Thursday, February 13, 2014

The 10 Pitch Bible Commandments

Hello Animated People!

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....

Thou shalt:

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!


Cheers,
 
Lisa

Thursday, April 4, 2013

On Edge

Hello Animated People, I am pleased to announce that through Edge Studio, we have a new Pitch Bible Studies class happening that will be in session until May 14th. Edge Studio is a fabulous place for voice actors learn voice acting and the business end of it all too. Many of their students do voice acting for animated shows so why not learn how to create your own series. So I was brought in to do that. Stay tuned, more posts to follow! Cheers, Lisa

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Broad Strokes

Hello Animated People!

The nature of the beast for writing pitch books is to present your show (characters and their world) using the broad strokes. Save all the wonderful details and gems you create for writing the episodes. Well, using a select few for the bible is okay. You just don't want your reader to get lost in too much explanation and detail now. You want to hook them in so they want more!

It's not easy to capture the essence of your characters and their world in a fun and concise way so that anyone who reads your bible gets your show as easily and clearly as you do. Remember, it is rare that you pitch to the person who has the power to green-light! You must make their job as easy as possible when they have to pitch your show to their bosses or partners to sell it.

If you can't describe your show in a few words then you don't know your show!

In class, I help students with the issues they're wrestling with on their shows and we all learn from each other.

Cheers,

Lisa

Monday, February 21, 2011

Featured Student

Hi, Animated People,

I will often feature the work of past students now on this blog who have taken this class.  Meet Tyler Heckman, a former student from SVA, and this is his animated short that he created for his senior thesis.  Enjoy the viewing at:  http://vimeo.com/11674931

The animated series that Tyler created for class was called "Village Bigfoot" about a brother and sister team who get lost on a camping trip and wind up in the town inhabited by bigfoot and think they are stuck there forever!

I'll be posting student's websites and blogs soon as well so this can be a great way for class alum to be connected to each other.  So stay tuned.

Big cheers,

Lisa

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's your line on a log line?

Hi, Animated People,

In class last night, we were going over log lines and an interesting point came up about the two types of log lines.  There's a log line that summarizes your television series in a sentence or two.  Then there's the log line that describes your show by making a comparison using two existing shows.  You've heard these before "It's Rugrats meets Batman"

I always ask development execs about which log line they prefer.  Most don't like the one that compares two shows but some do.  I don't like it either but my reason is this:  what if the development exec or producer you're pitching to hates one of the shows you're using in your log line?  You're dead-man talking. 

The problem really is this, you have no idea what the association is that the person you're pitching to will make with the shows you're comparing or using in your log line. If they don't like it, you're done.  Even if they do like them, you still don't know if what you wanted to get across is what is going on their head. Too much guess work for me, the process is hard enough to begin with. 

Try to hit that bull's eye.  I think the most successful log line is the one that summarizes your show in one or two sentences in your own words.  It should capture the energy, the fun, the irreverence or the whatever of what your show is -- comedy, mystery, adventure, etc.  

It should be the hook to make someone want to know more about your show.  This is not easy to do by any means, but worth the time and energy it takes to do it.  You don't want any negative connotation attached to your show that doesn't belong to your show.  This can happen easily if you use the comparison type of log line. 

Be totally original.  It's not easy but like anything else, with practice you can get better at it, just try!  You CAN DO IT!  Send in some of your best log lines, vhy not!

Big cheers to you,

Lisa

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Class Before the Storm

Hi, Animated People!

We managed to pull off our first class between snow storms!  The group of students for this session are terrific--all illustrators, designers, or animators.  Some work in publishing - books and ebooks and others work Internet, TV and new media.  We love Frederator's new digs on West 21st Street.  So my students will be surprised by the guest speakers lined up I have lined up so stay tuned!

Cheers,

Lisa

 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pearls of Wisdom

Hi, Animated People!

This past semester was a super group who created some fantastic animated show ideas.  I hope everyone in class gets out there to pitch them now that they know how.  We had Fred Seibert speak to our group.  After sharing statistics of how many animated films Fred has had to create to land the hits on his credit list, the class was hit a bit broadside.  Why even do this?  That's what they were thinking. Then Fred in his infinite wisdom shared with the group why he keeps going..."I'm too stupid to know that I can't be successful!"  If you love what you do that's what keeps you going and hopefully the success will follow.

Our class was also fortunate to have a visit by Diana Manson from Chorion and former Silverlining Productions fame.  Di mapped out the whole process for the class.   A good point that she had is that when you are going out to sell a show you must think about "What are we asking people to do in the world's greatest recession?"  If it is to buy your show then you must do your homework and their homework.  Figure out the reasons “why” a broadcaster, producer, toy company, publisher would want your show.  What are these folks worried about?  Have the answers to their questions.  Calm their worries.  

Also, if it's your first time pitching - practice pitching your show clearly, concisely, and confidently.

Come join us in our next session.

Cheers,

Lisa