WRITER’S EDGE: Learning Pitching From “Shark Tank”

Steve Kaire is a Screenwriter/Pitchman who’s sold 8 projects to the major studios without representation. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveKaire.

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PitchingFor those of you who don’t watch the mega hit show Shark Tank, it showcases people needing investments from wealthy entrepreneurs to grow or save their business.

Shark Tank is surprisingly a microcosm of what it takes to successfully pitch your scripts to companies.

We will examine each element involved in Shark Tank which is comparable to pitching your material to producers.

First and foremost, participants have one to two minutes to pitch their product
or service to the savvy entrepreneurs who are referred to as the “sharks.” The
pitch has to be clear and to the point. The same holds true for screenwriters trying
to get interest in their scripts.

Secondly, after the participants have finished their pitch, they are given feedback by
the “sharks.” Many times the participants are too caught up with their pitch rather
than really listening to the “sharks” observations and advice. Continuing to talk rather
than listening turns the “sharks” off. Many writers make the same mistake. After
presenting their material, they should stop and pay attention to the comments made
instead of drowning out or arguing with the producers listening to them.

In Shark Tank, the “sharks” want to see if the person who is asking for their money
and expertise is open to helpful suggestions. They have long track records of
success and should be accorded the respect due them.

Screenwriting is a collaborative medium and producers who suggest changes sometimes
test the writer to see how flexible they are. Producers want to associate themselves
with writers who are easy to work with. I’ve heard of excellent material that was
turned down because the writer was too difficult.

Finally, the attitude and demeanor of the participants is either a big plus or minus
and sometimes decides if they will get a deal or not.

The same is true for screenwriting.

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