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Always Be Ready to Pitch

By Michael Schilf · January 5, 2011

If the first obstacle is writing a kick-ass screenplay, then the second hurdle is getting your script read by someone who matters. The best script in the world catching dust on a shelf or filed away in a computer doesn’t really do much good to anybody.

But blind submissions don’t do the trick. The truth is that you have to know somebody. And that “somebody” knows somebody who knows somebody who knows the assistant to a producer, or agent, or manager, or whomever. This is the chain of command: friends of friends of friends. And since most of the power people are in L.A., living in Tinsletown really is an asset. You never know who you’re going to meet or where. The supermarket, the coffee shop, your child’s preschool – these are all places where you’ll run into other like-minded professionals, so you always must be ready to pitch: your screenplay and yourself.

“So what’s you’re script about,” the guy selecting a few avocados at the Farmer’s Market asks. And you better be ready to deliver an incredibly concise and memorable logline – 20 to 25 words is good. “It’s a rom-com about a Coulrophobiac who falls in love with a clown.” That one is a cool 13 words, and if you’ve done your job, the avocado guy can see the whole movie already: someone scared to death of clowns has to overcome his or her phobia to make the relationship work.

So assuming the guy likes the premise, he might ask to give it a read, and that is your first step in the chain of command. You never know who somebody knows or how your script might find it’s way.