This is my very personal review of the THE PITCHING: LEVEL 1, teaching “The Fundamentals of Pitching a TV Series”. This is one of the best classes offered by the CW Room, keep reading to understand why!
The course is held by Sony executive Jason Kyle and accepts a maximum of 10 students, here’s info from the CW Room’s website:
“Working in TV development on a daily basis, Jason teaches the fundamentals of pitching from the ground up. He walks students through the current TV trends and essentials that Studio Execs are looking for when buying new shows.
Through studio-level pitch exercises, Jason gives thorough notes and hands-on feedback to the teams on their pitches each week. This class requires listening and note-taking, but most of all, students will learn by DOING.”
This course is aimed at writers who know nothing about pitching a movie or tv show idea to an executive/producer. Now, I know what you writers reading this are thinking: I’m a writer (aka, an introvert) my job is to write stuff, not to go around promoting myself/meeting and chatting with strangers (the horror!), pitching ideas … let me stop you right there: I hate to break it to you, my love, but if you want to get anywhere in the writing business (including that of fiction books and copywriting) you HAVE TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE, YOU HAVE TO TALK TO STRANGERS AND PROMOTE YOURSELF. Unfortunately, writing only won’t get you anywhere. Just think about it: trad and indie publishers go to book fairs, have book signings, they have meeting with agents OR they query agents to sign with them!
As a copywriter, I personally pitch projects and marketing strategies on a regular basis, BUT THAT HAPPENS MOSTLY IN WRITING, while, if you want to work for the silver screen, YOU MUST LEARN TO PITCH IN PERSON. And, of course, pitching YOUR OWN ORIGINAL IDEA TO A STRANGER isn’t easy at all, it’s a task that can be very stressful when not plain daunting, that’s why you need to take this course to do how to do it properly in a safe environment where you can get the luxury to fail and mistakes without any consequences.
THERE IS AN EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT UNTIL THIS FRIDAY (11th June) so, GO GRAB YOUR SEAT BEFORE THEY ALL RUN OUT!: https://www.thecwroom.com/classes
Now, back to my review! The course’s structure is very simple: Jason explains the basics of a pitch, then divides the class into groups, each working on the assignment for the next class. The assignment usually consists in choosing an IP (intellectual property, can be a book, a comic, even a podcast) with your mates and producing a pitch for said IP gives you an assignment.
This course was a life-changing experience for me (can’t speak for the other students, of course).
At first, I was a little worried about having to work with total strangers: I of course worked and still collaborate with other people all the time, but they are all people whom I know to an extent (or got the time to know in the past), so working with total strangers at a project was quite intimidating for me at first. Well, I was totally wrong to be worried, because
It was GREAT to work with other students, people of all ages and from all walks of life. I can genuinely say that I’ve learnt something from each one of them, just like I’ve learnt from Jason’s lessons and feedback on our pitches; I’d like to use this post to thank each one of my comrades and give you all the opportunity to know them a little.
The first person I collaborated with, was Michael Tatlock. Michael’s a seasoned actor who survived a childhood spent in flat, conservative, only thanks to books. I’m from a totally different generation and grew-up in Central Europe, but I also survived my solitary childhood thanks to compulsive reading, so we immediately clicked! Since he’s not only an experienced actor but also a true DARLING, he did his best to coach me a little and teach me to at least partially overcome my terror of speaking in public. At first, it seemed his advice (and Jason’s) was lost in me, but I’m glad to say that, with time, this hopeless nerd managed to overcome her fears and ultimately improved! Michael is not only an amazing actor, but also a very patient coach, please go check his website and say hi:
For the second pitch simulation, I was paired with two very interesting people: Cathy Torres, a flight attendant who was a marine (I mean, how cool and tough is that?) and Chris Paul Morales, who already works in the industry as a producer but took the class since he’d like to switch to writing (and how cool and humble is that? His attitude was per se a great lesson). Now, again we were total strangers to each other, but the IP chosen by Cathy (about an airplane pilot blackmailed by terrorists) was so interesting, that we all dived in and started bouncing ideas here and there, I went into total 80s action movie mode and invented a few characters that aren’t in the book, whom everyone liked, including Jason! Cathy’s experience in the military was obviously key and Chris was more than happy to help us create a diverse female lead (Filipino, like him): there are plenty of men who support women, ladies, and he’s definitely one of them!
Please, follow Cathy’s social media, you won’t regret it, I promise!
And here’s Chris’ website: https://www.chrispaulmorales.com
My third assignment buddy was Will Fulton who is, well, my male version. This man is an editor and copywriter, just like me, a total nerd, like me, passionate about anime, mangas, action-adventure, Harry Potter, martial arts and videogames. We are so similar, that it’s almost creepy! I mean, he opens his mouth and I already knew what he was about to say and he probably felt the same about me! We got along so well, that we are now writing something together! I hope I can soon host him here on my blog, in the meantime, follow him on Twitter: @thewillennium
My last (but not least) assignment buddy was Kayla Hardy. Kayla is an African American scholar specialised in black Caribbean literature; we pitched THE CITY WE BACAME, a diverse urban fantasy written by N. K. Jemisin, a raising African- American writer. The subject of the book was a great “excuse” to talk about racism and slavery in America and all the “micro” (and macro!) aggressions black people had to bear and get used to in America in the last and present day. She told me that her granny was blinded by a rock, thrown to her for “fun” by a group of white kids and that truly shocked me. I mean, when you grow-up, knowing that your granny was nearly killed “for fun” by white people, how can you possibly feel safe yourself? What type of outlook you have about the world you live in? We were both so passionate about the IP, that I’m glad to tell you that we totally nailed it!
I’d like to give a special shout-out also to Nicky Coble, a brilliant actress whose outgoing pitches truly taught me something (https://www.nikkicoble.com) and Greg Gorman, who was almost as lost as me at the beginning of the course but, like me, found his voice at the end.
I highly recommend this course to anyone, especially to introvert writers who need to lose-up and are terrified of speaking in public: it will do you an awful good, I promise!
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