The Great American Pitchfest, also known as Scriptfest, just announced that they are holding their last pitchfest this Saturday, June 23, 2018. Say it isn’t so! I’m still hoping it’s a cruel joke. If the news is true, although a search of the internet didn’t confirm it, screenwriters are losing a true friend. (Sadly, I’ve heard from several reliable sources that an email went out with the announcement.) If true, it’s the end of the “speed-dating-style” of pitching that launched many careers–including mine. All that we’ll be left with is the online version, which just isn’t the same.
Why can’t the online services duplicate what GAPF and the others that came before provided?
- Face-to-face pitching. It’s just better than a written or Skype pitch. It’s the start of a relationship. I’ve never been able to say that about a written or online pitch.
- Volume. It might cost more on the day, but the number of pitches you can get in and how your pitching can improve as you progress during a pitchfest is valuable.
- An out-of-towner destination. If you live outside of Los Angeles, but want to take your career to the next level, getting yourself to LA is huge. A pitchfest is a perfect reason to come to town. And it’s not just a pitching market. Networking with other screenwriters is a great way to build your tribe, learn about the industry and create allies for your work.
It’s not like we haven’t been through this before. (We will survive.) But it’s really sad to learn that pitchfests don’t make money. They’re a circus to setup and ultimately burn out the organizers, financially and mentally. The payoff just isn’t there–although GAPF had an amazing run.
Goodbye GAPF! We will miss you and thank you for your service. If there’s a screenwriting Valhalla, you’ll be there with the InkTip Pitchfest and the Screenwriting Expo.
We can only hope something will arise from the ashes to fill the void. Fade out.