Creating a film or television project is an amazing process for anyone. But when we have to share or pitch the idea for support, it can be a dreaded experience. Pitching independent projects is unknown territory in our constantly-changing industry. The fact of the matter is most gatekeepers in the TV and Film business will NOT accept unsolicited materials. With this in mind,how can we get in front of the right people to deliver our pitch?
On this episode of the LoudaVision podcast, Squeaky Moore is the author of #100Pitches: Mistakes I've Made So You Don't Have To. The content of her book provides great strategy and dispels conflicting information about the pitching process. We discuss applicable tips on how to develop your idea, create a show bible, and get your project sponsored. This includes some easy and proven methods to get your foot in the door and cultivate relationships with the gatekeepers in the TV and film industry.
Whether you’re pitching to Martin Scorsese or your family/friends,this podcast can help you increase your confidence, be prepared and ASK BIG. These are skills we don’t often discuss in the film and TV industry- but they are necessary for success.
Twitter & Instagram: @squeakymoore
Follow me on the social media: @LoudaVision
Learn to create your own podcast: www.LauraMeoli.com/CreateaPodcast
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Let's get started with today's LoudaVision Podcast for creative people. We want to share our projects that we spend so long creating and get them out there to as many people as possible, but mastering the art of the pitch is not as easy as it sounds. My guest today is Squeaky Moore. She's the author of #100Pitches: Mistakes I've Made So You Don't Have To. Squeaky is an actress, a writer, director and producer. She's been featured in Huffington Post, on Centric TV, and she's dubbed #WomenToWatch in Ambition Magazine. She's also created THE PITCH 101, a blog and resource to help content creators get their independent projects onto the big screen. You can find her book, her blog and connect with her at ThePitch101.com.
Hi, Squeaky. Thanks for coming on the podcast.
Thank you so much, Laura.
Tell us first about your book and how's it going to help content creators with our pitch.
#100Pitches: Mistakes I've Made, So You Don't Have To
My book started about my journey of pitching 100 times. I started pitching different television and film projects in 2013. I would get so far and then for some reason it didn't go all the way on air. What happened is I would feel rejected and it would stop me from the pitching process for at least four or five months on that project. Then I would pick up another project, develop a completely different show and set out on the journey again. I realized, I can't continue to do this. Me, not pitching for four to five months on a project is not going to work well for my career.
I set out on a journey to pitch 100 times because one, I wanted to rise above rejection. If it was a rejection that I know I had to deal with, I wanted to get used to hearing it, going back out, fixing the issue, going back out as fast as I could. It was through that process that I learned that no is not universal. What's not good for one network or one studio house or producer or writer or whoever you're pitching, it's not the same with everyone else. It may not be the same with the next. It doesn't mean that my project doesn't work, it means that it's just not right for where I had it or they just can't take anymore projects.
Over the course, I've learned so many different things about the reasons why they don't accept projects and learned to not take it so personally. I wanted to write a book about all of this. The things that I did learn that I was messing up on and the things that I was taking so dearly. Because these projects, they are babies and we take them so personally. It feels like, "I suck at creating," and we become dejected. I wanted to be able to help people with that process. The second portion of my book was I decided, Squeaky, you have a hell of a journey to tell. Before I even went on the journey, it was really just about telling my stories I said, let me journal moment to moment, what worked, what didn't work. I started coaching and consulting other people and I started journaling about what I was finding. I took to network executives and I said, "This is my mission. My mission is to bridge the gap between the content creator and the networks, the studios, the higher ups. I need to bridge the gap."
But before I do that, I need to know what we're doing right, what we're doing wrong, what's stopping us from getting in the door, why are there so few stories getting told out there, why aren't there many African-American or minority storytellers as well as why are there so few women storytellers out there. I needed to be able to get the answers so that I can come back and I can help other content creators, specifically I do have a passion to get more African-American stories told and stories about women that are different from what we're seeing on air and in the theater. That's what the book is about pretty much.
Let's say we have a TV series that we're working on but we don't have the money to create it from start to finish, what is the process for making that project successful?
I personally wouldn't create a full on TV show from start to finish. I would suggest if you are interested in pitching it, interested in getting it on networks, so you want to pitch the networks so you can get it on TV, there's two options. You can shoot the TV show from start to finish if you want to that's a lot of episodes. Or you can go and shoot a sizzle of what the show would be about, a three to five minute sizzle. After you have developed the show, after you have developed the idea thoroughly; meaning not just that first pilot episode you've written a script of what could potentially be a full on show, but you've developed the show for a couple of seasons so that your idea is multidimensional, it's complete.
After you do that, then I would suggest you shooting a sizzle to give the mood, the tone to show who your characters are, just pulling some pieces of the show. Then using that to shop it. That would be my suggestion. I wouldn't spend money on anyone shooting an entire season or episode of shows for television because nine times out of ten, none of it will be used. You have to go through development. Even once you've developed the show, you're going to have to go through development with the network.
I only asked that because there's a lot of conflicting information out there. People who are filmmakers, they have an idea for a show. I went down this road and it took me two or three years to learn all that I've learned up until now. When you have an idea for a series, I went out there and took a class on how to write a pilot. One teacher will have information about, you have to write a pilot and then you have to have a pilot episode shot and have all these things. That is putting you down the road of becoming a writer for TV, which you do not have to be. It doesn't fit everyone. For me, I'm not interested in that. I'd rather be directing or behind the scenes in some other way. Learning that you don't actually have to shoot an entire pilot and you don't have to write every single script out for the entire series because likely, if a network comes along and they want your show, they're going to rewrite it anyway. What do you mean when you say develop and the idea of the season? How much is involved with that?
After you have developed the show, after you have developed the idea thoroughly, then I would suggest you shooting a sizzle to give the mood.
When I talk about developing a season, the first mistake that many of us make is that we just go in with simply having a concept or an idea or this first pilot episode that's being written. But we haven't thought through every element of the show, what each episode would look like throughout. While I'm not suggesting that you write every episode out, you still want to have an idea of the arc of the season of the show. Where is this going? You wrote the pilot, where is the rest of the show going? What's going to happen to Sally and John and Jim? Where do they go in the seventh episode and the eighth episode? With that, when you're developing a show, everyone should come up with a show bible. In that show bible, it's going to talk about the premise, it's going to talk about the character, the characteristics, the prototypes, what they are, who they are. Everything about these characters that you have developed to create multidimensional characters.
What happens is most people stop there, most content creators develop these amazing characters and then they're put on this blank slate because they haven't the thought through the world of the show. Where do they live, how do they exist, what does that look like? Paint that picture for us. Many people will say that's set in Brooklyn, but what does this look like? Which part of Brooklyn? There's different parts of Brooklyn. Explain what that looks like and how does that play. Because if you take a setting, Brooklyn in the project, that's one thing. But if you put it in one of the elite and eclectic parts of Brooklyn, then that's another look. How do you do that? You write that out in the bible. You paint those pictures for people so that your characters are great, but they also exist on this amazing canvass as well. The canvass is the writing. It's how you built out what that backdrop looks like when people sit on their sofa and tune in to your show.
When you're developing the show, you develop all of these things, you develop out what characters and their descriptions, you develop the episodes. It could be a paragraph, this is what's going to happen in these episodes. Episode one, this is going to happen. Episode two, this is going to happen. You paint those pictures up through the arc and the finale of that season. You still want to give an overview of what will happen in the second season and what would happen potentially in the third season. You're not writing out every episode, but they could look at that and say, "I know where this is going, and they've thought through the show."
When you're doing that process, for example, coming up with all these possibilities for these characters, that's when someone might realize your show is probably better as a feature film because you don't have as many possibilities and ways for them to keep going.
To me, that's a decision that's made much earlier in the process. That's a decision you make, "I'm going to do a film or I'm just going to do a television show." If you're going to do a film, then you're building out the acts and the structure of what that film would look like. You're going to build a treatment then. Many people, and I've made this mistake before, we just get to writing because we know we're writers. We're free styling, we're just going and we're writing, but we haven't thought through all of what I just explained, what it looks like, even if it's for a film. People have asked me, "What if I'm not going to any investors and I'm going to shoot it with my own money, do I need to do a bible? Do I need to do a treatment? Because I got it in my head." To them I say, "Absolutely," because again, it's what's going to set you apart. Even if you have this film that you're doing, it's in your head, but how do other people understand what's going on in your head? Nine times out of ten, even if you explain it to them, they're taking their experiences, their own experiences when they were in those situations or those things that you're explaining and they're putting their backdrops onto your idea.
When it's time to carry this show out, they're not thinking like you. But if you put this in a treatment and you give them visual ideas or some sort of look book where they can visualize what your farm looks like, what that deserted tunnel, that deserted space looks like or whatever. When you give them that, show them that visually, then everyone is on the same page. These are things that I think should be done in the beginning. You decide, "I have an idea. I want to do a TV show. I have an idea. I want to do a film." If it's a TV show, you know your ideas cannot run out, "I have to stretch this over a season, how do I do that?" Then you build that out through an outline, "I know this is where we're ending up. This is the finale. This is what I want to happen by the end, what's happening in here." You build that out and put it in a bible so people can follow along with you, or a treatment so people can follow along. Because you've got to get that to a production team.
I want to also explain to people how difficult it is because it seems like there are so many stories out there of these one in a million people, like Lena Dunham, for example. She just won some film festivals and someone discovered her. There are different ways of success for everyone and there are a million ways for anyone to be successful. To get your TV show on the air, how does one do that in your experience?
I think even with Lena, I would say it's a relationship game for the most part. It's building relationships. It's cultivating the relationship after you've built it. It's not necessarily, "I'm going to connect with you," and you leave the connection, and as long as you connected, that's the end of the thing. No, "I'm going to connect with you. I'm going to keep communicating with you." Last night, I went to an event because I've been trying to get in front of this one lady who I feel can fund an idea that I have. This is the second event. The first event, I made the connection. I'm on social media all the time liking the posts. I made sure that I like them before my first meeting. This is my second event that I put myself into. The first one, I knew that I was going to be going to this event and I knew I needed to get in front of her. I kept liking her posts on Twitter. She has a heavy following on Twitter. I kept liking her posts.
It's building relationships. It's cultivating the relationship after you've built it.
Sometimes, she poses these engaging questions, I answered her question about what my goal in life is. She liked it. I said, "I'm getting noticed." I kept doing that. Finally, I said, "I can't wait to see you at this event on Monday." She never replied to that. Of course I saw her, I made the connection. I scheduled a meeting with her, "I would like to meet." I had my fifteen second pitch because everybody was waiting to talk to her. "This is what I do, I would love to talk more about it. Is it possible that I could grab a quick chat?" "Absolutely, take my number." We scheduled some time out. She was so busy that it took a month to get on the call with her. We set it, but we set it for a month away.
We had the call, she said no to three things. She said, "But I would be interested in connecting you with this person," a person that's always been on my list to connect to because he's big in the film festival industry. He owns a film festival that is ginormous. Perfect. Then I had to say, "You can't stop liking her tweets," because now I'm an opportunist. I was only doing that because I wanted something from her. You have to continue to cultivate the relationship. The event yesterday was $79. I'm going to go there, I'm going to be there and I wanted to get into her face again. Would you believe she wasn't there? But it was the company that she worked for anyway. Because they had so many cameras, it's almost impossible for her not to know that I was there because the person on the stage called my name out, which was so awesome for me. I'm like, "This is going to be perfect." I'm still cultivating.
I went and I replied to another tweet because I thought I was going to get in front of her again. This is me cultivating that relationship. I talked to another colleague that I know knew her. She was like, "I'll mention your name." I was like, "Please do." I need her hearing my name so that she feels like, "Her and I need to partner." I need it to be her idea. To answer your question, we need to be cultivating these relationships so that eventually, it seems like it's their idea. "Why don't I bring that in?" Even with Lena, Lena had a lot of relationships before. She did have the film festival thing, but I believe it's because she's had relationships that she has been cultivating. That's how we're getting on. I think now that as I'm cultivating relationships and I'm in so many development executives' ear and I didn't go through the typical way that everybody would tend to go through. I said, "I need your advice for my book." That was one way I got through the door.
She used her book as a way to connect with people. For me, I used my podcast in that very way. For our audience, have you ever thought of creating your own podcast? It might be a good way for you to get your foot in the door or to meet new people. The LoudaVision podcast was started as a way for me to learn from people I would otherwise never meet, like Squeaky, who's awesome. It's really fun and I love being able to speak to great guests about whatever I feel like. I then get to share that information and what I'm learning from them with you. It has increased my confidence a million percent. Anyone can have a podcast on any topic for any reason, believe me. I'm going to teach you how. Go on over to LoudaVision.com and check out my quick course on how to hone your concept, create, record and share your very own podcast. It's all online so you’ll learn at your own pace, whenever and wherever you like. Again, that's LoudaVision.com. If you like coupons as much as I do, here's a coupon code for 10% off the course, just use the code “Squeaky” when you check out. I look forward to listening to your podcast very soon.
On my blog and in the book I talk about the big ask. I wrote a couple of blogs about this because people don't listen. When people say, "How did you get through the door?" "I have asked them to do this." Many people walk away and say, "Really? You asked? I wish it was that simple." But it really is. So few people are asking big that it leaves the door open for people who are actually asking or taking the risk to ask. It's leaving the door open for us because people are believing it just can't be that.
A lot of these production companies and networks, they have no solicitation. They won't take any content that was not asked for. You can't just go on this production company's website and send them your script anymore. It doesn't work like that. I think it's great that you stated cultivated relationship. With the internet, we now have so much information on who is working at these places that are our target production company or our target network.
In my book, #100Pitches, I talk about the research that is necessary for us to do to start cultivating a relationship. My research, I'd be on Twitter looking at these people. People are mostly going to say, "I'm going to go to IMDb Pro and I'm going to look to see who's at the company, what's the executive's name and I'm going to get that." But even if I start there, I now have stalked them out on LinkedIn, I'd Google them, I'm following them. In fact, I put an alert on Twitter every time they're on Twitter, I'd go on. Every time they say something, I go on. I know what they're saying, I know what they're talking about, I know that they have the cutest little dog. I am just steadily alerted on their lives so that I can be in the know. I'm looking for information that have nothing to do with them on the development side. I'm looking to see how we connect or how they're connected to the piece that I know I'm going to eventually pitch them with. If my show was about dogs, are they dog lovers? If it's about a dog that help save the life of a cancer patient, do they know people that have cancer? Maybe they're not a dog lover, but maybe they have the heart for people with breast cancer. I'm looking for that type of information to see how do I connect with them before I reach out to pitch.
Research is necessary for us to start cultivating a relationship. It's not about the pitch itself. It's about the connection.
My research goes deep. It's not about the pitch itself. It's about the connection. Before you know it, I'm using their exact words in another way so it's almost like, "This is deja vu." I'm like, "Really? Is it?" I know it is because I stalked you out. If you only knew. It's impressive. I think I have a knack for writing an email to get through the door. I do give a lot of examples in the book of potentially how to write. Not only do I give examples, I show how they work. Even in some of my blogs or on the private group, I'll say, "I just sent this email and look how it worked for me. Look at the response I got back from it." Sometimes it proves that what I'm saying really works. I say that to say that after I've done all this research, I don't mind lighting their fires. I knew this to get through the door. I'll pour out my heart like I'm so in love with them, "Oh my God, you 100% inspired me when you said blah, blah, blah. I cannot wait to watch this show. I think millions of moms around the world are going to be so in tuned because ..."
First of all, most of the time, it's a show that just came out that said, "Laura Meoli just got green lit for Cats and Dogs and it just came out on the 16th." I'm going to put in an email, "Oh my God, this show is going to be so amazing. I'm a dog lover and that's why I love your work. When you decided to do the show on Cats and Dogs," or whatever I read, I make sure I include that. They can say, "How did she know about that? She is ridiculous. Not only is she praising me," because we all want to be praised, we all want to feel like we're doing something or we're making a difference.
Even if you're Shonda Rhimes or major like that, you still have insecurities and you still want to be praised so you listen to it. They make you say, "Let me tune in. If nothing else, give her a response to say we don't take unsolicited content." For me, that doesn't ring anymore as rejection. It rings as, "Bingo, I'm starting a relationship. She can put Squeaky Moore now. She knows the name." So when the time is right or when I do meet her in person, then she'll go, "Squeaky, I remember you said that. You're the girl who praised me and knew."
Once we have this connection and we have a meeting, and it's probably going to be a week or a month in the future, how do we prepare for that pitch meeting without being completely anxious and freaking out?
Again, you would have prepared for the meeting when you did the bible. That's most of the preparation. I look at pitches as being subjective. There's no one way. Your story might be about cats and dogs and mine is about cancer. There's no one way to start, but I can say that there are things that definitely should show up. The biggest secret to pitching is storytelling. I say that over and over. I'm still not certain that people get it. How big, how important it is in no matter what you're doing. The bible, the treatment, the pitch in person, in email, it's about how can you tell a story and fit everything into the story that you're going to tell. How can you build out an amazing story? What we do is we spend all of this time creating the project and we become stiff and suit-ish when it's time to pitch it. Wait a minute, there's the creative person that wrote the project. You can't be this person. Now, you're reading from the paper, you're saying, "My log line is, this is a story about ..." What happened to the creativity there? Tell the story from the heart. You know your story, you understand it, just tell it. Start with the most important details about it.
A lot of us, we go to film school, for example, or we go to learn about how to make TV. They don't teach you how to pitch because on TV, all we see about pitching is that it's like being a salesperson. I think that's why a lot of people think that you have to button up and be a salesperson. It's not in our nature sometimes.
I like to use the word buttoned up, but differently. I don't mean literally. I mean if I could be very frank, have your shit together. That's what I mean by buttoned up. When you come, come where you totally know your stuff. You know your project. That blank slate is colorful when you can describe it. That's what I mean by buttoned up. You can talk about your characters, you can talk about where the show is going to go, where it's going to end. You can speak passionately about it. I don't mean go in there and be in a suit. Not if that's not you. You should go in however makes you comfortable, go in looking nice and put together but comfortable so that you can be able to be creative in that room. I like to engage in my pitch meetings. I teach people to be engaging. It's always about thinking, "How can I engage them and make them talk back to me?" That's a tip. Nobody knows that. You get in there, you're talking about the piece and that's fine, but how can I engage them? I want them talking back. Not just bringing up random things, how can I engage them with the show or the film that I created?
That's a tip I've used in teaching. Being able to teach someone something is best when it's asking questions, getting them to bring you the answer. Incorporating that into a pitch is just genius.
If I had to offer anything, those are the two tips. Engage them, make them think, make them talk back to you and tell a story. Keep telling a story. Tell the story and build out a story. Start it with the most important character and the most important conflict. Or you can choose to say, "I'm going to start talking about the premise of my story, which is the thing that sets them on this journey." The thing that happens right at the beginning that's the reason why we watch the whole movie in the first place. We are coming to see how it's going to end. This is the thing that sets them on the journey. Maybe you decide, "I'm going to engage them around the premise of the story, then I'm going to start talking about my project throughout."
What if they're not going for it? What if you could just tell they're not into it?
Engage them, make them think, make them talk back to you and tell a story. Keep telling a story.
If they're not going for it, they're not going for it. This is the thing, maybe they're not going for it because it doesn’t sink with their mandate. That's neither here nor there because if your story doesn't work for them, it just doesn't work for them. I don't care how you pitch it. But what you can leave out there on the table is this, "I will bring her back anytime because she came in buttoned up. She had her shit together. We just can't accept that show here or that film here. But I'll bring her back in because she's a great storyteller. She finished everything, she had multidimensional characters, multidimensional world. It just doesn't work for me at this time."
That's fine. But you finished out your pitch, you finished doing what you do and then you end it, maybe you can say to them, "I'm a storyteller at heart. If this doesn't work because I have a better understanding of your network or of your studio and what you're looking for now ..." Or you can ask, "What are you looking for?" Then finish with, "Now that I have a better understanding of your network and your studio, I want to create specifically for you. Do you mind if I have a great story to tell and I built one out, in the future do you mind me pitching that out to you?" That's developing that relationship now.
TV is changing a lot lately. Not every show is going to make it to cable or to a network. With all these streaming platforms, what have you seen in being able to adapt to your project to fit the way people actually consume TV today?
People are creating for digital projects. I like to say that there's addendum to every project. You may have a vision and you may say, "This is perfect for television," but all of the networks you thought it was perfect for, let's say they said no. Then you start thinking outside of the box. Where can this show live? When I say addendums, to me, if I had to put it like I would put it, it would be Tyler Perry that idea. Tyler Perry will take a stage play, make it a movie and then that same show goes to TV for seven seasons. Same play with the same themes, the same characters, then go from a film to TV. You have to Tyler Perry that thing.
You have to create addendums for it so that, "It didn't go there. I can make it a web series. I can do my own thing with it. Let me look into digital spaces." Who has the type of digital space? Can it live in the digital world? Maybe it didn't go to a network, but can it live on your digital space, NBC's digital platform? Who else has platforms where this could potentially live and we can do some sort of web sharing or they can buy it out and put it up there or they can acquire it. That's something you can ask, "For some reason, I thought this show would be perfect for you. Do you think this would be something that if it was broken down into a smaller segment, do you think it would be great for your digital space?"
Being flexible with your project?
I'd say you should always be flexible. But go for your goal. If your goal is television, fight until you can't fight it anymore, until you're like, "I've exhausted all of the networks. I pitched ten different networks. Let me open my mind up to other avenues." That's where the flexibility I think should come in.
Sometimes people might give us ideas that we never even thought of and it might work better.
If you like it and you say that, and because you said it might work better, then go for it. Let me give you a true example that just happened recently. I pitched a production company last year and they thought the idea would be good if done in the teen space. In fact, I went there and I pitched five ideas. They were interested in an idea that I wasn't even prepared to pitch. I just went with the moment and I just made it up on the spot. They said, "That's a good idea. It will be really good if you could bring that back but put it in a teen space."
I spent the year building it out. I didn't spend all my time doing it, but when I was ready, I was like, "Let me see what this would look like. Let me play with this development of it." With that, asked them, "Can I come back in? Remember that show? It's ready. I would love to come in here and pitch it." I went in, I even attached talent. I got the talent, took them into the pitch meeting, they loved it. "You might want to produce some studio testing on this." Perfect. "We're going to bring this up to the higher ups, this will be the next steps." They got back, they took it to the higher ups, "This is really such an amazing show, but I just feel like it's not going to work in the teen space." I stared at my email like, "Really? You don't think this is going to work for the teen space? This was your suggestion." I didn't say anything.
Ironically, I was talking to someone at Center TV with the same idea. She said, "Our demographic always want shows like the one you're pitching right now, but they never show up for it." When I got that email and they had said the same thing about the teen space, luckily it had come behind that or I would have really been pissed. "You're the ones who told me this." Because they said that, I was just like, "Sure, I totally understand. However, I have some ideas brewing that I think will be perfect for you. Do you mind if I come back in the future once I've developed it?" "Squeaky, we love your work. Your work is so amazing. This is such an amazing story. It needs to be told. I just don't think it's going to be right here." Fine. But I kept the door open. That's what matters most.
Even with that, I've already started working my addendum to it, taking the same idea and saying, "What I need to do is I need to move season two and season three up in my development," which was in the deck. They probably just didn't get that far through it in my bible to realize that I had set the season two and the season three completely out of the teen space. I just made a quick adjustment. We've got to build out a show. I need to go head on and build out season two so that they can see it and then take season one, the original season and put it back to season three. It doesn't matter, they'll have a completely different show, same everything. I'm just building out completely different episodes for an older demographic.
I'd say you should always be flexible. But go for your goal.
You're just being flexible. You've been using your creativity. I was on your Pitch 101 blog. I noticed in one of them that you wrote, "To know your why." Can you elaborate on that a bit?
I believe you're talking about the visibility piece. No matter what you're talking about or no matter what it is, you should know why you wrote something, why you're doing it, why this story must be told. I know my why about my book, for instance. I know that this book, I'm so passionate about more stories being told, specifically minority and women that I am writing this book and I am on a mission to teach people what I know. That is my why. To further my why, it's because I felt dejected and what did it do to me as a content creator when I was told no or because I can't get through the doors. A door that so many men can easily get through or other people can easily get through with worse projects that we go to movie theaters and we see and we support. How does this make it? I know my why.
Every project that I do, I'm a big social issue person. If I'm doing a story with a social issue, then I know my why behind it. This is why it affected me in my life. This is the story that I want to tell. People connect to your story. That's why storytelling in pitching is so important. They connect to the story, they connect to the why more than they probably will with the characters. If they understand your why behind it or why this character is the way they are, that's where they're connecting to. I may not understand the person that's experiencing cancer, I may not understand what they're actually going through when they're under the radiation, but I can understand the thing of losing a child. If I am faced with death, I'm potentially losing my child because who's going to raise them? I can understand that thing. If you're storytelling, story tell the why, your why. Find a way to make those things so pronounced that they become universal no matter what the story.
You want to touch people emotionally.
I love that you give these practical tips for pitching, but also I really like that you incorporate your spiritual side in your advice and I'm sure in your book. I feel like we need a miracle sometimes to get our project to the next level. How does your faith keep you going in this tough industry with so much rejection?
As I've been doing podcasts, I've been saying, what's the bigger picture? The book is such a small niche, it's pitching. But the book is my story, it's my why. What really am I offering people? What is this book really about? Last year, it was my year of development. I realized that I was so spiritual and I really love God and I lacked faith. Atheists have more faith than I do. It may sound funny now, but that was a huge blow to me. How can I be the biggest spiritual person in the world and have so little faith? That was one thing on my development journey that I had to get ahold of.
Value was another spiritual journey that I went on. Learning how to value myself and value my work. Why are these things important? Because you cannot go into a pitch meeting and not value yourself or your work and win. You can't win in a pitch meeting if you go in with the mentality of, "Is it good?" I had to get ahold of that. My #100Pitches journey was about getting ahold of my faith and me valuing myself and the quality of my work. I didn't even get on this podcast today without doing the necessary work to build up my confidence in myself, to appreciate myself before I could get in this call to talk about what I'm talking about. I had to develop a routine, a morning routine to be able to reach out to people to say, "I need to have a call." That needs a certain amount of gumption, a certain amount of balls to be able to get on there.
Otherwise, when I get on, I sound wimpy and unsure of myself. I write about the moment, it's not about the spiritual side, but just the moment when I realized in my pitch. Because I realized that was yet another pitch, pitching to try to break the proverbial wall of getting through the door or break the door down or whatever, to get through the gatekeeper is a pitch. I realized sounding wimpy on the first ten or so calls, "I was trying to get through, who is the person that I should be speaking to," trying to figure that out, I realized I had to be bold in order to get it done. The moment I made the discovery, the next call, I was calling the Will Packer Production Company. He is the guy for all of the Think Like A Man franchise, all of the Stomp the Yard type of films. Now, he has a deal with ABC or NBC.
I would never forget, by the time I got to them, I was just like, "I'm calling to speak to Kathy. Let her know Squeaky from Moore Squeaky Productions is calling." The guy was like, "Hold on, Squeaky." Then he came back. Now, he's unsure, "Squeaky, I'm sorry. What production company?" "Just tell her Squeaky from Moore Squeaky Productions." Like, she'll know. I didn't say it, but that was the inflection of my voice. He was like, "Okay, hold one moment." He put me right through to her and I'd go on with my spiel. Now, I'm in full pitch mode. She goes, "Wait a minute, what production company are you calling from?" I had to go on and be frank with her, "Let me just tell you. Here's the deal. I really wanted to make a connection with you, Kathy. I really thought what I had to offer is so amazing. I understand the whole unsolicited thing, but I wanted to be able to make the connection if nothing else." Then she says, "Yeah, we don't do unsolicited materials, but maybe if you have a very small budget project or maybe even something for the digital space, we'll take a look at it." Bingo, made the connection. It's all I needed to do.
I wake up and I meditate. I visualize myself pitching, telling a story, then I do affirmations.
Every morning I get up, I call it the miracle morning. I read a book by Hal Elrod called The Miracle Morning. Of course, I added my own stuff to it. I do over 100 affirmations. I am not kidding you. I wake up and I meditate. I visualize myself making these calls. I visualize myself pitching, telling a story, then I do affirmations. By the time I do these affirmations, I am ready to jump off the building like God is going to catch me if I leap. Then you have to read something, read something for ten minutes that makes you smarter. My reading goes a little longer, that's when I do my devotion with God. Another thing that I had to do to tackle my faith was I had to go through the bible and I had to go and understand who God was again and I had to say what He has promised me. I wrote a list of promises that He made to me. I'll read those and affirm those. I just put my name in them, "You said that you would give me the desires of my heart." I do those plus the other affirmations. I am soaring by the time it's time for me to go and tell my story.
I write down an agenda. Sometimes I want to talk to them about three or four different things because I may not be looking to pitch, but I have a business to and I'm trying to bridge the gap for independent content creators. “Can you come to my next bootcamp? This is my big idea. Once this happens, can I come back and have a conversation with you because I want your network to be the platform in which I get all of these independent content creators that I vetted and their works? I need to be able to put them on your network. Can I do that?” It's all of these different things. I write out my agenda. When I'm talking, I'm bold, "I got this idea. The next two things that I want to talk about is this." They respect the confidence that I have. It's only because I've spent the hour building myself up for the call.
In that way, nobody can tear you down, even a no or a hang up or however bad it can end up.
But it can't end up bad. Because if I go there buttoned up and I'm confident, I've established a relationship. The deal may not go through, but I have a relationship. I can walk through the door anytime as long as they're behind the door. That's a win to me. I won. When you reframe your thinking around that, if this is right or if it's wrong, that's neither here nor there, I have a relationship. If I can't get my project through the door, I've got hundreds of people coming to me about their projects because people feel like, "Squeaky can make it happen." I'm like, "Why do you all feel like that? I can't even make my own. I'm trying to make my own stuff." People believe that I can do it so I have to go through there and do it for them. Maybe it's not my project, but I could be executive producing or producing on another project and that may be the one. As long as my people are getting through the door, by all means, it still helps me. As long as I'm able to build the relationship, I've won. As long as I can come back with another idea, I've won.
That's perfect. Thanks, Squeaky. To connect with Squeaky Moore, you can go to ThePitch101.com or follow her on Twitter or Instagram @SqueakyMoore. She's also on Facebook @ThePitch101. Her book #100Pitches: Mistakes I've Made So You Don't Have To is available now.
As for me, I'm filmmaker, artist and your host Laura Meoli. You can connect with me, getting creative tips and inspiration on social media, that's Twitter, Facebook, Instagram @LoudaVision. You can listen to more of these podcasts, read my blog, watch my videos and contact me, just go to LoudaVision.com. If you like what you've heard, please take a moment to rate and review this podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud. Thanks for listening.
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