How to Pitch a Screenplay with 'Despicable Me' Writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio

Recently here on NFS, we've discussed the emergence of the online pitch for screenwriters and the prevalence of pitch reels (or sizzle reels or mood/tone films or multimedia lookbooks) among directors looking to get hired for a gig. Today, I thought we could focus on good ol' fashioned pitching for screenwriters. Thanks to the folks over at MakingOf, screenwriters Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio (Despicable Me, The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who, Hop) reveal their pitching experiences, including the performance of a pitch, the importance of appearing not to care, and the reactions of the room.

While directors' pitches are becoming more elaborate with pitch reels/trailers in addition to printed lookbooks to convey their visions, Cinco Paul talks about screenwriters taking the opposite approach in the pitch meeting:

We’ve rarely brought visuals…. [G]enerally it’s just us presenting the thing, because I think sometimes visuals are considered a little hokey or trying too hard. I would recommend people not bring visuals generally.

In my last post on Kevin Tancharoen's Hunger Games pitch reel, I admitted that visual pitches are certainly the director's domain, but floated the idea that screenwriters may want to think about incorporating pitch reels into their presentations. Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio's advice would counter that (except in cases of animation or when a particular design element is key to a story, they admit). I tend to think they are right, yet I wonder. Today, Paul and Daurio admit they get to pitch in the much friendlier environment of Illumination Entertainment, the production company behind their scripts for Despicable Me, The Lorax, and Hop. There may still be a case for screenwriters bringing visuals to pitch meetings as pitches have evolved over the last few years.

Or, as Paul points out in the video, perhaps the appearance of not caring so much in the pitch meeting makes the screenwriter all the more attractive to the executives.

How do you think a screenwriter should pitch a story idea? Share your thoughts in the Comments.

Link: MakingOf - Pitching Scripts with Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio

[via The Story Department]

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Your Comment


Cinco Paul has forgotten more concepts than most people will ever create. Brilliant guy, and a very kind person too.

September 26, 2012 at 12:07PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Great footage. I had a chance to meet Cinco and Ken before and they were awesome! Very helpful, and gave me a ton of information about pitching. This was most of the same information: to just have fun with it. Great stuff!!

September 26, 2012 at 1:03PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Great to hear from people who have actually met Cinco and Ken. Thanks for sharing, and great to hear that they are kind and generous people.

BTW, the embedded video requires Flash player, so if you're on a mobile device that doesn't support Flash and can't see it, make your way to an ol' fashioned computer and check it out.

September 26, 2012 at 1:16PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Christopher Boone