By Tanya Klein
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.|
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.