After the pitching frenzy that just went on at Kidscreen 2014 in snowy New York City, it reminded me that it is probably a good time to post the 10 Pitch Bible Commandments again. These go through the process from idea to pitch and are always a work in progress and here they are....
1. Have a strong stomach – risk the rejection and go for it!
2. Be ready for the muse and have something to write your ideas in (you are a creative person so this means you’ll have many – for some they’ll come in words and others, doodles and pictures. Inspiration comes from many places and most times, we’re inundated with information. Get ideas from newspapers, books, films, TV, people who inspire us or don’t, etc. Trust your creative process!
3. Create a show. What came first the character or the show? Some people are inspired by a character and create a show around it. Others are inspired by a cause or theme then create the characters for it. Sometimes you can get the TV rights for a book then do the show. Once you have the idea, know your show—everything about the world you create and the characters in it. The who and what your show is about. Does it give the world something new? Is your show an animated show or can it be done live-action?
4. Know your audience. Never write down to kids. Make sure your show is age- appropriate. If your show has curriculum, make sure that is age-appropriate too. You may need to get a curriculum specialist if you’re pitching to PBS.
5. Create a show with legs. Can your show go on for many episodes or is it a one-off? It’s not just enough to have a great character or characters, but what do they do and how long can they keep doing it? You have to be able to generate many episode ideas.
6. Know the function of a pitch bible – sell, sell, sell! It is also your leave-behind after your pitch meeting. The person you pitch to may have to sell or pitch your show to their bosses or partners so make it easy, let your pitch bible be the "Your Show 101." A pitch bible is also a great portfolio-piece. Pitching is also a way to begin building relationships. The writing of your pitch book is more promotional writing and whatever you can do visually, all the better.
7. Write a bible that captures the spirit of your show and makes it come alive! If your show is a comedy, your pitch book needs to hilarious, or if it’s a mystery, that pitch book better be a page turner. Some don’ts - Never say my character is hilarious, write a hilarious pitch bible and make your character(s) and world of your show come alive and show how they are funny. Contents: Catchy title, logline, show summary, format section, character descriptions, 5 episode summaries, rules of your world or myth or backstory (if necessary), and artwork. You may want to include “What an episode is like section.” For preschool, it’s very important to have segments that happen in each episode. Kids look forward to that and love the repetition.
8. Put other eyeballs on your pitch bible and have people tell you what they get or don’t get about your show. Then get some distance from your bible (if you can). When you jump back in hopefully, you'll be able to see it with fresher eyes so you can revise and take it to the next level.
9. Research your networks and who you should pitch your show to. Be brave and jump in. Pitching is about relationship building and selling yourself as much as it is about selling your show. Pitch your show in a conversational style – talk the person through it. Love your show and watch how your enthusiasm is contagious. Your pitch book also gives you something to do with your hands.
10. Most importantly, never give up!