Writing Partnerships: 5 Tips To Pitching With A Partner

Writing partnerships have advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, you’ll have your combined energy and expertise. Executives love hiring teams because they think, “We’re getting two brains for the price of one.”

On the other hand, the chance that someone will say something stupid when pitching doubles.

Writing Partnerships: Rules For Pitching

Here are some tips for writing partnerships to use when pitching:

1.  Do A Run-Through

Run-through the five stages of the pitch meeting with your partner to avoid any hiccups and ensure the entire meeting runs smoothly, not just the formal pitch.

Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Do we plan on taking notes? If so, how?
  • How much “air time” does each of us need?
  • Will one of us be the leader in the room?
  • In what configuration should we sit?
  • How will we handle our introductions?
  • How about keeping to a specific schedule?
  • Is it okay to interrupt? If so, how?
  • Where might we need a transition?
  • How will we handle it if we disagree?
  • How can we support each other?
  • Who will have the “last word?”

2.  Agree On Your Goals For The Meeting

By being on the same page with your partner on what you want to accomplish with the meeting, you will avoid awkward miscommunication during the final stage of the meeting. Don’t just say, “We want them to buy this.” Be specific and have a realistic goal, e.g.:

  • If you’re meeting someone for the first time, a good goal is a second meeting.
  • Another goal that works well is to learn something personal about the buyer.

3.  Use Secret Communication Signals

It’s good to have secret signals to communicate in the meeting, like when you go to a party with your significant other and tug your earlobe or smooth your eyebrow to indicate, “I’m ready to go home.”

In a meeting, you’re unlikely to want to go home, but you may want to tell your partner something like this:

  • You’re rambling; stop talking.
  • I’m totally lost here—jump in ASAP.
  • We need to pick up the pace.

Come up with your own verbal or non-verbal signals to convey the messages you think are important and make sure to practice them with your partner. If they are not well-rehearsed you will either run into the problem of not recognizing each other’s signals or the signals being so obvious that the decision-makers pick up on them.

4.  Arrive Together And Look Like A Team

When considering a pitch from a duo, decision-makers want to know that you and your partner are in sync and organized.  If you seem out of sync, they may worry that by potentially hiring two people, they now have to deal with two personalities instead of one. By arriving together, you assuage that concern and demonstrate that you and your partner are a synchronized team that can be trusted.

Similarly, make sure you and your partner have a discussion about what you are wearing. You shouldn’t match, but if one of you arrives in a suit and the other in jeans and tennis shoes, it can give the impression that you are not on the same page.

5.  Save Disagreements For Later

Disagreements between you and your partner are injurious in the room. After the meeting, however, discussing your disagreement will often lead to greater understanding and improvements in your next pitch.

Pitching with a partner can be a challenge.  However, using the methods I’ve highlighted above will help you take advantage of the benefits, such as highlighting each other’s strengths in your pitch and being able to improvise and act out scenes together.

Do you have a writing partner?  What would you add to this list?

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Discussion About Writing Partnerships: 5 Tips To Pitching With A Partner

  1. Angelo

    Great tips! I especially like the list of questions to ask before the meeting. I went to pitch meetings at a top TV network in August and November. Each time I was with a different partner. We didn’t rehearse or have cues, but we agreed on a strategy that worked for us for intros and what should be done if we went off on a tangent. The key is is being perceptive of human nature. It is equally important to intervene when someone is in “trouble” or rambling during a pitch as it is to step aside and shut-up when your partner is “in the moment.”

  2. Naomi Bigelow

    Those are all useful, logical, and so very helpful for prepping beforehand. Since my business partner and I usually do all presenting together, this insightful list will add immensely to our confidence that we’re making the most of the interviews in whatever setting.

  3. fundmysitcom

    Great infos. Good and easy to follow. As an example on how NOT to do it watch the Seinfeld Episode (“The pitch”, Season 4, Episode 3) where Jerry and George pitch their idea of “Jerry” to the decision makers.
    But one question: How would a pitch work for international writers? Do they have to come to L.A.? Have you ever expeienced an online pitch? I read about something like that. Would be great if you could share some information on that.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I’ll have to check out the Seinfeld episode- thanks!

      I have experienced online pitches and more people are meeting (at least initially) over Skype or other videoconferencing service. I’m working on a future post about how to pitch effectively online.

      • Guadalupe

        Thanks! This is very useful.
        Can’t wait to see your post about how to pitch effectively online.