Screenwriting : A factor in my pitching success. by Kevin T. Morales

A factor in my pitching success.

Since it was posted here that I pitched a television pilot successfully and have producers now attached I have been asked a lot about my pitch. I have to say, I believe the success to my pitch is built before I even start writing the script. Like many of you I brainstorm ideas all the time. I have pages of ideas, but I don't start writing unless I can answer this one question: "What will the world miss if I never write this script?" If I don't have an incredible answer to this question I don't write it, or even start to outline. A great answer never really includes plot points or character arcs. It contains something deeper, and more profound and ultimately very personal. It's those factors that earned me 19 script requests and a production deal. Pitching a project that the listener realizes this script could only come from one person, the writer pitching it. Strangely this seems to be that bizarre bit of writing advice "write what you know." But too many writers are hung up on the content of their pieces. Locations, genres, act breaks ... all of those things should be servant to WHY are you writing it in the first place. That answer should never be: it's trendy, it's going to make money, it's sexy, it's cool, it's what producers are looking for. I hope this helps some of you. Finding your voice is the most important thing you should be concerned about; getting an agent, getting read-- all of those things are putting the cart before the horse if you aren't establishing your voice and what makes YOU special.

Phil Parker

Well said, Kevin. Writers should also be clear on that oft repeated phrase "write what you know"- this doesn't mean you need to be an astronaut to write about space, or a cowboy to write a western. It means you need to 'know' the emotions, themes and message of your story. That's what will make your story ring true because that is what people connect with.

Tsara Shelton

Insightful advice, Kevin. Thank-you!! I'll admit, I wrote my first (and only) screenplay when I wanted an answer to the question: What kind of world do I want my sons to grow up in? Looking around I had a hard time clearly knowing an answer, so I wrote a movie. In writing I discovered my answer, my hopes, and my voice, and then wanted badly to share widely. I've gotten amazing feedback, and I'm quite proud! Although, my script is not at all mainstream and may never make a great movie, it's already moved readers and other experts to think and feel. In truth, that's what I want for it most of all. Which, of course, is why I'll work hard to get it made into a film for larger audiences. Maybe one day my sons and I will go to a theater and see the world I wanted them to grow up in on the big screen! In the meantime, by writing and learning and collaborating and editing, I've been able to create a home that I want my sons to grow up in. One where we go after our own answers, write our life stories with intention, and share our time and passions generously! I got all that from finding my voice.

Nkosi Guduza

My issue with the perspective is that how might one particularly engage in the story, to me it sounds almost like arrogance. The fact that they don't care about the words which are the words that are being delivered. Words are what construct everything else? If it was a silent movie yes, perspective would be great I think. I do agree with "what will the world miss" in this case what will / might the executive miss? Do you see my point? In other words I do not want to create a movie where movie goers do not care about the words and what characters actually say, but care about the whole feeling of the movie rather than meaning and feeling... ah... :) cheers x

Fiona Faith Ross

Cool bananas. Love that. I think the emotions may be more important than the words. After all, the greater part of the story is delivered visually. The words are the carrier signal for the emotion, if I may put it like that, and also to move the story on.

Kevin T. Morales

Arrogance is writing something devoid of meaning and expecting a company to put up millions of dollars to make it. When an exec asks you "why?", they want to be blown away by the answer. I'm suggesting you answer that question before bothering to write an entire script because it will make pitching it easier.

Molly N. Moss

Well said, and very wise. Many thanks for sharing. :-)

Richard Toscan

Kevin, very well stated. And congratulations on your deal.

Brian Gerson

Wow Kevin, extremely passionate. That was a moving post. I agree whole heatedly, and believe that type of writing is being missed by mainstream Hollywood right now.

Nate Matteson

I think that's great advice. I'd also suggest asking yourself "why is this a story that only I can tell?" and have a damn good answer. What's the personal connection that you have to the story you're telling? Why were you born to tell it? Sounds schmaltzy but I feel like as a rep I read a lot of early screenplays where the writer is simply trying to sell an idea they think will be commercial, and the story comes off as derivative or flat. I think it's really important for the writer to give me characters that are going through something specific that the writer understands in their bones. And here's the shameless plug, but will be teaching a webinar starting this week, would love to see any or all of you there! https://www.stage32.com/happy-writers/classes/How-to-Keep-the-Stakes-Hig...

CJ Critt

That one question is so simple and so crucial. I have copied and pasted for future kick in the butt reminders. Thanks for sharing!

Debbi Mack

I couldn't agree more, Kevin. Thanks for the reminder!

David Levy

Thanks for the info and insight Kevin. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own work I forget to take a step back to inform the WHY I write the concept that I do. I have missed providing that info for a while so it is about time I included it.

CK Steefel

Can I tweet that quote? It's great. What's your twitter feed so I can include you? Ok, just tweeted whole thing.

Kevin T. Morales

@kevintmorales :)

Janet Biery

Had to tweet a couple of quotes. Well earned success. Thanks for sharing.

Lauren Lindsey

Hi Kevin, thanks for the great post. I have just started pitching and I'd love to know anymore advice you have if you are up for offering it. Thanks and I am happy for your success!

Kalyan Sambhangi

wow! this thread is so deep and it touched me so well that I think I know the answer for this question

Danny Manus

Hey guys, my new article on pitching tips learned from Austin Film Fest will be on Scriptmag this week!

Janet Biery

Congrats Danny, great advice.

Rona Walter

Thanks for your post, I am actually in a similar position atm, with a script that neither is sexy, nor cool, mainstream or a 100% gold mine. Your post gave me some trust. So than you!

K Kalyanaraman

As a writer, I very often think that I have lost my voice. Only my vision remains:-).

Dash Riprock

Great outlook and congrats!

Wendy Nichols

Fabulous comment, Kevin. I'm going to keep this in mind when brainstorming my next project. x

Art Thomas

Hello Kevin and thanks for your post. To your point, I worked on a film that got a distribution deal with Lionsgate before we rolled the first camera. I heard a quote, "People don't by what you do, they buy 'why' you do it". Watch this enlightening video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMOlfsR7SMQ

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