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Mind Your Business: Pitching Animation Like Martin Landau

Mark Simon gets a little Entourage inspiration.

Mark Simon interviewed on NATPE TV. Images courtesy of Simon.

I love to pitch ideas. It's fun to share my concepts with other people.

Every situation is different. I pitch in formal pitch meetings one way and impromptu pitches in other various ways. Certain projects even have various needs.

I also enjoy watching good pitches. You never know when you will get inspired by a pitch. A couple of years ago I was inspired by a pitch technique I saw on an HBO comedy series.

Recently, I was attending NATPE in Miami. It was a fun event (as long as you didn't have to deal with the insanity of the ill-working elevators) with tons of industry executives and creators.

I went to a session which was hosted by Kevin Beggs, president of Lionsgate TV Group. I wanted to pitch my B.C. and Wizard of Id properties to him.

Kevin Beggs, president of Lionsgate TV Group, speaking at NATPE in Miami.

At the beginning of the session, I listened to Kevin introduce himself and what Lionsgate TV looks for. They are concentrating on acquiring known properties. As I was sitting there trying to think of the best way to catch Kevin's attention in a brief pitch, I remembered a character from HBO's Entourage.

Martin Landau played Bob Ryan on a four-episode run on the series. Landau's character was an old-time producer who started every pitch the same way, "If I told you that I had (something incredible), is that something that would interest you?"

You can see a collection of Landau's quotes on YouTube. While the quotes may sound a little cheesy, the idea behind them is great. Start with an element of high interest and get the other person to ask for more.

I thought it was brilliant. So after the session, I went up to Kevin and introduced myself. I then said to him, "Kevin. If I told you I had two properties which have over a 100 million daily readers around the world, would that interest you?"

He responded, "Yes it would. What do you have?"

That was a perfect introduction to get him interested in what I had to say next. I had his complete attention, even as we were surrounded by other NATPE attendees trying to get his attention. Two minutes later he asked me to send him my treatments.

Who knew my love of an HBO series would inspire a type of pitch. Hey, if it works, it works. 

Visit Sell Your TV Concept Now for more.

Mark Simon, co-founder of, is hosting the Pitching Animation webinar with Max Howard ( Igor, The Lion King, The Iron Giant) on March 24. Register now at Save $35 with the early bird discount until March 4th.