Me and My Nine Iron

June 7, 2011

The Screenwriting Conference at The Great American Pitchfest


I spent last Saturday at this free, all-day conference at the Marriott Convention Center in Burbank. Why is it free, you ask? The actual pitchfest where you pay $50-$250 for unlimited pitches to studio execs. was the next day, and as for the speakers, they all have their own ridiculously expensive classes you can sign up for. (Don’t worry. None of the plugs are longer than a line.) It was informative to say the least, and the classes I focused on were representation for the new writer and how to pitch because contrary to popular belief, you don’t just sit back when you get an agent. You got to go to the meetings too and kick ass.

I walked into the first class just as it began and took a seat. The first person to talk to me that day was a guy who could’ve been in his 50’s lean over to me after a couple of girls walked in after me and said, “Mm, twins.” I knew it was going to be a good day.

From what I was told that day, here is the cut that each position takes, and they tell you that you need all of them.

Manager – 15% (Get him first because they can get you the agent and more than agents, they’re the ones that look for new talent. They can also hook you up with producers.)
Agent – 10%
Attorney – 5% (or hourly rate) (To review any legal documents.)

It’s a lot, but I’m still making more than I am now. Said by the panel, who I’ll get to later.

After a couple of classes, it was lunchtime. As I was backing up in the parking lot, I saw a guy hold a Baja Fresh drink so I asked him where it was. I don’t remember eating Baja Fresh too many times in my life, but what a mistake thinking it was like Rubio’s. I paid $9.50 for the cheapest steak burrito and soda, and it would’ve been a real crummy meal for $4.50. There was hardly any steak, their salsa bar and soda machine sucked, and it was all half-assed shit at a premium fast food price.

I was so close to going straight home because sitting in a classroom all day is both physically and mentally draining, but I decided to stick it out for one and a half more classes. I hadn’t actually heard from managers themselves what they actually do and look for, only others telling me what managers do and look for so I know I’d pick up on a thing or two by sticking around. The panel consisted of a manager, a producer and a couple others who had writing, acting and directing credits.

The manager reminded me exactly of Eric Murphy from Entourage, speaking fast in a raspy voice, almost in a nervous rush. He and the producer both talked about how busy they are, how many scripts they have waiting for them to read in their car and their bag right now. It’s amazing how many people in the business not a single person outside of it has ever heard of are millionaires, which is the feeling I got from the producer. And that he was gay.

The fourth and last class was a lot about nothing so I got the hell out of there. But all in all, it was a pretty cool source of free information. Forget the pitchfest, though. The goal is to have my second screenplay ready by the middle of next week.

BJ

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3 Comments »

  1. […] went to two seminars by Danny Manus, the script consultant who I actually heard speak at The Great American Pitchfest a few months earlier. He basically prepped those who were going to pitch later in the weekend how […]

    Pingback by Screenwriting Expo « Me and My Nine Iron — October 5, 2011 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  2. I’ll be sure to give mine 10%.

    Comment by Bryan — June 8, 2011 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  3. Sounds interesting. Would’ve liked to attend. And I didn’t realize managers get 15%. Seems high.

    Comment by Chris Le — June 8, 2011 @ 12:21 pm | Reply


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