The Ten Commandments Of Pitching In Hollywood

When Moses the screenwriter hiked up Runyon Canyon he received a screenplay with ten commandments inside….

The Ten Commandments Of Pitching

Here are ten commandments for pitching success (pls read in big, booming voice):

1. Thou shalt prepare for the five stages of the meeting.

If you do not know what the five stages are, you will acquaint yourself here.

2. Thou shalt not talk about who has been attached, was considering, or has been interested in the project.

This is equivalent to saying, “Here is a list of people who have already passed.”

3. Thou shalt not “get down to business.”

You will take the time to make small-talk and get to know the decision-maker first.

4. Thou shalt not “wing” your pitch.

You will consider preparation techniques such as writing your pitch out by hand, pitching on video and then watching your performance, and taking a practice meeting with a friend.

5. Thou shalt lead with genre.

Specifically, the first few words of your pitch will be something like, “My story is a (GENRE)….”

6. Thou shalt refer to a maximum of three characters by name.

If other characters need to be mentioned, do so by how they relate to the main characters, e.g., Karin’s best friend, Ryan’s evil twin.

7. Thou shalt write down the names of the decision-makers you meet.

Don’t suffer the fate of, “I had a great meeting, but I can’t remember his or her name….”

8. Thou shalt prepare for likely questions.

Use your Answerbank to prepare answers for the most common questions in advance.

9. Thou shalt not argue the point.

If you get a note you don’t like from a decision-maker in an initial meeting, don’t argue. Instead, just say, “Thanks, let me think about that.”

10. Thou shalt adapt to patterns of feedback.

You will consider all of the notes you are receiving, look for patterns, and discover ways to improve your pitch, your project, or both.

Any other commandments that should be added to this list? 

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Discussion About The Ten Commandments Of Pitching In Hollywood

  1. JC Mercer Jr.

    I enjoyed this blog. I always enjoy your knowledgeable coaching. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lisa Potocar

    Your timing of this post is perfect, Stephanie, since I’m preparing to pitch the storyline of my historical novel to the film industry. I’ve got #5 licked as the very first thing I state in the presentation I’ve given numerous times over the past year about “women who disguised themselves as soldiers to fight in the American Civil War” is the genre of my story.

    Question to do with your #2: Is there ever an instance in which a film producer to whom you’re currently pitching asks you if you’ve pitched your project elsewhere and the outcome of it? How would you handle answering this, whether your pitch has been declined or perhaps is under consideration elsewhere?

    • Justin W. Hedges

      I wouldn’t call that a genre, exactly. I would go with “My story is a Civil-War-era period piece about…” then hit your ‘women dressed as men’ description. Food for thought.

  3. Farhan

    How about thou shall turn up on time (if not early) and thou shall turn off thine mobile phone? Elementary as it is but some people don’t do/know this.

  4. Algis Kemezys

    Good Points. Some of them surprising.

  5. Julie

    Maybe for #4 I would add “Thou shalt hire Stephanie first.”

  6. Justin W. Hedges

    Thou shalt know the difference between a ‘log line’ and a ‘slug line.’ Seriously.

    • Derek

      Yes. Exactly. Lol. Who uses slug lines anymore?

      • Justin W. Hedges

        Derek, I meant to say ‘tag’ lines. That’s what I get for multitasking. smh

  7. Cyril Eziamaka


    Yes, Stephanie,you are right, this is gospel truth.



  8. Fernando

    My favorite ones are No. 4, 5, and 7

    Great post, as usual!

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