Whether you're reading this stuck in quarantine or just cannot get out to pitch, how do you look professional and poised on phone and Zoom calls?
I'm writing this post during the first week of the coronavirus outbreak. It's wild. Maybe you're reading this in the future and think this is a relic, and I hope that's the case. For now, all of Hollywood has shut down and all my interactions with producers on my projects has slowed.
In order to stay relevant and stay working, I've been trying to take pitches.
Those pitches come in the version of phone and Zoom, and they're so much different than what happens in person.
But what makes them different? And how can I make sure to ace my pitches or generals on the phone?
Today I want to go over 5 incredibly important tips I have for anyone trying to pitch over the phone or on Zoom.
Let's jump right in.
5 Tips to Handle a Phone/Zoom Pitch in Hollywood
As Hollywood plans to change its format for the time being, and maybe the future, let's go over some ways you can adapt.
1. Get Great Reception and Have a Decent Setup
Getting on a call with video or just pacing on your phone? Make sure you're doing it in an area where you can be clearly heard. That means away from construction sites, loud noises, barking dogs, and other distractions.
You also need to make sure your video background is clear. Don't have a mess behind you or an unmade bed, table with condoms, or a few empty beer cans.
And then the common sense...connection! Make sure your Wi-Fi is going strong and that your phone line works well. There's nothing that derails a pitch more than broken connections and missed words.
Test it with your friends and family if you have any worries.
2. Headphones Help
Wear headphones with a great microphone. They'll cut the echo on the phone or Zoom calls and ensure you hear what other people have to say, and that they hear you!
The most important thing when it comes to pitching outside of the room is clarity.
3. Pace Yourself
In any pitch, the pacing is important, but especially when you're not in the room. You want to give people time to understand and assess what you're talking about. When you're on the phone or Zoom, you often get ahead of yourself.
I know I talk faster when I'm not in person, so watch out for rambling.
I try to work forward at about 3/4 pacing to make sure I hit the right notes, especially since it's hard to tell if someone is paying attention if you're not there.
4. Ask Questions
The best way to track if they are paying attention is to ask questions. That will keep them engaged with you and keep their attention. So, how can you come up with the questions if you're pitching?
You can ask them about comparable movies or TV shows.
You can hope they have questions about how you'll pull certain things off in the story.
And you can ask them about the budget, characters, and the payoffs along the way.
If you engage with them, they'll engage with you.
5. 100% Attention
No matter what side of the call you're on, pay 100% attention. Don't answer emails or texts, surf the internet, type. People can ALWAY hear you typing. It's wild how people try to get away with it.
Paying attention is crucial.
Everyone's time is valuable.
No one wants to do things this way ideally, but as we try to move forward, this is the best way possible.
So, put in your full effort if you expect someone else's effort back.
What's next? Learn how to write a screenplay!
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