There's a simple yet major mistake that many writers make when they pitch their scripts, and it immediately brands them as amateur. It's a simple mistake, and simple to rectify, though it may take some deep thought and a careful review of your script.
They miss out the end. I don't mean the end of the movie (or TV drama). I mean the end of the pitch.
Finding the end of your pitch
This may seem peverse, as most pitches are far too long. I'm not saying you need to make your pitch longer. Far from it. It still needs to be one sentence - two at the most. But it needs the hook that comes at the end.
Take this pitch: It's an action-SciFi story about a wimpish young woman, who has to escape from an indesctructible homicidal robot to save the future of the human race. (The Terminator)
Or this: It's a comedy about an actor, who's so bolshie that the only way he can get a job is disguised as a woman. (Tootsie)
Both of these pitches are good... as far as they go. But there's something missing.
A pitch with a twist
A professional pitch for cinema or TV has a twist. A little hook that completes the pitch by telling you about the character journey. And ideally does it with a pinch of irony.
The irony of The Terminator is Sarah Connor's character arc - from wimp to heroine. So much so that she becomes able to kill the killing machine.
So, the pitch with the twist becomes: It's an action-SciFi story about a wimpish young woman, who has to escape from an indesctructible homicidal robot to save the future of the human race, by becoming a killing machine herself.
The irony in Tootsie is expressed in a line near the end of the movie, which would fit perfectly into the pitch: It's a comedy about an actor, who's so bolshie that the only way he can get a job is disguised as a woman - and finds he's a better man as a woman than he ever was as a man.
Look at your pitches. Do they have that twist that hooks people in and makes them want to know more?
If you like this post, you can find more on pitching on my screenwriting blog.
And at Euroscript, I run a masterclass on selling and pitching scripts, where you can learn more pitching tricks, and take part in two packed days of information on how to sell your TV and cinema script, with pitching practice and individual feedback.
THE ONLY PLACE TO TALK ABOUT THE CRAFT OF SCRIPTWRITING.