Pitching 101: Name 2 Previous Movies, Connect Them With ‘Meets’

Meet TheWrap Hollyblogger Charles Yarborough: It’s “Shouts & Murmurs” Meets “Three’s Company”

My receptionist Delphinia is a drama major at Santa Monica College and — if you ask her — the next Sarah Bernhardt. I wouldn’t know. I don’t recall her getting a Tony for her work in the Tierra Del Fuego Dinner Theatre production of “Planet of the Apes,” but who can say? It might have gotten lost in the mail.

She does, however, have a talent for spotting any and every celebrity who walks in the door. The way I see it, my patients are all equal, they’re all “God’s children,” as the saying goes. But Delphinia practically sounds an air raid, as she did today, whenever a high-profile patient books a session.

“Charles, this guy is a huge producer,” said Delphinia, applying a fresh coat of cyan to her lips. “I've been taking a class on pitching TV and movie projects to producers and I can't wait to try out some of my new ideas!”

“You took a class in that?” I said. “You wasted your parents’ money.” 

“What?” she said, sipping her pineapple boba.

“Sweetheart, everybody knows if you want to pitch a movie, all you do is this: name two previous movies and connect them with the word, 'meets.'”

“That’s it?” she said.“

Simple as that. It's all anybody ever does, take it from me. Of course, it's best if you can do it over lunch at the Four Seasons, but the important thing is, do it. Then just sit back and wait for the dough to roll in.”

“Really?” she said. Delphinia is a sweet girl but so horribly uninformed that I sometimes worry about her surviving in this jungle. 

“Now would you please go get some fresh linens from the closet?” I said. “Let's have this place looking sharp. Producers are very picky." As she stepped into the closet, the door locked shut behind her.

“Hey, what happened?” Delphinia's muffled call. 

“I don't know,” I said, jiggling the handle. “I can't seem to get the door to open.  I'll go look for the key.” I couldn’t allow Delphinia to harass our new patient and so I wasn’t completely disappointed when the door locked quite accidentally.

Just then our new patient, a tall, thin man in a tweed sport coat, strode into the office.  I cupped my hands to the closet door and whispered, “He's here!”

“Get me out!” said Delphinia. “I've got to talk to that guy!”

I waved the man in. “Hello, we've been expecting you. Sit down. What can I help you with?”

“I think I’ve got an anxiety disorder,” he said, rubbing his narrow forehead. “I don’t want to take drugs and I heard acupuncture might help. Only, I’m terrified of needles!”

“Don’t worry,” I said, putting my hand on his shoulder. “Just think of this experience as ‘Monk’ meets ‘Marcus Welby.’”

“Uh, what?” he said, tilting his head. “Do you think you can help me? As I was walking around the lot today I got one of these panic attacks where my pulse races and my head feels like it’s been hit by an atom bomb and — ”

“Are these headaches like 'Pearl Harbor' meets 'Armageddon'?” I said. “Or more like 'Hellraiser' meets 'The Head That Wouldn't Die'?”

“Like what?” he said. “I don't get you.”

He seemed confused by my subtle infusion of pitches into the conversation. But since success is 90 percent persistence and ten per cent inspiration, I marched onward. “What I'm saying,” I explained, “is that you must have been walking around the lot today with your head feeling like 'Saw' meets 'Grindhouse.'”

He gave me an irritated look and said, “Look, I don't know what you're talking about but I'd sure appreciate it if you could relieve my anxiety and these headaches!”

“I'll be happy to,” I said. “But did any of these pitches sound good to you? I mean, you are a producer, after all.”

“I'm a what?” he said. “Where'd you get that idea?”

“Of course you are,” I said. “You were telling me about how you walked around the lot today.”

The man laughed. “The lot? The car lot! I sell new and pre-owned Ferraris.”

“I knew that!” I said, hiding my disappointment.

“But I can tell you this: your pitches sound stale and uninspired. And your references are not quite out of fashion enough to be back in fashion.”

“Thank you,” I said. “It’s always good to get helpful criticism from a professional. What was it you do again? Sell used cars?” I made a mental note to myself: have Delphinia tape up the "It’s Nice to be Nice" poster where patients have to stare at it.

“Now,” I said,  “if you'll wait here just a moment, my assistant will come help you with your paperwork and we'll start your treatment.” 

Just then I put my hand in my pocket and happened to find the key to the linen closet. Stepping into the hall, I unlocked the door.

“Thanks, boss!” said Delphinia, panting and hoofing. “Where is he? Lemme at him!”

“He's waiting for you in my office. Good luck with your pitch; he's pretending to be a car salesman.” 

“Oh my god!” she laughed skipping down the hall. “I’ll call you when we’re ready.”