Monday, June 15, 2015

New tools allow screenwriters to pitch from home

Sites take the travel out of pitching film, television

In Hollywood, like most industries, it's about who you know.  That gives people living and toiling in LA a huge advantage over people living elsewhere.

Since most agents won't take submissions, most connections come via a friend-of-a-friend (as so I'm told). To give folks like me access  (and to take our money) the pitchfest was born.

Fade In's Hollywood Pitch Festival and are two of the larger ones. The Hollywood Pitch Festival is July 24-26 in Los Angeles. A three-day pass costs $495. The 2015 Scriptfest was May 29-31 in Burbank, with tickets ranging from $300 to $750.

Each pitchfest is a little different, but most involve standing in a hotel ballroom trying to make small talk as you wait your turn to talk to your chosen film exec. All told, you're looking at spending $800 for a day of workshops and five minutes with eight agents, managers or production company execs.

I'm not passing judgment on whether that's a good value, I haven't been to either of those events. They might be worth it for the seminars and networking alone. But in that the information age there are new routes to get your film or television pitch before Hollywood types.

Here are three at to get your pitch to Hollywood:

Virtual Pitchfest 

Virtual Pitchfest allows users to pay to submit a query letter to selected Hollywood agents, managers, and production companies. The cost is $10 a pop, lower if you're buying in bulk. The service guarantees a response within five days.

Greenlight My Movie

Greenlight My Movie allows users to submit a completed short, a recorded pitch or a synopsis to selected agents, managers, and production companies. The cost is $29.95. Most responses come within 14 days according to the service.

Stage 32/Happywriters 

Stage 32 is a multifaceted social network for the world film community, so virtual pitch sessions are just part of what they do.  Stage 32 pitch sessions are sporadically held opportunities to engage in a live video chat with a specific film professional. The 8 minute skype session costs $45 but comes with the added benefit of live feedback without having to fly to Los Angeles.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Historic pussy kat photos hard to find

"Bottomless trial" defendants (tavern owner Leonard Glancy with Susanne Haines (left) and Shiela Brendenson) await the day's court appearance before Municipal Judge Earl Warren Jr.. Sacramento Bee August 27, 1969

Mini-documentary to proceed film, educate public, build audience 

Finding pictures of Orangevale's long-closed Pink Pussy Kat a Go-Go has turned out to be much more of a project than I expected. That's one thing documentaries don't come out and tell you: how hard it was to find the historic photos and interview subjects.
When I first started my screenplay "Pink," I was quick to dismiss any thought of doing it as a documentary. But as the project moved along, it became increasingly clear that telling this story as it really happened is also part of my mission.
For those new to this blog, in 1969 two dancers and the owner of the Pink Pussy Kat were arrested and went on trial for indecent exposure after the dancer performed without panties.
The trial became a nation story with Judge Earl Warren Jr. moved the trial to a strip club to allow the jury to see the exotic "bottomless" dance.
This photo, featuring the tavern owner Leonard Glancy and dancers Susanne Haines (left) and Shiela Brendenson, was obtained through the Center for Sacramento History.
The Sacramento Bee photo dated Aug. 27, 1969 shows the three awaiting  the day's court appearance before Municipal Judge Earl Warren Jr.
I've made some effort to find photographs of the club, the dancers, the scene, but in the coming weeks it will be time to take those efforts to a new level, hopefully with news coverage, advertising and an organized effort to hit up the places old men frequent. I'll update the post as more details become available.
The plan is for the mini-documentary to increase interest in the film. Have ideas on ways to find photos and live stories? Better yet want to help track down some of these people?