|Paul Guay conceived and co-wrote Liar, Liar and co-wrote The Little Rascals and Heartbreakers. He got all those jobs from a pitch.|
Paul Guay: There are 666 screenwriting books out there, as well as several books about pitching. Why do I need yours?
Doug: There have been many - too many - books about screenwriting, but surprisingly few about pitching.
Ken: Yeah, and the few books about pitching that exist are either a collection of anecdotes or a list of tips.
Doug: Exactly. You’d be fine at a cocktail party but neither of those approaches will really help you in the real world. And the industry changes. Some of those books are pretty dated.
PG: Do you teach theory? Or practice? Or both?
Ken: Both. And you need both.
Doug: The book would be useless if we didn’t have the practical. But unless we explained the theory behind it, you will never be able to adapt to the variety of pitching scenarios.
PG: I'm a writer. I want to write. Why the hell do I need to learn how to pitch?
Ken: Every working writer must pitch at some point in his or her career. There’s no alternative. Even if you never get the chance to pitch an original idea, you will have to pitch to your agent, or pitch to get someone to read your script or even pitch your writing partner on your collaborations.
Doug: And pitch to get assignments. Most writers hate pitching, but if you want to make a career of this, you will have to pitch. We think our book will help demystify the process.
PG: What are the benefits of a writer and a producer collaborating on a book on pitching?
Doug: Collaborating on this book was an enlightening experience. Each of us brings the opposite side of the pitching experience to the table. I sell pitches and Ken buys pitches. And we’ve been doing it for years.
Ken: There’s no other book out there that incorporates the complete experience. And maybe more importantly, we’ve both taught pitching, so we have insight into the struggles that new writers have with learning to pitch.
Doug: I was a new writer once. I know those struggles well!
PG: What does a producer know about pitching that a writer doesn't?
Ken: In the real world of Hollywood, everyone who sells must think like a producer. Before you make jokes about “producers” and “thinking,” what I mean is that most writers will benefit from thinking more broadly about all the elements that buyers consider before they buy: casting, locations, marketing, MPAA ratings, etc.
PG: What does a writer know about pitching that a producer doesn't?
Doug: Most producers will never have to construct a pitch from scratch. Staring-down a blank sheet of paper is a scary thing. That’s the writer’s job.
PG: Is your book for amateurs or professionals?
Doug: This book originated from our experience teaching, which means we start from the point of view of the beginner. But the principles are the same for the advanced writer. I was well into my career and had already sold a script before I really felt like I’d mastered pitching.
Ken: There’s a reason we didn't call this book “The Beginner’s Guide…” It’s not just for beginners. In fact, based on many pitches I’ve heard, there are many established, professional writers that will benefit from reading this book.