Virtual Pitch Fest Uncovered
One of my favorite services out there for writers trying to get their scripts in the hands of the right executives is Virtual Pitch Fest. I first heard of the service years ago, when my ScriptShark client Tim Earnheart managed to get his script 360 to a CAA agent through site, who ultimately went on to represent the material for a period of time. The more time passed, the more writers told me about he service, and the message became clear: More often than not, the service worked.
Realizing that there’s a “there” there, I invited VPF’s owner, David Zuckerman, to lunch, and quickly discovered that the reason the service works is because it has a logical business model. Executives are required to respond, rather than just read your query. Their ongoing participation is based on their timely reply to the writers who contact them. It made perfect sense.
Now working as a full-time career coach for screenwriters. I continue to advocate VPF’s services to many of my clients. Because of this, I invited Davide to conduct a short interview with me, so that my readers could gain insight into this service, and ultimately have the information needed to make their decision for themselves.
Me: Hi David! It’s so great to connect with you again now that I’ve taken the plunge and made coaching my full time thing. Could you tell me a bit more about what service it offers to writers, and how it works?
David: Sure thing. VPF is the only website in the world that enables screenwriters to pitch Hollywood Pros online with the assurance of a response back. We now have 340+ participating companies, including major studios, prodcos & agencies. Some of our BIG PLAYERS include Paramount, CBS, Lionsgate, MGM, Warner Bros., Phoenix, Benderspink, Davis, Original, Alcon, Mandeville, Yari, & Paradigm. We’ve also landed several star–led companies, including those belonging to Owen Wilson and Will Smith.
Me: How did Virtual Pitch Fest come to be?
David: I started VPF after realizing that many of the writers I was helping as a consultant really needed a way to get their scripts to market. At the time, writers were being asked to pay very expensive travel, lodging and pitch fees to meet Hollywood pros at “live” events. So I decided to do the same thing online and charge much less – while providing guaranteed access.
Me: I know that one of my ScriptShark writers got repped by CAA through VPF. Any notable success stories my readers should know about?
David: Yes, thankfully, VPF has earned major cred in the biz, with site connections resulting in 65 script deals including successes such as Hallmark’s “Christmas Magic” and the feature film “Raspberry Magic.”
Me: Whether going through VPF or pitching to industry executives through other channels, what advice do you have to writers pitching their work?
David: I believe the #1 mistake screenwriters make is sending out their scripts before they’re ready. So I recommend making sure that your script is well-liked before pitching it. This usually means working with great people like yourself and receiving a lot of feedback on your script from professionals who know the biz. .
Me: What is the best way for a writer to help themselves stand out when using a service like Virtual Pitch Fest?
David: Have a pitch that is “the same, but different.” In other words, it should fit a traditional genre, but have a unique hook.
Me: What are some of the common mistakes that new writers make upon arrival with VPF?
David: The most common miscalculation many VPFers make as I see it, is not making use of the free query letter edit I provide for those who purchase the VIP package ($90 for 10 pitches + a free query letter edit if desired). Only about 20% of our clients take me up on this free edit, but those 20% are getting many more “yes” responses than those who don’t!
Me: Thanks, David! I really appreciate you taking the time to familiarize my readers with your service!