123: How To Pitch To A Hollywood Executive with Stephanie Palmer, Good in a Room

Pitch Script to Hollywood
Film Trooper

[Podcast] How To Pitch To A Hollywood Executive

In this rebroadcast episode, I interview former Director of Creative Affairs for MGM Studios, and now the founder of Good In A Room, Stephanie Palmer.  Stephanie teaches filmmakers and screenwriters how to prepare for any pitch meeting.  Her advice will give you the best chances to succeed.

Stephanie has sat in over 3,000 pitch meetings and has been able to analyze why some pitches work and why most don’t … This is the insightful information that you want as a Film Trooper.

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Do You Know the 5 Stages of the Pitch?

**Back in 2015, Stephanie Palmer shared what she calls the 5 stages of the "pitch" in an article from IndieActivity.com**


Just as screenplays are structured in three acts, pitch meetings have five stages.

If you ignore the five stages and just try to “wing it” in the room, you’re like a writer trying to write a screenplay without understanding basic three-act structure.

Pitch Meeting Good in a Room

When you understand the structure of the five stages, you can decide when you want to follow the expectations and when you want to break the rules.



The goal: to connect in a personal way

Stage 1 is the small-talk phase that is the beginning of just about every meeting you will ever have.  It’s important because decision-makers want to work with people they like and trust.  If you’re prepared, the small-talk will hopefully turn into a deeper conversation about your common perspectives and interests.

The trap: pitching too soon

If you “get down to business” and start pitching too early, the decision-maker won’t feel connected to you as a person and won’t be listening to your pitch.  You want to build rapport so that when the time comes to pitch, you have the decision-maker’s attention.

Key tactic: prepare questions to find common ground

Before the meeting, design a couple “rapport-building” questions to encourage the decision-maker to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences about things they feel positively about.

  • Perhaps you know someone in common, and can design a question around that, e.g.: “How did you first meet (friend in common)?”
  • Perhaps you have a hobby or avocation in common. If so, you could design a question around that, e.g.: “I noticed from (print interview) that you like (hobby). What’s your favorite (aspect of hobby)?”
  • If you can’t find anything out at all, you can use some of the tried and true conversation starters, e.g.: “How was your weekend?”

The point is to get to know the decision-maker as a person.


Pitch Meeting Stage 2: Listening

The goal: to show respect for the decision-maker

In Stage 2, your job is to ask good questions and listen. This shows respect for the decision-maker, and earns you more of their attention when the time comes to pitch.

The trap: showing off how smart you are

Superior intelligence can be your worst enemy at this stage of the meeting.

In the next stage, when the time comes to pitch, that’s when you get to share your brilliant ideas. At this stage, your job is to ask questions, listen, and show respect.

If you show off how smart you are in this stage, it may seem like you are in need of attention and approval (the opposite of confidence). As well, if the decision-maker can’t understand what you’re saying, you may make them feel awkward or threatened.

This isn’t about being fake and hiding yourself. It’s about understanding that before you pitch, you want to build rapport (Stage 1) and show respect by listening (Stage 2).

Key tactic: prepare questions to gather information

Get the decision-maker talking, e.g.:

  • “Is there a particular kind of project you’d love to find?”
  • “How is (current project) going?”


What are the remaining 3 stages of the pitch meeting?

Read more over at IndieActivity.com


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Good in a Room

Good In A Room: How To Sell Yourself (And Your Ideas) And Win Over Any Audience

*This is an affiliate link


•  Chris Ducker’s New Business Podcast with Stephanie Palmer

•  The Business of Film Podcast with Stephanie Palmer

•  Stephanie Palmer’s Presentation at the Google Headquarters (See Below!)


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Scott McMahon is a Fellow Film Trooper at Film Trooper, a website for helping filmmakers attain filmmaking freedom. Scott recently made a feature film for $500 with no crew called, The Cube. Want to know what equipment was used to make that film? Grab a FREE gift at www.FREEGEARGUIDE.com