There will be thousands of visual media outlets in the next few years, said “media goddess” Laurie Scheer, talking to filmmakers eager to learn first-hand from this Hollywood insider in our midst at last Saturday’s IFP conference
With the proliferation of outlets providing so many opportunities to sell content, “you must think beyond the traditional 60- to 90-minute format,” she asserted.
“Networks are dead,” she proclaimed. “You must think online, because that’s where it’s going to be.”
Scheer, who has been teaching at Flashpoint Academy this year, is preaching the gospel of multiplatforms — matching content ideas with multiple outlet opportunities in order to sell your project.
“Know that your content is needed,” she said. “Know that whatever cable show is doing well, say on the Discovery Channel, be assured the producers are looking for companion pieces.”
In order to pitch like a pro, you have to know what’s going on in the ever-changing marketplace, Scheer’s strongest advice is to research.
“It’s all there on the internet. Read the weekend box office grosses, learn who the leaders are, what topics or stories are selling right now,” she urged. “Your idea must resonate with the current culture.” A good place to look for trend is, in all places, the Wall Street Journal.
The reason for all this homework? “So you won’t look like an idiot when you get a chance to pitch.”
And when you are in the producer’s office pitching your idea, “Present yourself as the only one who could be attached to this project. You’re the expert.
“Tell them what your involvement in the production will be. Do you want to sell the idea? Direct, produce? You know what you know, and they know you know what you want.”
Your pitch must be down pat,” she said. “You must speak with authority, anticipate questions about the project and have different versions of your pitch ready.”
In addition, at the session you will need a one page synopsis and a short 3-5-minute trailer on what your show is about.
Scheer then offered a piece of advice you don’t get in books. “When offered a beverage, take it. Then be very specific about how you want it. ?I’ll take a decaf latte with soy milk,'” as a way to display your confidence.
Scheer’s advice comes from many years in the forefront of cable programming. She was VP/programming for WE Women’s Entertainment, and developed and produced shows for other cable companies.
Scheer is the pitching coach at NATPE’s convention and L.A. TV festival and will speak at the upcoming NAB on multi-platform and digital marketing.
In addition to teaching at high level colleges, she is a mainstay of Media Bistro seminars. You can catch Scheer in action May 6 at a Media Bistro seminar on “How to Write for Online,” at the Theatre Building, 7-10 p.m. See