Wednesday, September 17, 2014

rainbow plantation blues is on a roll!

I had my first radio interview last night on 91.1 WRUW and it was amazing!! I have no idea how many people heard it but a friend e-mailed me and told me that I sounded good and did a nice job, so at least I know that it reached the airwaves. Sarah[ the show host] was brilliant and professional and the whole thing moved effortlessly. It felt so good that it was over in the blink of an eye! That interview was the fastest hour of my life, but  I wanted it to last forever! Anyhow, thank you for the opportunity, Sarah. I'll never forget it!
    All week I've been cramming to understand/study pitching and to perfect my pitch for the pitchfest next weekend. I refuse to go into this with some cocky or casual attitude as if my story is the shit[even though it is] and I don't need to polish my pitch/presentation. I 've already read an entire book on pitching called Pitching Hollywood and I've started another called The Perfect Pitch. I have five pages of notes[so far] and I am on the fourth draft of my pitch. I intend to be studying, taking notes and practicing until the moment I give first actual pitch to a studio rep! The more I study pitching the more refined my pitch becomes. I actually find movie and television show pitching to be quite interesting. It's a career for some people! You have to be assertive, persistent, imaginative and personable. I have all of those traits when I work at it. But I don't know if I could keep them up 365 days a year!
    Other aspects of the trip are coming together, too. I made arrangements to stay with an aunt, who just so happens to live fairly close to the pitchfest venue. I still have to get outfits to wear. My wardrobe needs updating anyhow, but whatever I get is coming out of a thrift store!. My spending money is looking like it's going to be tight. Nonetheless, I'm off to L.A. next week whether I can eat or not!LOL! Rainbow Plantation Blues is on a roll and it will not be stopped, even if I die!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

now, pitch this !

All week I've been drafting my pitch and studying pitching via YouTube videos and on-line articles. After three drafts I think I've finally got it to where I want it. Now it's just a matter of practicing my presentation. I don't have to have it memorized but I think I want to have it pretty much memorized so that I can be looking the reps in the eye while I'm pitching to them.
    I received the itinerary from the organizers and it says: ''you will have 2 minutes at each of the 7 tables in your assigned room for a total of 14 minutes of pitching time. One by one, you will rotate to each table in speed-dating style format until you've pitched at all 7 tables. You will be assigned a 14 minute window, within the 1:30-5:30 PM time frame.''
    The first day there's an evening reception[basically a wine and cheese] where we meet all the authors and the organizers and find out what studios, production companies, etc. we'll be pitching to. The next day we meet at 7 AM for breakfast, a morning lecture on pitching, a practice session, lunch, the actual speed-pitch with the reps and then the wrap-up and close around 5:30 PM. Sounds pretty groovy, huh! Pardon my retro word but sometimes they just fit, you dig me?
    Anyhow, here's my pitch draft:

    Hello, my name is Robert L Sheeley. The title of my novel is Rainbow Plantation Blues. It's the story of an antebellum slaveholder who falls in love with a male slave.

    Johnathon is the main character. He's young, he's rich, he's handsome. Kumi is his interest. He's smart, he's resolved, he's viral! And Rainbow Plantation is a place of privilege for some but of pain and suffering for others.

    It is South Carolina in 1850 and Kumi is a slave and Johnathon is his master. But ownership of another human-being is considered perfectly normal and legal. It is interracial love, sex and relationships that are taboo and illegal, and the word ''sodomy'' is synonymous with gallows!
     So, this makes for quite a dilemma for Johnathon who is in love with Kumi, another man and a Black man! Not wanting to shame his family and go to the gallows, he Merry's a pretty Southern belle, with a nice dowry, to help him forget his sodomite desires, but they only intensify.
    As hopelessness and despair threaten to destroy Jonathon, a good friend, who has a deep connection to him a secret of his own, helps him to regain his focus and clarity and triumph in the end.

So, that's what I have right now. It's about one minute thirty-seconds but I think I want to leave a little time for questions or in case I screw-up!LOL!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

to tinseltown on the greyhound !

I've got some really great news! I'm going to Hollywood, CA! I got this opportunity to go to what is called a ''book-to-screen festival'', seemingly out of the blue and at the last minute. All I can say is I must be meant to be there.
    Anyhow, it's at the Century Plaza Hotel in L.A. and it's a two day event. In a speed-dating format about 150 authors from all over the U.S.[and probably other counties] will have two minutes to pitch their book to Hollywood Movie studio and production company reps and other agencies and management companies, etc. The event package includes:

   via mail
* a pre-event pitch draft kit
   day one
*[evening] a welcome reception at the hotel to meet the organizers and the other authors[networking time!]
   day two
* breakfast
*[morning] we'll have a ''how to pitch'' seminar/presentation
*[mid-morning]we'll start practicing our pitches.
*do our speed-pitching to the actual studio, production company, etc. reps!!
*prior to our arrival in L.A., our books will be registered with the Writer's Guild of America to protect our unique ideas, which remains valid for five years.
* The top two pitcher will get the opportunity to pitch via video to Tom Jacobson for possible optioning by his production company. I have not yet researched who Mr. Jacobson is but he must be a VIP in the movie business. Part of me doesn't want to know. I'm nervous enough!

    I've been drafting a pitch idea for the past couple days and I think it's pretty good! I've also been watching ''how to pitch'' videos on YouTube for pointers. I'll post it next week.
   It may seem insane to travel all the way to Cali by bus but I haven't been west of the Mississippi since 1988! I want to see the prairies, the Rocky Mountains and the dessert again. They're absolutely stunning! And besides, whats the rush? So, Rainbow Plantation Blue's energy will finally knock on Hollywood's door. I don't know what it all means But I'm going to do my best and have some fun, too!