On Pitching: What You Don’t Know May Shock You – An Interview with Former HBO Exec Michael Garcia

I sat down with Michael Garcia, former VP of Drama Development at HBO. With hits like The Sopranos, Big Love, and True Blood-a whole new perspective on the art of pitching emerged Nat: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about your career? M: The factual account is like this: I moved out here 11 years ago. I started at 20th Century Fox as an assistant in comedy development and left to go to Industry Entertainment before starting up at HBO. Over 7 years I became the Vice President and the co-head of Drama series. Nat: Is there a value system you live by that brought you up the ranks so quickly? M: I had just turned 24 years old and I was an executive already, right? And what happened was that I shifted my way of thinking from one rooted in ambition, to thinking, “What can I give in this situation?” How can I help? It takes the pressure off, and it all becomes about learning, and people, and facilitating communication. Nat: So it’s almost as though regardless of external frames of reference-wealth, money, power-you were able to capture a core essence of who you are. M: Exactly. When I finally started to have integrity, then everything made sense. There are two polar orientations: 1. What do I get from this? verses 2. What can I give to this? Nat: Let’s use that as a turning point and step into the minds and hearts of the artists who are trying to get their stories told. M: If you can walk into a room knowing who you are...

7 Simple Tips to Sell Your Film or Show

With seven simple tips, Harvard psychology professor Stephen M. Kosslyn utilizes his latest research on cognition, memory and perception, to offer some pointers for filmmakers conquering the final frontier-marketing the product. Join our resource page on Facebook,  “The Art of the Pitch” for more great tips on how to effectively present ideas and to share your insights with others.   1.) Use Words AND Pictures. The brain processes both in two different places; using both is twice as effective!  2.) ALWAYS tell a story.  Whether it’s the story of the film, the story of the making of the film, or the story of you, our minds connect to narratives!  3.) SPECIFY and TAILOR:  NEVER the Lowest Common Denominator.  Soccer moms in Encino might have a different agenda than hipsters in Silverlake.  Get creative in how you market and approach both!  4.) Speak TO people, not AT them.  If you can establish that connection with your audience, they are going to like you and your film that much better.     5.) YOU are the key element to selling your film.  The greater the range of communication tools in your arsenal (ie personal anecdotes, jokes, etc) the better. Think Barack, people. 6.) Take a Breather.  A photo, blank slide, joke, cartoon.  They give your audience a much needed break to absorb what they’ve already learned…pace the gems! 7.) Going Guerilla.  Be prepared for questions, interaction, getting down and dirty with your audience!  Interaction with your audience and your market is key to your success in doing this.  So don’t be afraid to talk about it and sell it!! Archives April 2018 (1) March...

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