Jonathan Marty

They’re called “generals.” Essentially, it means you piqued someone’s interest as a writer. Whether it’s a network, studio or production exec, they’re a fan of yours and they want to meet you.

So how do you prep? What do you talk about? And what can you expect?

I say: Be a louder version of yourself.

People love to point out how different this business is than any other line of wor - and it is...most of the time.

But at the end of the day, it’s still business, and one of the keys to doing business is just being able to talk to people. Relate to them. Empathize with their situation and goals.

Even if someone thinks you’re incredibly talented, nobody wants to sit across the room with a writer who’s boring, awkward or seems uninspired. Whatever your personality is, make sure to turn the volume up a few notches.

Tell your story. Sell yourself. Talk about where you’re from. Why you fell in love with film or TV. What compelled you to become a writer. What drives and motivates you to write every day.

Knowing they’ll most likely ask about the script that they read, you should be able to articulate how you came up with the concept, characters...and ultimately why you fell in love with the idea of telling that story.

In fact, have a couple, few ideas to share. Indeed, probably the biggest thing that general meetings do is to open up the door for future collaborations. Keeping this in mind, have a few new concepts ready to discuss. You can talk about something you’ve already written, but limit completed projects you pitch to one. And let’s be clear - a couple does not mean 30. Your best two or three will do.

When pitching a new concept, be careful not to pitch too much plot. You’re not pitching the film or pilot from beginning to end. Get to the heart of your idea. Discuss the characters. The thematics. Be passionate about it. And ALWAYS, ALWAYS mention how the story relates to you on a deeply personal level.

Then - listen. Ask what they’re looking for. Are there are any characters or concepts or worlds that have been in the back of their minds? Offer to collaborate in the future. Maybe it’s an article they found that has potential. A book that could be ripe for adaptation. Or even just a kernel of an idea they’ve been kicking around. Either way, keep the channels of communication open. 

And, sure enoug, you'll probably get another meeting.



About The Author

Jonathan Marty, who cut his teeth in in development for Anonymous Content & Laura Bickford Productions, is now writing for Warner Bros. Television.

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