Sizzle. Pitch. Execute: The Importance of Being Prepared
“Do you have a sizzle reel?” The VP of Program Development asked us.
“Why, yes. Yes we do,” I happily answered.
I said this as we sat in the conference room during a TV pitch meeting with a major cable network on Thursday. I knew we had a sizzle reel because both my pitching/producing partner and I had our Mac tools with us. He had a Macbook. I had an iPad. I had downloaded a hardcopy to my iPad, he came network-ready, prepared to tap into our host’s Internet network to view the clip online (our backup plan in the event that I stupidly dropped my iPad by some off chance).
The sizzle had gone through several incarnations and rewrites. Each time it became a little better and a little more concise. Over the past two years the fatty fluff had been cut from our sizzle reel — I know because I cut every version of it. Each time I cut a sequence I went through withdrawals, but there was job to do and we unanimously did what was necessary.
It’s important to be prepared on all fronts when you enter a pitch meeting. It seems like common sense, no? But I’ve gone into meetings with folks who weren’t prepared to answer questions, who had no strategy. They assume all they are required to do is talk, talk, talk and sell, sell sell. Not so.
Pitching film and television is a process of engagement. As the creator/producer you job is to have the tools and words to convince the development executive to come to feel about your project the same way you feel; to love it like you love it. And that includes every aspect of the show, the characters, the premise, the theme, and the format.
We came with the sizzle. We were pitch-ready. And we executed our plan.