(moved from old blog) author’s interruption: to pitchfest and beyond

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If I were a dress designer, no one would ask/warn me “What if somebody alters your work?” If I were a dress designer and someone did ask/warn me, no one would be shocked if I answered “They bought it, and they should do what they need to do to make it fit. I loved the process of making it, there’s more where that came from, and I still have a copy of my original version.” A screenplay is not a dress, but they are both lovingly created things that are designed for people to use and make their own. I like to think this is a mature response, rather than a naive one. If future experience convinces me otherwise, then it does. In the meantime, I’d rather do the work and not stress out about anything other than making my deadlines.

I mention this issue because I heard that question several times, by fellow beginners, and because The Great American Pitchfest went well. I met some fantastic people, made some friends, and learned quite a bit. I don’t want to jinx anything by telling more. We’ll see how things play out over time. If the ultimate results from the best of those five minute interviews turn out to be less fruitful than they could be, I would still go again.

Many of the executives were surprisingly young. Fresh out of school young. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised. The big bosses don’t want to spend an entire Sunday listening to people blather on about their scripts. They have other responsibilities. Their newer employees are still trying to prove themselves, and they have probably joined the movie industry because they like to be entertained by stories. Those are the people who would be interested in spending their Sunday listening to pitches. They also might be the reason why there are so many coming of age movies in the world.

If Sunday was crazy, Saturday was cuckoo for cocoa puffs. There was a lunch break but supper was one of the G.A.P.F. tenth anniversary cupcakes on the way to Pitch Boot Camp. That event was two hours of practice pitching, shoulder to shoulder, half of us at any given time presenting our stories and struggling to be heard. I was tired and sore by the end, but that’s why they call it boot camp.

Left Burbank earlier today and now I’m back at the hostel in Hollywood. Flying home tomorrow. Thanks for a great week, L.A.

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