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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pitching Yourself and your USP

Pitching is the next slice. But as you can see Pitching Yourself comes first. When most people think of pitching they think of pitching the film. But I say (and others may disagree) that pitching yourself is more important.

There are some (quite) good reasons for this.

Firstly, scripts and treatments come and go, you'll be doing many of them during your working life. But hopefully you'll be pitching them to a recurring set of professional contacts. Pitching 'yourself' is a way of saying that you are in this for the long haul, you are not a one-script pony.
Secondly, you don't know their agenda. Pitching your script is a one way conversation. "I have a script, do you want to read it?" Pitching yourself is about outlining your skills, interests and approach. "Creating great dialogue is my main skill and I've been inspired by I.A.L Diamond more so than Tarantino". That way you might pick up some re-write work.
Thirdly, people buy from people (says Archie) If they like you, they will like your script. If they don't like your script, but they still like you then they will check out your next script. If they don't remember you, because you don't pitch yourself, then you have to start all over again with the next script.

At this point I should mention that all of this assumes, of course, that your scripts are first class.

At the heart of your self-pitch has to be your USP. USP is a bit of a marketing term and means unique selling point.

What is it that you do that other people don't? What do you do better than most? Find this, and this is your self-pitch. Some ideas of what a USP might be:

  • You were in the army for 20 years so you know what its like on the front line.
  • Your stand-up work means that you know how the audience reacts to the comedy lines.
  • You spend half your time writing film and half writing computer games
  • You've written over 30 radio plays so you've become really sharp on making your dialogue count
  • Being an animator has taught you the power of writing scenes that focus on the reactions of characters, not the dialogue

...and so on.

What's yours?

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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