Ideas are a dime a dozen but an “expressed idea” is a commodity, says Professor Peter Gordon teaches Business of Film at Full Sail University. Professor Gordon may be on to something because even ancient texts assert that everything is cyclical and rehashed. Essentially, there is nothing very special about an idea:
“what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” – Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV Version)
So, an idea is encouraging, but it’s the conceptualization and execution of that vision that rings the dinner bell for studio execs. A pitch meeting must be met with the schematics of a viable product, and this may take the form of a snappy logline, an “easy read” synopsis, a show bible, character bios, location and set sketches, and a strong vision of the show format and audience. You should research the backgrounds, the hit and misses, and “buzz” associated with the professionals to whom you pitch, as well as, the studio and their audience. This information will help guide your pitch toward the tastes and preferences of the executives, but be certain to demonstrate how your product offers an added twist or benefit to their existing line-up. You want to straddle the fence between the familiarity of what has worked for them and the promise of your fresh spin idea.
You will also want to practice a timed presentation of your pitch, as it should be no longer than ten to fifteen minutes in length. Make certain the packaging is as neat, professional, and attractive as possible, but don’t spend more time on the gloss than you spend on the substance. Also, be prepared to sell yourself, as it can be argued that marketing is 50% relationship! When you are likeable and interesting, it’s a lot easier to say yes, so prepare a short blurb about your background, your goals, and the reason that you’re so excited about your product.
Remember that the idea must be expressed in a way that demonstrates its marketability and appeal to a specific audience. A fresh, new spin on old ideas may not sound exciting, but it is, in fact, the magic that keeps tinsel-town running.