The Value of Pitchfests

If your script has been re-written several times and peer reviewed as many times or more, then maybe, just maybe, a pitchfest has value and opportunity with the potential for a signing or a sale.

Bear in mind that of all the approximate 60,000 spec scripts registered with the WGA in 2011 less than 150 were optioned and only a little over 40 were bought. All this is a moot point if you haven’t honed your writing and pitching skills and / or taken classes to refine them even further.=

There is tremendous industry debate as to any pitchfest’s value. The comments by some industry professionals range all the way from “How can a writer with no credits expect to sell anything to a person with no interest”, to comments by those who have made valuable industry connections and / or scheduled meetings with agents. Many people to whom the writer pitches are professional pitchfest participants. They routinely select someone to meet with later so that they will be invited back. As in any situation, there are the occasional exceptions to this experience for both parties.

A few pitchfests have classes included as a part of the registration fee for the day before the actual pitching takes place. Some have classes that are free for only registrants to attend, i.e. general classes. However, “Master’s Classes”, Speaker Consultations, Pitching, Luncheons; Gatherings with “Industry Executives” along with a book of contacts all come at a hefty lump sum or a la carte fee. Attending the “Trade Show”, before the day of “pitching to the executives”, is a good time to network with other aspiring writers and with many of the instructors that may only be there for that day.

Pitchfest vary in their format all the way from the need to purchase a series for individual companies to a general pass where you have to wait in line under the company name for your turn.

Some pitchfests provide a company info cheat sheet to help you prepare and target your 5 min. presentation (which should only be 2-3 minutes to allow time for other person to speak and ask questions). Unfortunately, it is unlikely that anyone with any buying ability will be receiving your pitch even though they may ask you to sit longer or to send in a treatment / synopsis / first ten pages / or even script.

Disclosure: I specialize in refining a writer’s first page and first ten pages. Of the over 3,300 scripts I have read and analyzed, only about a dozen qualified to make it into the consider pile. You do the percentages.

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