“KEEP IT SIMPLE” is the most important nugget to remember when pitching your concept.
You want to scare a TV exec? Bring seventeen binders, multiple thumb drives, and a giant world map to your pitch.
As a wise woman once proclaimed, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
It’s wonderful that you’ve put years of thought into creating this massive world. Really, it is. But if it takes you longer to set up in the room than it does to pitch the main idea, you’ve already lost.
Is your series about a singing hat? Great! (Not really.) Get to the point.
Make. Them. Care.
What’s your log line?
A log line is a brief, enticing description of your series, or of a specific episode. It’s the TL; DR version of your pitch.
When you’re flipping through Netflix and choose a movie or show, there is a short episode summary that gives you an idea of what you’re about to watch.
It’s usually two to four sentences, and quite handy when you, the consumer, want to preview something in ten seconds or less.
Take some time and craft a log line that describes your series in such a way that hooks people’s attention. It may take some time to get it right, but it’s worth it. Like that old deodorant slogan, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
An example of a solid log line:
A grouchy fedora and a bubbly chef’s hat bond over their love of linguistics, martial arts, and 80’s music to save the world’s supply of polyester from a ruthless cosplayer.
A top-notch log line immediately lets the exec know that you’re there on a mission. A mission to NOT WASTE THEIR TIME! You’ll earn points for that alone.
But there’s more. For you see, a log line must also set the show’s tone and/or genre, be it comedy, action, educational, musical, mystery, etc.
The log line is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll need a concept summary that describes what makes it cool, funny, unique, and declares why it’s the perfect fit for their network.
A simple approach allows studio execs to make up the details or visuals of your idea in their minds. And most execs always like their own ideas (sometimes too much.) The more details you add give the exec more to dislike.
I’ll say it again: keep your pitch simple. If the execs want more information, be ready to share the deep, intricate back-story that you’ve had in your head since you were nine.
But only if you’re asked!