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Nehst Pitch Day

June 3, 2007

Saturday, my friend Bobby T and I pitched an internet series to Nehst Studios. The experience was educational and I had a lot of fun. Bobby and I met on Friday night to flesh out our pitch. I’m not going to go into the concept because we may shoot this thing in the fall. But it’s an interactive mockumentary online series that we both believe has great appeal to its target demographics. Sometime around 2AM Friday night, we were done and ready for our 10AM pitch session. We had trouble keeping our pitch to 3 minutes when we practiced Friday night, but nobody would actually keep track of time on Saturday.

Upon arriving to the Digital Film Academy, we were feeling pretty good. The format of these “group” pitches is that the pitcher(s) would stand up, and give a spiel for about 3 minutes. Then the “judges” would critique the pitch and ask some questions.

The Nehst executive team comprised Bill Keys, Jeff Silverstein, and Larry Meistrich. It’s funny because Larry said that this format isn’t meant to be like American Idol (e.g., not intended to embarrass, etc.). But because you’re pitching in front of a live audience, you do feel like you’re on some game show. And after you pitch, each executive would make comments on the pitch just like Randy, Paula, and Simon do on American Idol (except not mean).

Bobby and I were second on the list so the pressure would be off quickly. I had originally scheduled the pitch in the morning because I had to work with Jato in the afternoon on The Hayley Project.

Anyway, we went up and did our thing. I did the introduction and the log line (btw, we had planned to do the log line later but Larry told people to do it first so obviously we changed our plans), and then Bobby setup our premise with some market size data and characteristics of our target viewers. I followed-up with the story, focusing first on the main concept, then characters, and then story elements of the webisodes. Bobby closed out with why our series has high viral potential. Among the pitches we saw in the morning, ours was the only one focusing on Internet.

Overall, we felt good with the way we delivered our pitch. We didn’t really get to talk about two additional business pros for our series, but Larry said at the start that we should avoid business elements. Had we had the opportunity, we would have talked about interactivity more and why our viewers will habitually watch our show.

So the main comments we got were:

  • Bill questioned why we would mention anything business-related after Larry had specifically said that we shouldn’t. In reality, we only mentioned the viral play, but we did bring it up so we got criticized for it. However, Bill said he liked the concept.
  • Larry commented on licensing rights that we may need for our series, but we later had an opportunity to clarify and say that we would not need to rely on any licensed footage. Larry actually said he loved the idea at the end, which was encouraging.
  • Jeff was the last to comment. His big question was “Can you do comedy?” It was a fair question and made me realize that I need to work on some of the comedic elements of the pitch. Part of the challenge is to deliver all the pertinent information in the pitch, but to do it in a way that conveys that you’re the right person to write/direct it.

Bobby and I hung around for the rest of the morning session. Most of the other pitches we saw were for feature films. I’m pretty sure Nehst is looking for Internet series projects so I hope ours resonated with them. Afterwards, Bobby and I grabbed lunch and of course, did a play-by-play recap of our pitch. Funny thing was, neither one of us could remember exactly what we said or where we went wrong. Anyway, pitching was an interesting, educational, and fun experience. I don’t think either of us expects Nehst to call us back, but you never know.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2007 9:16 am

    Hi guys – thanks for the nice review – I’m glad you had a good experience. I’d like to put a link up on our site and perhaps quote from it for people who want to get a sense of what the session was like. Cool?

    Also people going to http://www.pitchnehst.com will find a couple of new things. Besides group pitch sessions and virtual online uploads, Larry has agreed to do a limited number of One-on-one pitches on Tuesday nights during the summer, at locations in NYC and NJ. There are also some free Meetup-type events at times. The live sessions are so popular we’re getting many requests so check the site for new ones scheduled. Larry’s doing a film festival pitch session in California in August, one in Philly in October and more to be announced. We’ve got a press release hitting soon that announces seven deals we found through live and online pitches.

    The “can you do comedy?” question essentially was taught to me by the late dean of comedy writing – Danny Simon (Neil’s older brother) who said something like “It”s only funny if they laugh, there’s no other definition.” so in my opinion in it’s not enough to say it’s comedy, if you can get a good laugh (even one) in the pitch you’re further along in showing that you can achieve the response. I don’t mean tell a joke. If when you describe your characters or the situation (even in your log line) they laugh, as Danny would say “it’s gold.”

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