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Mind Your Business: Love at First Pitch

Mark Simon hones in on the essentials of speed pitching.


There she is, sitting at the table across the room. My palms start to sweat as I slowly walk forward.

What will I say when I meet her? Will she be nice? Will she have to introduce me to someone else? What if she doesn't like me? What if she DOES like me?

Speed pitching is a lot like speed dating. You just have a few minutes to make a great impression and tell a great and memorable story. You move from table to table as you pitch your heart out.

This summer there are a number of conferences where you can pitch your TV and feature ideas; Great American Pitchfest, Banff World Television Festival, LATV Fest and Factual Entertainment Forum. These are great events, because you don't need an agent to introduce you or act as a chaperone.

You've always wanted to meet that cute little red-head girl working in development at the studios. What's the best way to meet her? How will I know where she will be? She'll be at these conferences and she's looking for guys with available concepts. (She might be looking for gals too. This is Hollywood after all.)

But there are lots of fish in the sea. You will want to pitch around to see where you and your idea fit best. It's best to start with someone you don't like quite as much. You're always nervous on that first date. Girls are never as interested in a guy who seems weak and needy. Save the pitch to the favorite girl until you've had some practice and your nerves calm down.

So now I'm getting closer to her table. Am I wearing the right clothes? Let's see. I look creative and I'm not wearing a suit or tie. Check.

Did I bring the right things? Should I have brought flowers? Candy? One-Sheets? Demos?

Oh god. She sees me. I can't turn back now. What will I say when I first sit down? Should I tell her about my ex and how the deal fell apart? No, that's probably not such a good idea.

As I pull out the chair to sit down, I try not to throw up. Why am I always so nervous on a first pitch? At least I know it gets easier. Hmm. I should introduce myself.

What advice did Dad give me about girls? Oh, yeah. Ask them about themselves and listen to them. Don't just talk all the time. If all you do is talk, you can't learn about what they are looking for.

Now I'm wondering how far I'll get. Will she tell me if she likes what I'm packing? Will we go all the way? Oh, man, I hope I can consummate this deal. But, sometimes it takes getting together a few times before I'll see any action. Maybe her parents will have to approve of me too.

So far, so good. I start with a little sweet talk. I'm being witty and charming. I'm telling great stories with interesting characters. She laughed! That's good, right?

It seems like she likes what I bring to the party. What now? Do I sit by the phone and wait for her to call? How long do I wait before I call her? Man this is nerve-wracking. I'm sweating up a storm. I hope I remembered to put on my deodorant.

It went quickly, but I think it went well. I gave her a couple of things to remember me by. I hope I said all the right things.

Hmm. I still have time. I'm at this conference. I guess I should pitch around, meet people and make the best use of my time. Mom always told me to be open to new opportunities. Play the field. The more I put myself out there, the better chance I have of scoring.

Mark Simon is an award-winning animation director/producer. His animation is online at He is also the co-founder of  He has pitched and landed more than 25 deals for his own projects.

Join Mark & Jeanne Simon's training: Pitch at the Summer TV Conferences. Go to for more info. No travel required.