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09/17/2001
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AUTHOR'S NOTE: This column was written and posted before the horrible events of the past Tuesday. In light of everything that has happened last week, screenwriting certainly seems trivial. Consider this: in the very least, this is a reminder to all writers that we are the conscience of society...of the world. What we write has the potential to be read or seen by so many people that we must not forget what a tremendous responsibility and awesome obligation that is.

"From An Audience Of Brass Fasteners To ?Must-Meet status' for the Big Brass." Part 5

Paul Buscemi's Column for Monday September 17th, 2001. Buscemiarts@hotmail.com

So it turns out these damn brass fasteners can be pretty nasty when they don't like you. Not only have the ones who made up this little audience around my keyboard vanished, but the other day when I was putting together a script for delivery, I opened the box of fasteners and they were gone too. Worse yet, many of them are hiding in the carpet waiting to stab at my sock covered feet. One of the little buggers drew blood the other day! I don't even want to get into the mind games they're playing.

Let's turn our attention to screenwriter Howard Klausner who has given us great insight into the writer's life these past five weeks. As our conversation last week turned to the day to day life of the writer, we began to talk about the tools all writers need to instill confidence in their employer's mind. That conversation could not be complete without talking about pitching. Not just how to do it, but the expectations Hollywood has of the writer when s/he's pitching.

"First of all it's got to be (an) excitement even if you're being a little theatrical," begins Klausner. "I don't really have a sales background, I failed miserably as a salesman. But it's the same thing (pitching). If you're not excited about the product, chances are really, really good that they won't be either," explains Klausner. But Howard is quick to point out that you should be "genuinely enthusiastic." Klausner adds, "That doesn't mean you have to be loud, although that sometimes does help."

"Second of all (your pitch) has got to be brief. If you can't hit on the big beats of whatever the story is that you're trying to tell, then that's a problem," states Klausner. "Whatever your story is (you need to be able to tell it) in a couple of sentences. If you can't put a picture in their head quickly of the beginning, middle, and end of this movie - you're probably not going to sell it. Especially if you have no talent, or anyone attached to or interested in it," he continues.

So as you enter that office or conference room, remember the core of Klausner's pitching philosophy, ?Brevity, excitement and ease.'

I'd better wrap up for now. I hear the brass fasteners gathering up for a group attack. They fling themselves at my computer all at once in a futile, yet remarkable attempt to deactivate the machine. I don't know why they have gone from fans to fanatics. Maybe....I'll ask them?

c. 2001 pdb

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