PITCH EXPO An opportunity to pitch your project to industry executives. Wednesday (September 5), 8:30 am at Days Inn (30 Carlton). $199. www.pitchexpo.com. Rating: NNNNN
How did Pitch Expo start?
It was founded by Kimberley Ann Sparks, a produced screenwriter who had attended pitchfests in Banff and Los Angeles and wondered why Toronto didn't have one. I used to run a weekly script-reading series, and she asked me to help get it started.
We have a director/producer team who already have a film in development through the Canadian Film Centre. The girls who made the YouTube video about the bride who cuts her hair off have a project they're pitching. And there are first-time screenwriters with a TV show, a movie or animated project they'd like to pitch.
What executives are attending?
We have representatives from a variety of production companies, broadcasters, distributors and agents, including Belladonna Productions, which made the Oscar-nominated Transamerica; BBC Films, which made Billy Elliot, Fast Food Nation and David Cronenberg's new film, Eastern Promises; HDNet Films, which made Steven Soderbergh's Bubble; and Copperheart Entertainment, whose Young People Fucking is in this year's Film Festival.
What's the most important thing to remember about pitching?
The main thing is building a relationship. You only have 10 minutes with each executive, so it's important to build on that brief face-to-face so they want to see you outside the pitch.
Sounds like speed dating.
It's exactly like speed dating. The most important thing after introducing yourself is not to waste time. Start the pitch. Keep it short, maybe one or two lines of description, be really passionate about it and then let the conversation flow from there. The most important part is getting to hear what they think, and if they don't like your pitch, don't get defensive -- just have another pitch ready to give them.
So will you be out celebrity-spotting at TIFF?
My daughter does that and I get the reports from her. But if Viggo Mortensen is in town I might have to line up outside a theatre.