Where will the event be held this year? Due to problems with event crashers in years past accosting our VIPs in the lobby of the venue, we do not advertise the location of the festival online. Once signed up for the weekend, however, we do send you the four-star hotel, including the address, which is in Los Angeles proper. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope you appreciate and understand us wanting to keep our 200 VIPs exclusive to those who registered.
What is the schedule like? I’ve only been to pitch conferences where I was only able to pitch one project to one producer, unless I wanted to pay more. The Hollywood Pitch Festival is the only (and longest running) pitch festival that provides non-stop, one-on-one pitch meetings over a two-day period — with 200+ of Hollywood’s top buyers/representatives under one roof. There’s nothing quite like it. This year, we are also providing one-on-one virtual pitch coaching via Skype starting 2 weeks prior to the festival.
Our ticket prices are flat fees that cover each attendee’s entire weekend (including food and beverage). There are no other extra, added costs (i.e., no per pitch meeting fees, extra charge to attend a luncheon or networking party or for handouts) involved (unless, of course, you’re adding hotel rooms). Since conceptualizing the pitch festival phenomenon in 1996, and coining the word “pitchfest,” many copycat events have sprung up offering pitch sessions. We can only advise those that may be considering one of these other like-events to ask as many questions as possible prior to plunking down your hard-earned money:
- Do you pay the industry reps to attend?
- How many meetings can I expect to receive?
- How long is each meeting?
- Are they one-on-one?
- Are the meetings included in the ticket price?
- How do you deal with companies who do not show up?
- How many hours of the event are dedicated to pitching?!
While you may think you’re attending a pitch festival, you may be confronted with two days of class sessions and only three hours of pitching. You may be attracted to a lower ticket price. Keep in mind, after paying the low entry fee, you will be charged $25-75/per meeting (that’s $649.00-1,800 for 24 meetings – two-four times as much as the HPF with far less industry reps to choose from and ten times the amount of attendees to compete for time with – eek!). If you’re going to anything that calls itself a “pitchfest,” you need to be sure of the companies attending are WGA Signatory, and the reputability of the industry professionals they claim will be attending. Many of Hollywood’s most prestigious companies’ representatives will no longer attend pitch festivals other than Fade In‘s due to their own bad experiences at copycat events. One now defunct event set out to purposefully deceive its attendees by ringing a bell every time there was a supposed sale or option. Only problem was, a sale/option is a contract and a contract takes more than 5 minutes to consummate.
It seems like there are many pitch events to choose from these days. Having never attended one before, how do I know that Fade In‘s events would be the best for me to do initially? If marketing your material to make a sale/option or find representation is what you’re attending one of these events for, then definitely the HPF is one of the best venues for you. We take pride in the fact that each industry representative that attends HPF does so based solely on their desire to find new material/writers (i.e., we don’t pay them to attend like our competitors!). HPF offers the most companies to choose from/pitch to, only the highest-respected and accredited companies are invited, and HPF gives the most time allotted for meetings — seven minutes. HPF is also the most cost-effective. And, if for any reason a company’s rep is unable to make the event at the last minute (which does happen, although rarely), Fade In does its best to arrange for the representative to re-schedule make-up meetings following the event. It’s the least we can do knowing that you spend your hard-earned money to attend.
I’m writing a screenplay that’s character-driven, set in the mid-1960’s. How do I determine which companies would be best for me to sign up with? The Hollywood Pitch Festival will e-mail each attendee, approximately 7 days prior to the event, a list of the companies/industry representatives attending, what each company is currently looking to produce (i.e., genre, budget), along with each company’s credits. We also post a genre list at each event for cross-reference and provide you with a printed version of the exec list. Again, unlike our competitors, we do not charge extra for this booklet.
How many companies can I pitch? Is it as many as I can manage? Fade In’s live pitchfests have no set limits as to the number of pitch meetings an attendee can make. Attendees can take as many meetings as they can fit in during the weekend. We only ask that each attendee initially sign up for his or her first fourteen (14) meetings so that everyone has a shot at their top choices. This year, as an added value, we will be giving all 200+ Hollywood buyers/reps a master list of attendees that includes each participant’s logline and contact info – so regardless of how many meetings you take, your project will still be seen by all industry pros taking part.
Will there be workshops on how to pitch prior to one actually having the opportunity to pitch? Yes. This year, we are offering virtual pitch coaching via Skype two weeks prior to the event.
My writing partner and I are thinking of attending. Do we both need to pay for a ticket or can we come under one ticket? Writing teams must each individually pay for a ticket but have the advantage of receiving twice as many meetings as a single attendee. This is done by one partner signing up for his/her meetings during one part of the day and the other partner signing up for his./her meetings during the other part of the day. Partners can attend each others’ meetings and be in the on-call line separately as well to capitalize on this.
What materials does one bring to an event like this: the full script, a treatment, synopsis, business cards, trailer, poster, short film..? I want to make certain I’m prepared. We recommend bringing only a few copies of a script, if you have one written, to leave in your car or hotel room. There is no rule stating that a synopsis or treatment cannot be left with a representative. We just don’t recommend it. If your pitch excites the rep, they’ll ask you to mail or email them a copy of the script or have you come into their respective offices to pitch it to the entire company. Synopses tend to be bland (e.g., even if the rep has to go back to work on Monday and re-pitch your story verbally to the head of the company or studio, his or her enthusiasm would be better than them photocopying your dry synopsis and handing it out to everyone in the office.). leave them the first 10 pages of your script instead!! As for business cards, this is a novice mistake. Professional writers in Hollywood do not have business cards — unless they also have a production company. Business cards that state “writer” or “screenwriter” on them are just red flags that you are not a professional. Leave them home. Reps will have a sign up sheet with your contact info or can write it down before you leave your meeting or you can leave them a business card from your current trade profession. They’ve even been known to call us after the event for an attendee’s number.
If you have a trailer you would like to show representatives during your meetings or a short film or web series or book you would like to leave behind, you are welcome to do so.
Is it customary to contact prospective companies and agencies before the event? Absolutely not. That is, unless you want to alienate them before you’ve even had a chance to pitch your project to them. There is no reason to contact the reps prior to the event. They are specifically taking part in the festival to have the opportunity to sit down with you and hear your projects. To contact them beforehand during their busy business day would not be in an attendee’s best interest. Besides, everything you need to know about each rep/company is provided to you 7-10 days prior to your arrival.
When do I sign up for my meetings? Sign up takes place at the venue Friday evening or Saturday morning. (Note about studio meetings: They are usually the last stop for agents and managers when sending out material. Reps send out clients’ material to production companies, directors and producers who have relationships with studios, talent, etc. in order to package a project first prior to going to the studio. So you may want to rethink your strategy when signing up to meet with a studio first without any attachments. It may sound exciting but its not always how it’s done in Tinseltown.)
What will take place Friday evening? Registration/check in, sign up for meetings and Pitch Bootcamp with the Scriptwriters Network where you can practice your pitch and receive valuable feedback.
How do I follow up with each representative after the festival? Since each representative leads a very hectic professional life, sending a nice thank you card is your best option in lieu of calling him or her directly to “see how you liked my story.” Trust us, if they liked your pitch, they’ll contact you. You don’t want to come across as desperate or pesky. On the other hand, if the rep you pitched to asked you to give them a call after the festival in order to send them your script, most definitely pick up the phone. Above all, keep your eyes peeled for those opportunities where a call would be in order (e.g., when the rep appears in the trades or gets a new job or promotion, call to congratulate them).
How can I get more information on pitching prior to the event? We offer many tips on pitching here on our site, our sister site Greenlightmymovie.com and we send tips directly to you. For those that may want to hone their pitches prior to arrival, Fade In offers several professional pitch classes on CD taught by Hollywood’s top pitch masters. Visit the Fade In Store for more details. And we offer virtual pitch coaching sessions via Skype two weeks prior to the festival.
Can I pitch more than one project? Yes, but we recommend pitching only one project per company or per meeting. Pitching just one project allows you to present a well-thought out pitch while allowing time for feedback from the industry rep you’re pitching to. If you present three or more projects to the same company, you just look like a watch salesman and not a filmmaker who takes his/her craft seriously. We do, however, recommend having at least one back-up pitch/project should the industry rep advise you that he/she already have something similar in development.
Can I pitch different projects to different representatives? Yes, absolutely. If you have a comedy and have the opportunity to pitch it to a company/studio looking for a comedy by all means go for it. Then pitch your thriller to a different company looking for that.
I’d like to come to this year’s festival, but how do I know that industry representatives won’t steal my idea? While we’ve never had a situation arise in 20 years, HPF takes every precaution — requiring all attendees to sign a submission agreement. Agreements must be signed in order to attend. Another great way to protect yourself if to follow up your meeting with a card or letter (that you keep a copy of) memorializing your meeting and conversation/project and that it is your understanding that if they intend to use your idea in any way they will contact you to negotiate the appropriate fees. Finally, Fade In screens all companies to make sure they are 1) WGA Signatory 2) legit with produced credits.
What should I wear? Do they expect us to be in business attire? No. Please dress comfortably, as the days will be long. Wear comfortable shoes, jeans — clothing that represents who you are trying to convey yourself as: a writer (and a writer in Hollywood never wears a suit — unless they’re attending their premiere or an awards show — and even then…).
How many attendees do you allow to come to the festival? We keep attendance limited to 200 people (1:1 ratio) in order to ensure that each attendee receives a high number of meetings. It’s more important to us that attendees have a productive time at the festival and want to come back time and time again than it is to sell as many tickets as possible. So we cut off registration when we hit this number of registrants.
Is it mostly companies looking for features or are there companies that will also be looking for TV? We always have a good amount of companies looking for both features and TV in addition to books, short stories, web series and short films they can turn into features and TV.
If I can’t make the live event is there a way I can participate/submit to the companies online? Yes. You can submit online to all of the companies taking part this year on our sister site, Greenlightmymovie.com http://www.greenlightmymovie.com.
Didn’t see your question answered here? E-mail us at [email protected]