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Writing Wrap Up: 3 Ways To Beat The Heat - Pitching Screenplays, Lists & Hashtags

By Paula Landry

Feeling hot? Spin the 98 degrees into a hotter pitch, master more social media and turn up the thermostat on writing & selling your script.

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 Pitch politely, professionally & with passion

Whether you’re in a formal or informal situation the story of you relating your story is the same. Grab every opportunity you have to share your story by pitching it, whether with industry folks or otherwise. Pitching regularly is good practice that will hone your skills and provide you with valuable feedback about your presentation.

1. Connect during the initial meet and greet. We are all humans. Say hello and engage, show interest in your listeners first as people.

Write your strong opening introduction here:


2. Ask relevant questions and listen to the answers.

Write three generic questions that work for you in small talk:


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When you feel the emotional temperature is receptive to you, ask if you can pitch your film. If yes:

3a. Share your memorized elevator pitch and the passion you feel about the story.

Write your 60 second practice it until memorized.


3b. If no: wait until the time is right, then go to 3a.

4. Ping pong – they ask questions, you respond. Like the notorious story-teller Scheherazade, reveal savory details of your story to get your listeners’ juices flowing.

Write two things listeners will want to know about your story:


5. Exit gracefully by asking for next steps when appropriate, and saying thank you.

If you want to try your pitch out on me, shoot me an email at

What have you learned about pitching? I welcome your input, and have enjoyed some of these veteran pitchers:

Steve Kaire

"Pitch what your story is about, not what happens in the story."

Marilyn Horowitz

“Have more than one project to pitch.”


As writers we can watch movies and awards shows to find high quality writing that has sold, but another way is to read the screenplays attracting lots of attention in “the lists.”

When I first discovered The Black List Survey of Screenplays, I did not like the name, and I had misgivings, it was like the award of scripts that were almost good enough. Almost.

The original term blacklist in this case was remade, and changed from its original notoriety, referring to the period in the 1940s-50s of Hollywood bigwigs blocking entertainment professionals from working due to their political beliefs.

But, I’m over it. Many excellent movies have come from this list: Juno, 50/50, Slumdog Millionaire.

If you want to find out more about that other blacklist, you can read about it here.

You may already read these scripts and know all about them, but it’s one more way to stay abreast of the industry and topics and writing craft that’s garnering significant attention.

The Black List – Vetted scripts by industry insiders seeking people to make and buy them. The ironic twist in the story of The Black List is that it’s the story of the near-miss - these are the best unproduced (as of yet) scripts that folks thought were excellent. Not excellent enough to buy… at that time. Getting on the list significantly ups your chances of making a sale.

UK Brit List - Scripts looking for moviemakers. An annual list of the best unproduced screenplays is compiled from nominations made by more than 80 producers, agents, distributors and sales agents throughout the UK film community. Modeled after the Blacklist.

The Purple List- NYU has started their own list of screenplays seeking financing - top screenplays written by students or recent alums of the Grad Film Program

Why not start your own list?


Writers must market themselves and there’s a great free place to show off your writing and your writing skills - the Internet. You don’t have to be on ALL the platforms but you have to establish a presence and a niche.

If you like short form blogging – writing tiny stories – you can do that on platforms that specialize in the micro form, (such as Tumblr or Twitter), and Facebook, and Google+ are also good places to show off your writing skills.

You can engage with others and help them find resources you like by using a hashtag or pound sign (#) – a way of searching on your social media sites for posts, tweets or blogs centering around a common theme.

Have you got a case of HASHTAG CONFUSITIS? You are not alone.

I love the way blogging guru and social media queen Stephanie Cockerl describes hashtags:

“Think of a hashtag as a 'room to have a conversation in.' Participants in that room are there to talk and converse about that particular topic. Examples can be a TV show, a professional topic, anything.

… a piece of advice, if you are new to a particular hashtag, the best thing to do is to just observe until you feel comfortable to contribute something of interest."

... and find out more about hashtags here.

and here, with Aliza Sherman.

I’d love to connect with you next time you’re online, so please find me on Twitter @paulalandry.

Rock your writing.


Don't miss our next Screenwriters World Conference West in Los Angeles September 27 - 29, 2013


Scribes from around the world unite at Screenwriters World, the annual destination for both professional and aspiring screenwriters to come together to discuss the craft, share ideas, and network with fellow creatives.

If you’re serious about your screenwriting career, this is an event that’s not to be missed.


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