How We Came To LondonSWF and Ended Up Pitching In The Offices of Sky!

Lessons in Pitching: LSWF and Roadmap Writers

Screenwriters Rachel Goacher and Jacob Mulgrew discuss their experiences at the London Screenwriters’ Festival, and an exciting opportunity presented to them by the team at Roadmap Writers.

April. What a gem of a month you were.

When we walked into Regent’s University for the first day of the London Screenwriters’ Festival, neither of us quite anticipated how important the weekend would be. Of course, we planned (like most attendees) to pitch our project to the producers and companies in attendance. But one of the most valuable opportunities that fell our way was a total surprise

On day two, we attended a Features Pitch Clinic, hosted by Joey Tuccio from Roadmap Writers. The panel was dispensing knowledge like confetti and we were drinking in every moment. Then Joey said those magic words – let’s hear your pitches. “Why not?”, we thought and thus we pitched our game show-set heist drama, The Game.

The stakes were high, the prize was a pitch meeting with Laura Grange who’s the Commissioning Manager at Sky Cinema Originals. When they announced we won, our jaws hit the ground.

As two emerging writers from the North of England, it was an unbelievable experience to pitch our project to such a powerhouse in the British industry. We didn’t see it coming but we did learn a heck of a lot in the process.

ACT ONE: You have to be in it to win it.

When we showed up in the Final Draft Hall for the pitch clinic, we went to learn. But when it became clear that they were going to be listening to pitches, we were presented with a choice. Sit back, and let the opportunity pass us by, or throw our hat in the ring.

It sounds like a simple and painfully obvious lesson, but it really illustrates a simple truth: to succeed in this vastly competitive, often impenetrable industry, you have to take chances as they come. Maybe they’ll go nowhere – but it’ll definitely go nowhere if you don’t get out of your comfort zone and try.

ACT TWO: Practice, planning and passion.

We can’t emphasise how prepared we were to pitch at any given moment. There were so many opportunities over the LSWF weekend to pitch and it was always ready in our back pockets.

For us pitching is about the 3Ps – practice, planning and passion. The first is obvious – practice it backward, with people distracting you, filming yourself – it all helps when you’re in the spotlight. The second is all about having your idea in your bones – about being able to answer any question and knowing your characters like you know your own brother. The third is sweeping everyone in that room along with you – about being so excited and invested in your project that they can’t help but feel the same.

ACT THREE: We’re all on the same team.

We were nervous. A whole jangling bag of nerves. But one thing that helped us was remembering ‘we’re all on the same team’.

Producers, agents, executives – whoever – they all want you to succeed. They want you to have the next great idea, and to be the answer to their prayers. And there’s something calming about thinking you could be the answer to someone’s prayers.

It’s not about arrogance – far from it – it’s about knowing your worth. That’s something that’s not always easy for writers. We’re all a little neurotic, we’re all a little insecure. Still, I can’t express how that simple change in mindset has totally changed our approach to pitching. Do we still get nervous? Every damn time. But that’s the mantra that helps us take the stage – ‘we’re all on the same team’.

So, we’re into May, and we’ve now met with Laura at Sky. We think it went well, but even if nothing ever comes of this, or any of our other pitching efforts, we’re so grateful to have had the experience.

Our sincere thanks go out to LSWF, and to Joey at Roadmap, for this incredible opportunity. Hopefully this won’t be the last you hear from us!

Rachel Goacher & Jacob Mulgrew

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