have to do is wait.
You are all crossing your fingers, aren’t you?