by Michael Hauge
With the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference fast approaching, you want to be ready with a powerful short pitch of your novel or screenplay or biography. Here are the seven key elements of a great pitch, as I describe in detail in my book Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read.
- Never try to tell your whole story. You’ll get lost; you’ll run out of time; you’ll bore the agent, editor or producer; and it’s impossible anyway. Pick the KEY emotional components and succinctly reveal those: the protagonist and his or her everyday life; why we will empathize with that character; the protagonist’s VISIBLE goal; and the conflict that character must overcome to achieve it.
- Don’t hype your story. Don’t tell them how great it is, or how it will outsell Girl on a Train or Avatar. Let them draw their own conclusions.
- Don’t begin with your title or log line. Save those until the end of your pitch, to summarize the story in one sentence.
- Begin by revealing how you came up with the idea. This will access your passion for the story, help you overcome nervousness, and ease you into the key elements.
- Always mention two antecedents – recent, successful books or movies with the same genre, tone, and target market as yours.
- End the pitch with a question: Don’t tell agents or buyers how your story ends. Instead, leave them hanging with your hero facing their greatest obstacle. Than pause to take a breath and ask, “Do you have any questions about my story, or would you like me to send you a copy?”
- And if they DO have questions . . . LISTEN to exactly what they want to know about your script or manuscript, and then answer each question IN NO MORE THAN 10 SECONDS.
*** Michael Hauge is a story expert, Hollywood script coach and best-selling author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Storytelling Made Easy. Michael will share his unique approach to story, plot, and character arc in a five-hour preconference Early Bird Seminar “Create Compelling Novels and Screenplays” August 15 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The $115 registration fee includes workbook and lunch. Register here.
For information on Michael’s one-on-one coaching, his books and recordings, and to read an abundance of articles on the craft and business of story, please visit his website at www.StoryMastery.com.