Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t

What It Takes

What It Takes

How To Pitch: You Had Me At Hello

By Callie Oettinger
Published: July 22, 2016

Jerry Maguire“Hello,” worked for Jerry Maguire, helping him win back his girl.

For pitching, if someone says, “You had me at hello,” it means you’ve won a place in the trashcan instead of in that person’s heart.

The pitch below is an example of a recent “Hello/Hi” pitch sent to Steve. It’s followed by a mark-up pointing out areas to avoid if you find yourself making similar pitches one of these days.

Hi,

My name is Xxx Xxx and I am the social media manager of Xxx Competition. Established in 2012, we are one of the fastest growing Xxx competitions and I am getting in touch to see if you would like to join us in some cross-promotion over the summer/autumn.

2016 is a big year for us, as we have already announced the 1st winner of the new Xxx, Xxx Xxx’s ‘Xxx’, and as the film goes into production we are busy expanding our Judging panel for our new Xxx category. Leading lights of the TV industry join our existing Feature and Short Script Judges, Xxx, Xxx, and 22 other Oscar, Emmy, Cannes, and BAFTA winners, to make up the most distinguished panel of judges of any screenwriting contest in the world.

Our competition is all about launching new writing careers. Xxx is unique in that our objective is to get winning scripts into the hands of those who can get them produced. Proof of our commitment can be seen in our alumni successes. Xxx was a winner with ‘Xxx’, which was produced as a feature starring Xxx. This year, Xxx, a 2013 winner went on to win this year’s Xxx.

We want to create more winners, and to do that, we want to reach out to as many new screenwriters and filmmakers as possible. We’d like to talk to your followers and tell our followers about you.

We’re open to any cross-promotion ideas and we can offer discounted competition entry rates, Facebook mentions & Twitter tweets, Instagram contests, original articles, and email blasts. We would be happy to reciprocate by promoting your announcements and events, so do get in contact if you feel like there could be an opportunity for us to work together.

Thanks for taking the time to read this email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,

Here’s the mark-up:
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Posted in What It Takes
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WAR STORIES

War Stories

Over thirty-plus years of reading and researching, I've compiled a wild and crazy library in my head. In this series, I want to share some of it--the arcane, the obscure, the occult. It'll be eclectic. The posts will bounce all over the place. I plan to feature stuff from Hemingway to Homer, from von Manstein to Moshe Dayan. Posts will come from movies and plays, myths and legends, from journalism and personal correspondence and combat reports. Not all of it will be "war stuff." But it will all deal with issues of honor and virtue and courage in the face of adversity. A lot of it will be real literature. All of it, I hope, will be inspiring.

I also want to invite everyone to chip in with their own stories. Write me at steve {at} stevenpressfield {dot} com. Suggest passages—1000 words or less—from favorite books. Or send in something you've written yourself. Tell us about a patrol in Kunar province, or a letter your Dad sent to you from Pleiku in 1969. If it's great, we'll run it.

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DO THE WORK WEDNESDAYS

Do The Work Wednesdays

For a few weeks during April and May of 2011, I took a break from "Writing Wednesdays" and wrote "Do The Work Wednesdays" to accompany the launch of Do The Work.

THE WARRIOR ETHOS

What It Takes

"The Spartans do not ask how many are the enemy, but where are they?"
Plutarch, Sayings of the Spartans

These posts are intended for our men and women in uniform, but I hope that artists, entrepreneurs and other warriors in other walks of life will find them useful as well. The series examines the evolution of the warrior code of honor and "mental toughness." It goes back to the ancient Spartans and Athenians, to Caesar's Romans, Alexander's Macedonians and the Persians of Cyrus the Great (not excluding the Garden of Eden and the primitive hunting band). Sources include Herodotus, Thucydides, Plutarch, Xenophon, Vegetius, Arrian and Curtius--and on down to Gen. George Patton, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and Israeli Minister of Defense, Moshe Dayan.

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WHAT IT TAKES

What It Takes

"What It Takes" is a journal of the campaign to make The Profession a New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller. You'll be in on the meetings, the marketing and publicity, what works and doesn't work—everything. Expect a play-by-play as the campaign unfolds.

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WRITING WEDNESDAYS

Writing Wednesdays

I wrote The War of Art primarily for writers (its original title was The Writer's Life), but since it was published in 2002, I've received hundreds of e-mails from business entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, military service members and others, telling me how the book seemed to have been written specifically for them—and how much it has helped their creative and entrepreneurial endeavors. Sometimes the e-mails are short, a sentence or two of thanks. Other times they've been sagas, life-stories packed with more drama and heartbreak than a soap opera. I know exactly what these correspondents are talking about. Resistance kicks everybody's ass—and the desperate desire to defeat it is equally as universal. Writing Wednesdays is an ongoing, blog-version of The War of Art. It's the chapters I would have written if I'd kept on writing the book. Then there's the added dimension of the comments from readers. I always scroll down and take a look. Some of the insights are better than the post itself. "Why didn't I think of that?"

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THE CREATIVE PROCESS

The Creative Process

I always want to know more about the people behind the work I admire. How do they do it? What does the process feel like from inside their heads? Wouldn't it have been amazing to sit with Hemingway, the way he sat with Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein and others, to discuss writing? The Creative Process is a Q&A with a wide range of creative people—from writers to business entrepreneurs and beyond—probing how they do that thing they do.

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