The Sitcom Pitch and other Tales of Timing…..

Here is something I don’t get; I get grilled about getting the perfect one line pitch that sells a sitcom script. Fine, it’s all good as nobody needs to hear some meandering semi nebulous idea of a boy in love with a fish (believe it or not this was made into a short film that propelled a talentless director to current mainstream success. When I recently went to a pitch session with established commissioners my semi meandering was battered to submission and I learned a lot about being concise and to the point. I may have a few completed scripts but before I get there I need to pitch within 3 minutes to people who have less than 2 for such things.

So what’s my point?

Read this for a pitch: Two supermarket colleagues who are forced to drive together in a company car share scheme.

Sounds like a total load of cock, right? Well, this is the pitch/ press release of Peter Kay’s new comedy series that is much trumpeted for the iPlayer and then BBC TV.

Admittedly it is a press release for the public but as it’s Peter Kay, he must have had a longer pitch to go into more detail as the one-liner  is a bit of an uninspiring one even though you know it will be a well-written show and therefore should have been worded better as if you are sitting in front of the commissioner himself . The people reading the article are going to be the eventual audience anyway.

Another pitch made is: A three-parter written by Peep Show co-writer Jesse Armstrong, about a politician compromised by his sexual appetites, is planned for BBC2.

Again with his pedigree it will be a solidly written piece of work but as the pitch is given it sounds pretty much like the other similarly themed programmes made recently. Sounds generic and if I pitched these two as they were I would be curtly kicked in the face. But then again they have earned their merit badges and can say anything/ do anything and have more time with the commissioners.  Maybe it just took me 331 words to just say hypocrisy.

In essence I have to get my act to 3 mins and the established get considerably longer.

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