There are common mistakes writers make when pitching their material in a live-pitch session. They should be avoided at all costs.

1. Not Practicing. The first mistake is not practicing your pitch and expecting to be able to wing it when you’re in the actual anxiety provoking situation. Practice at home with a tape recorder and ask friends or family for honest feedback.

2. Memorizing your pitch. If you memorize your pitch and forget a few words, you’ll look foolish. Use what I refer to as “rehearsed spontaneity,” which makes your pitch seem natural and smooth.

3. Giving the wrong genre. Another critical mistake is telling your listener the wrong genre for your story. That indicates you don’t know what you’re talking about and you’ll lose all credibility from that point on.

4. Being too detailed. Pitch your story by telling what happens in your story, rather than what your story is about, is an error. There’s nothing worse than listening to an excruciatingly boring unfolding of what your plot is about. Your logline is the premise or setup of your story, not a summary of what happens in Acts 1, 2 and 3.

5. Not having answers. Finally, not being able to answer questions about your material, such as character development, making suggested
changes that would improve the story, etc., is a big no no.

Be prepared and your pitch is more likely to be a success.

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Read Steve on Screenwriting by Steve Kaire the first Thursday of the month on Write On! Online. Kaire is a screenwriter/pitchman who’s sold eight projects to the major studios on spec without representation. For more from Steve Kaire, check out his CD: “High Concept-How to Create, Pitch & Sell to Hollywood and website: High Concept Screenwriting.

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