They came, they saw and they conquered as screenwriters across the globe gathered at the LAX Marriot for the Ink Tip Pitch Summit. It's said that it's nearly impossible to make a sale in Hollywood without an agent or manager, but for years Ink Tip has been proving the theory wrong. In this, Ink Tip's third Pitch Summit, nearly 800 writers converged for classes and pitches for over 300 producers. By the end of the first hour, two options had been accomplished and by the end of the day, nearly all the writers had at least one of their fifty or more pitches that day had at least one request for material.
Friday's sessions were instructive and helpful - teaching not only the art of screenwriting with various secrets of the trade from the gurus as John Truby, Chris Soth, Hal Croasmun, Chris Huntley, Devora Cutler Rubenstein and others, but they had a chance to practice their pitches, as well.
However, as Mr. Truby pointed out in his master class "Your pitch won't sell a script, it will only get you in the door. Only the script, itself, powerfully written, using story techniques, will cause it to sell." He instructed writers to have a tight premise -- that is one sentence that can not only capture the story but show the weakness of the hero and the potential for conflict and change. "All blockbusters have strong character changes for the hero. The reader will enter the story based on that character change - on who he is in the beginning and who he becomes at the end. The average writer doesn't chose the character with care. That means that even when they have a tight premise, they can't always translate this high concept into a readable (and sellable) script. "Figure out your characters weaknesses from the very beginning - not just the hero but the villain's too. "
Mitchell German, Sean Wander and Howard Reichman of Reel Writing led us through their 8 essential steps and showed us how very important the hero's personal goal is in developing the story and the need for subplots. Theme, which is something most writers ignore, is crucial and often shows up in the subplot. Some themes you would never guess. For instance, the theme of Die Hard is identity because of Holly not being sure who she is and who she is with. Again, they stressed the change. Who is your character when he first comes out and what is he at the end? They believe that, with a good outline, you can write a script in 90 days or less.
ScreenwritingU's Hal Croasmun gave us hope that it is possible to succeed in Hollywood without an agent. Hard, but not impossible. Again, he stressed the high concept -- what is it about your screenplay that's unique? What makes it the most interesting? He stressed that we are our own champion and we have to take charge of our career. He gave tips on how to lead with a hook when we query and gave us an idea of the life of an executive who will, because of time constraints, read only the first three -ten pages before he gives up on the script.
Coming from the spiritual side of things, Devora Cutler Rubenstein gave us faith in ourselves and our own works and helped us to understand that if you are happy, passionate and confident, the producer will respond positively. One of the premiere pitching coaches, Ms. Cutler Rubenstein, a former studio executive, gave us the instructions for our loglines. The 3 "C's" are character, challenge and change. If you have that in your pitch, people will feel the connection.
Then, prepared for battle, the screenwriters went off ready for their day in the spotlight.
Sponsors for this weekend event were Nevada Film Office, Final Draft, Showbiz Software/Media Services, Write Brothers, Screenwriting U, ReelWriting, Sizzle Pitch, and MovieGuide.
While the Pitch Summit is only twice a year (the next one being scheduled for September), you can get your material out to the producers just by listing on Ink Tip for a modest amount per script. In the past year along, there have been over 288 options from both producers and managers and 30 films made! If you have a script, it's worth checking out.
For more information go to www.inktip.com.