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Blog: Pitch Up at BAFTA

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After work on Monday night I strolled through London's Fashionable THEATRELAND Area Of London to head to the headquarters of BAFTA, where there was a special event about PITCHING for Comedy and Drama shows. It had been suggested to me by the esteemed Mr D Green, who works there. He's kindly suggested a FEW similar events in the past, knowing I'm doing the Playwriting/Screenwriting MA, but I've not been able to go before as they always seem to be on MONDAYS when I'm usually AT school. We're still on Easter hols at the moment tho, so I was FREE!

After getting slightly lost (I'm not familiar with Piccadilly, it is WAY outside my hood) I eventually met Dave in the BAR upstairs, where he showed me a GRATE IDEA he is developing. Amazingly, in this day and age, it was an actual THING, with WIRES and CHIPS and stuff, rather than an Idea or Program or WebCloudHologram or something, and tho it is SECRET I can say EXCLUSIVELY that it is Dead Good, Interesting and rather EXCITING.

We finished our beers and headed down for the event itself, which had started a minute EARLY so we had to CREEP IN. There had been a COMPETITION beforehand for people to send in PITCHES for new drama and comedy shows and they'd chosen the best TEN to pitch live at the event. I'd sent in an idea for a show called "Mum & Dad" which, INCREDIBLY, didn't get through - maybe they thought it was CLEARLY TOO GOOD? That's probably it.

The pitches themselves were ALL pretty good, with varying degrees of confidence in the pitchers. It was interesting to see that the people who really WENT for it in a big dramatic way didn't come across as the best - both my favourites were done quite calmly and quietly, but you believed that they totally knew what they were on about, and were full of IDEAS. The judging panel of five Proper Big Media Types offered feedback on the ideas and pitches and asked questions - the PRIZE was to have one of them meet you for more advice and THINKING. The feedback ALSO was dead interesting, not least because they discussed Actual Practicalities a lot more than ARTSY stuff, like the fact that it's much easier to sell something if there's a chance for a second series, or that you can't really have a TV show that features fighter pilots actually FIGHTING in PLANES very much.

At the end we all voted for our favourites, and I was pleased that MY favourite won both the audience vote AND the judges - it was a comedy drama about a family who have a patch in their garden where, if you bury a body, that body will be resurrected next day. It was a good idea REALLY well presented - my second favourite was the aforementioned one with FIGHTER PILOTS in, which came second.

Then we stood around and had a CHAT about Fascinating Things. One of the many good things about going with Dave is that he KNEW people - I'm always afeared at this kind of DO that I'm going to end up stood on my own drinking a beer VERY QUICKLY, maybe lurking NEAR a group of people, then FLEEING at HIGH SPEED. This time we got to talk to a couple of people involved in video games, with MANY interesting things to say - not least that MOST pitches these days would have to have something to say about cross-platform options, like social media strategies, online content, extra videos etc. That alone was worth going to find out - oddly NONE of the ten pitches that evening had mentioned any of this though.

Another good thing about going with Dave is that he knew where the EXTRA FREE BEER was kept (there was FREE BEER as part of the event!!) so we got to have one of those too, and ended up a) being AGHAST to talk to someone about my age, brought up in the UK, who had NEVER HEARD of Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds (HOW!?!?) and b) discussing FILMS, fittingly for the location.

It was a brilliant night out, not only EDUCATIONAL but also featuring FREE BEER. WINZ all round!

posted 17/4/2013 by MJ Hibbett

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