Thursday, April 19, 2012

InkTip Pitch Summit III Review

2010's first Pitch Summit, brought to us by our friends at, was tremendous mix of both opportunity and discombobulation. Now in their second year, have they ironed out all the bugs?

By Tanya Klein

I recently checked out InkTip’s Pitch Summit III. Having attended the very first one -- which was riddled with logistical missteps and probably caused a few serious cases of sciatica in some of the unfortunate writers who stood in endless lines -- I felt more than a bit trepidatious. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. The organizational upheaval from their first outing was completely ironed out. They had plenty of people working to keep everything running smoothly. The lines were mercifully short, arranged by genre, and they were kept moving with adequate speed. Efforts were made to keep all of the attendees in the loop through continual announcements. So, first of all, kudos to the InkTip team for oiling this particular machine.

Any review of an InkTip Pitch Summit really comes down to how one feels about pitching to three or four executives from different companies simultaneously, versus focusing on only one. Because, you see, that's how they do it. You don't just pitch one-on-one to an exec: you pitch to a table of three execs, all from different companies. Let’s start with the pros: The three-to-a-table scheme makes it possible for a writer to cover more ground – a lot more ground. It’s the difference between pitching to 15 people or to 50. That’s an undeniable plus. But does it outweigh the cons?

In the morning I stood in line for one three-executive table, two of whom I really wanted to see and the third one – let’s call ‘em 'Gravy' – I hadn’t heard of. When I got to the table, only Gravy was there. I’m guessing the other two were still enjoying their morning coffee or were simply a no-show. First con of having more than one executive at a table: You can’t hold the line if someone is stuck in traffic; and sometimes a writer will miss the opportunity to pitch to an executive, because said executive is searching for the restroom.

The InkTip Pitch Summit in progress.
Later in the day, I noticed that I was pitching to an executive – let’s call ‘em 'Homeless' – whom I had pitched to before at a different table. Homeless complained that they kept moving him around. Second con: It’s difficult to accommodate last-minute executive changes, since they can’t simply put up another table, but have to find the proverbial birds of a feather (they endeavor to clump the execs together by genre.) If more than one executive occupies a table, the occupants have to agree at least somewhat on the type of material they’re looking for, which probably leads to either some unhappy executives or likely a few table switches (which in turn leads to some unhappy writers.)

 In the afternoon, I tackled some of the longer lines, gleefully inching my way forward, until we were informed that the table had collectively decided that they wanted to hear comedy now – let’s just call ‘em 'Confused.' Down the drain went my pitches – and about 15 minutes of my life. (Hey, I’m German. I don’t do comedy.) Third con: Listening to only one genre all day makes for some tired executives – and abrupt changes. Fact is, quite a few of these folks are looking for several genres, and the three-to-a-table table mechanic doesn't handle that very efficiently.

In general, having more than one executive at a table makes it hard to keep track of exactly who you’re pitching to at any given time – especially when the executives switch tables or take long breaks or a company didn’t show up and was quickly replaced with another company. Let’s face it, the moment you sit down, you pitch. You don’t pull out pen and paper and start copying down everyone’s name tag.

One last thing worth noting: unlike Great American Pitchfest, InkTip provides no real background information on whom you're meeting with, nor any contact info. All they give you are the contact's name, company, and a couple of credits. This makes following up with people whom you do not get a chance to meet with difficult. Great American Pitchfest, on the other hand, is worth the cost of admission just for the detailed booklet they provide, which becomes a valuable reference you'll refer back to time and again throughout the year and may yield plenty more opportunities long after the pitching is over.

Was there opportunity? You bet! I got in about 15 pitches, altogether about 38 companies in total. That's pretty amazing. Still, my personal preference is one executive at a time. You have a slightly better chance at establishing a personal connection when it's one on one. I’m also comforted in knowing who exactly I’m pitching to; and I prefer being able to tailor my pitches to the person at hand, as opposed to keeping it general. But that might just be my inner Teutonic control freak. When all is said and done, InkTip showed they have learned from their mistakes of the past and they delivered an event chock full of potential for writers.


Tanya Klein is a CI story analyst, teacher and screenwriter. For almost a decade she ran a theater company in NYC, and she was the second unit cameraperson on Coverage Ink Films' LIBERATOR. She is currently working on the script for CI's first feature "TWISTED," which begins shooting in late fall.


Anonymous said...

I went to the first one and it was a mess. They started an hour late, then after 50 minutes of pitching they shut down for lunch for 2 hrs! That was just ridiculous and I felt totally disrespected. So I am glad to hear it sounds much better this time out. Thanks Tanya!

Anonymous said...

great revue, thank you

Anonymous said...

I can't believe they are doing another one in the fall it must be a huge moneymaker, and also now script pimpline is doing one too, wow