Philip Gladwin:
'The Fearless Pitcher'

From Screenwriting Goldmine

Pitching your screenplay
This book explains the basics of pitching your screenplay to script execs and producers:
  • Pitch like a professional. Learn simple techniques for handling a pitching meeting - based on current industry practice.
  • Remove the fear. Effective mind tricks to calm your nerves about pitching.
  • Pitching as it really happens. Written from years of experience, this book shows you how to prepare for real world pitching meetings, and includes many practical tips and tricks from working screenwriters.

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Marc Pye, Glasgow, UK

The Fearless Pitcher’s Handbook was a great read and served to remind me where I’d done well in pitch meetings, but more to the point, where I’d gone wrong. This is a book not just for the beginner, as I learned a lot from it and I know others can too.

This is a book that gets to the point quickly and tells it like it is. The pitch meeting is always nerve wracking, but “The Fearless Pitcher” explains in simple terms what is going on, what needs to happen, and, more importantly, how to turn that meeting to your advantage. I know if I’d had this to hand a few years ago and read it before some of my pitch meetings, the outcome would have been a whole lot different.

Some of the anecdotes had me laughing and gave me a strange comfort to know I haven’t been alone in pitching to the insane over the years. Reading this will certainly hone your skill, and help you to enjoy pitching your story with passion and conviction. I’d recommend it to any writer.

(Pitching all his career, Marc Pye has written over 100 hours of broadcast television drama, including his episode ‘The Flasher’ for the BAFTA, International Emmy and RTS award winning Series One of ‘The Street’. His feature film, ‘Act of Grace’, starring Leo Gregory, David Yip and Jennifer Lim was released May 2012.)

PRACTICAL STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

PITCH WITHOUT FEAR

The idea of pitching makes a lot of writers nervous. In the book I explain a simple mind trick that can reframe the whole thing. Based on an everyday experience you will have had, this little change of attitude removes fear and makes the whole thing 100 times easier.

PITCH MEETINGS AS THEY REALLY ARE

I take you through a standard script meeting and explain to you what is likely to happen, and what is going on beneath the surface, and how you can approach the whole thing to make the most impact as quickly and as deftly as you can.

THE NITTY GRITTY DETAILS ... 

Real, nuts and bolt details... including the three kinds of pitches you need to master... how much work you need to have done on your story before the meeting... how to structure your pitch, what you need to include, what you need to leave out...

... KEEP YOU ON TARGET

...I  show you what story elements you need to have worked out, and which it is probably safe to ignore until you are further down the line. I tell you what level of detail is good, and how you know when you are going wrong on that... and this is just the beginning!

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Phil with writers after  a London workshop

About the Author: Philip Gladwin

Philip has been a professional screenwriter and a script editor since 1995. He has written and edited scripts for some of the biggest broadcasters in Britain, (the BBC, ITV, BBC RADIO 4, STE in Ireland, plus a lot of the indies in the UK). He has written or script-edited over 70 episodes of broadcast TV. In the last two decades he has made - and listened to - thousands of pitches. 

"I think I'm in a comparatively rare position of having many years' experience as both a screenwriter and a senior editor (most recently Head of Development for a major London indie). This means I know very well what it feels like on both sides of the fence. The obstacles that new writers trip over have become increasingly clear over this time, and I have written this book to address this. 

But, just so you don't think it's just my take on the thing, I include lots of real pitching anecdotes and tips from professional writers I know. I call them 'Tales From The Frontline'. Some of these tales are funny, some are scary, some reinforce the fact that pitching is always going to have an element of luck.

All of them are real life industry pitching stories. They're a little education all on their own, and read together with my detailed instructions, they give you the widest possible current perspective on the thorny old problem of how exactly do you get people to read your script?"

Phil Gladwin, Brighton 


What People Are Saying

Nic Penrake, Nic Penrake Associates, London

“First off, Phil is a great script analyst. In the past he’s helped me with a TV drama series treatment and script with pertinent advice and creative ideas for further development. His "Fearless Pitcher" guide is so comprehensive I can’t imagine what anyone else could add to the subject.

From the outset, the approach is conversational, yet economical. The simple language is carried along by a tone of voice that is realistic and helpful. Personal and humble. It’s an easy read.

There are also some sharply observed tips about looking (less) desperate than you may be feeling. Nuggets of sound advice abound: ‘Do your absolute best to leave us with a memorable image, and a strong emotion.’ And after your pitch: ‘Make sure you’ve got a piece of paper to leave behind – one or two pages should do it… So they can pass it on up to their bosses without having to pitch it too hard.’"

The Fearless Pitcher’s Handbook" is a very well-written guide, exhaustive in its coverage of what to prepare, practice and observe in the art of pitching. It’s illustrated with just enough entertaining anecdotes – ‘Tales From The Frontline’ – without wandering too far away from the task in hand and never outstays its welcome.”

Phil Peel,www.philpeel.com

“I really love Philip’s style and I think it’s an invaluable roadmap to the art of pitching. It’s also reassuring that he originally hated pitching.

He concentrates on the tactics of short pitches from the 20 second, one sentence logline up to five minutes. He details when to arrive, what to wear, context, content, etc. – even what to drink!

But equally important is his advice on the subtext of pitch meeting. What’s going on under the surface? Including “Lateness – Yours and theirs” Guess which one is acceptable? He also suggests how you deal with their lateness. I’m not sure I would have the courage to follow his advice though.

What I found really useful is his brilliant tip on the psychology of pitching.

A neat tactic to switch your attitude from fear back into your comfort zone.

I’ve read many books on pitching, but this is very straightforward, practical and based on his own experiences, like his “Write a Screenplay package”

There’s no magic formula, but follow his advice, put in a lot of hard work in preparation and your next pitch will be better.

Denise Watson,Sandbach, Cheshire, UK

“If, like me, you’re a writer who prefers writing to talking, then this short but hugely informative guide to pitching is for you.

Packed with the kind of knowledge you only get if you’ve been there and done that, Phil Gladwin gives handy hints and tips on how to handle everything from the receptionist at a production centre, to a stroppy exec who keeps you waiting too long.

Even tiny details are covered. I was really impressed (and surprised) by the answer he gave to the ‘do I accept a drink when a TV exec offers me one before I pitch, and if I do say yes, what should I ask for?’ Fascinating.

Phil presents readers with hard facts. For those of us not blessed with the gift of the gab, there’s loads of advice on how to make the experience less of an ordeal.

Interspersed with first-hand accounts of what actually happened to already established writers, the book keeps it real and pulls no punches.  

He even tells readers how execs reject a pitch, without actually saying the words. Priceless, and all well worth knowing.

Although I’ve pitched to BBC execs in the past, I now feel much better prepared for what lies ahead when I start doing the rounds of independent production companies. Bring it on! ”

Ron Middleton, Reading, UK

“Phil writes with the confidence of experience and insight, illuminating the process with able testimony from other screenwriters who have pitched and won… or won the next time round!

Basically, he takes the terror out of a situation which is inevitable at some point in a screenwriter’s career by offering reassurance and guidance.

His premise is that a successful pitch is about being conversational. In essence, it’s turning someone else on to a story that turns us on ie. it is an act of salesmanship.

Sounds simple? It feels like it with Phil as your guide.

The guide is full of useful advice, such as the 6Ps, avoiding trying to sound knowledgeable about budgets, or learning the useful distinction between high and low concept movies.

It’s a very accessible read, with an underlying sense of humour eg. insisting on the need to generate “heat” so we don’t come across as “utterly crazed with hunger” – and then there is his spin on dealing with company people: “And yes, that is a new use of the word “sincerely”.”

Highly recommended.”

Shannon Richey, Atlanta, GA, UK

“Mr. Gladwin’s book is definitely a must-read for any starting screenwriter. He leaves out a lot of the jargon that can confuse some people and states things in a way that even my six-year-old nephews could understand. He talks you right through the different kinds of pitches and pitch meetings and lets you in on little 'secrets' that others don’t. The fact that I now know exactly how to break down my story explanations to fit a two-minute format and still give the right details will be very useful if and when I find myself in this situation.

What I especially found helpful was the 'Tales From The Frontline' sections, where successful screenwriters relate their experiences as they navigate the waters. The fact that most of them were negative experiences made me feel more confident; I’m a brand-new screenwriter (as in not having been represented yet) and the idea that even seasoned people mess up sometimes was very encouraging to me.

Mark Wilson, Notting Hill, London

“As an ex-exec at CITV, I was pitched for many years and can confirm – Philip Gladwin’s got the game sussed!

Free from any academic flannel – written by a screenwriter for screenwriters – Volume 1 is a refreshingly honest and personal account based on Philip’s own experiences of hooking in the hotshots.

It’s smart and witty, without being condescending. It shows how to avoid the pitfalls when you bump into random execs on spec or in scheduled appointments.

It even goes beyond the writing process, advising on dress and demeanor – comparing pitches to dating, or asking your boss for a payrise!

Pitching can often feel like facing a firing squad. But if you take on board the advice in "The Fearless Pitcher’s Handbook"” you’ll be ... (to nick one of Philip’s own script titles) ... Bullet Proof. ”

'The Fearless Pitcher' from Screenwriting Goldmine:
Pitch your script as it deserves to be pitched

Don't miss out!

As with most things in life, taking action is the key. Don’t miss this chance to learn how to sell your screenplay. You’ve spent so much time writing it, shouldn’t you give it the best chance of making it out into the world?

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