First and foremost, thank you to all of you who have read my blogs and read my book, “Homey’s Adventures.”
As promised, I am sharing with you the third installment of my story about my trip to Vegas last fall:
Chapter 20 – The Pitch
I had trouble sleeping the night before my pitch. I was prepared. I practiced. I did everything I could think of to present my book in the best way. Breakfast was provided at the event at 7 AM. The Forum shops did not open that early, so I had to walk around to the Caesar’s lobby to get into Caesars. This added to my stress.
I looked at the table where I was sitting before, and nobody was there. Topper had gotten there before me and was sitting with someone else. I sat down at a different table and introduced myself. Two of the authors at the table were listening to a third man. I discovered that was all they could do. The third man talked without stopping and did not let anyone talk including me. The only thing that shut him up was when our chief organizer took the stage and started talking.
As we finished our breakfast, our host presented Mr. Big. Mr. Big went over in detail about the elements of a good pitch. I listened and mentally checked each off in my mind; Yes, I included that. Yes, I did that. At the end of Mr. Big’s presentation, I was confident that I had prepared a good pitch.
Our host then presented facts about why there was still high demand in Hollywood:
“In 2009 the number of shows was about 200. In 2019, this has increased to 512 scripted drama and comedy series with streaming services responsible for most of the growth. You are unique in that out of 200 million people who desire writing a book, you have actually written one.”
I’m thinking; Topper is getting his question answered in detail.”
Our host continued: “New players are entering the marketplace like Apple, Peacock and Disney. International programmers are also looking for American stories. A story tends to transcend cultures.”
I thought of how every foreign woman I talked to mentioned “50 Shades of Grey”. At this point, I am daydreaming a little; What if Homey’s Adventures has even a fraction of the exposure that 50 Shades of Grey got?
We were then dismissed to have a break and then go to our practice sessions. They organized two practice sessions for each author. In the first session, we presented our pitch to our practice host in front of the entire subgroup. In the second session, each author pitched one on one with a host. My group of 22 authors practiced with host Lisa in both sessions.
When I entered the practice room, they were printing names on a white board, Jim Wish was at the top of the names! That’s right, I was going first!
I had practiced my pitch two or three times daily for over a week. Even though it was only a two-minute pitch, I needed to read it from a printed-out version that I brought with me. I looked up occasionally from my script and saw Lisa writing like she was grading school papers. So, my lack of eye contact did not seem to be a factor.
After I finished, one of her staff signaled to Lisa that my Pitch was 1 minute 46 seconds. My practice paid off because that was the exact amount of time I had when I practiced by myself.
I was done and I was waiting for a job well done.
I did not get it. Lisa looked up and almost mechanically said: “I would delete the last part about how you will collaborate, and I would like to see an example of how Jim and Homey interact with each other. I think it would be interesting to see how Jim and Homey reconcile their differences. You should have enough time to add something.”
“Did you like the beginning?”
Monotonically she said: “Yes, it was fine.”
The whole point of presenting a pitch in front of a group was so that we could listen to suggestions made to others and improve our pitch. I only half listened to the other pitches and suggested changes. My mind was busy thinking how I could achieve what Lisa suggested and still add only 20 seconds to my original presentation.
I do remember feeling sorry for one poor woman who wrote a whole book about how lesbians, gay people, and transgender people did not fit into her Christian values.
Lisa was a little more compassionate with her than with me: “I don’t think you can present that to most people in Hollywood and expect them to listen to it.”
I am thinking; I am so sorry lady. I lived in the southern California. It is frequently referred to by the natives as the land of fruits and nuts. Lisa is most likely correct. Your book will most likely never see the light of day in that part of the world.
There was a long break between the first practice session and the second practice session. I went into the break room and ran into Topper.
“My host said my pitch was perfect. How did you do?”
I was sarcastically thinking; Of course, it was.
“My Pitch needs some things added to it.”
“Added, really! This stuff is child’s play.”
I said nothing but was thinking: Easy for you to say.
Topper asked: “Can you help me find my room again?”
I was laughing inside, (Lawrence of Arabia II ha ha ha): “Sure no problem.”
I went back to the hotel room and got a copy of my book and frantically searched for what Lisa wanted me to add. I also searched the book reviews of my book. In my prior conversations with my best friend Sherlock, he suggested that I just read the book review because it was incredibly positive and good. The book reviews talked about reading. I needed something more visual for my pitch to Hollywood, but I could add credibility to my pitch by using quotes from the book reviews.
I found some things and I added it to my pitch. I timed it using my phone video recorder and it was 2 minutes 8 seconds long. Maybe, Lisa will help me cut it down by 8 seconds.
I waited outside the practice room for my turn to meet with Lisa. There was not any seating, so, I paced back and forth in anticipation.
When my turn came, I started out explaining my difficulty in finding a solution to her suggestions:
“I produced two possible additions to my pitch. I can add an excerpt from my book review, or I can paraphrase an example of one of my fantasy short stories.”
I then showed her a piece of paper where I wrote down the two alternatives.
“Let me see what the second alternative looks like.”
So, I presented the following to her:
Imagine Philip Roth’s “Portnoy’s Complaint” without the whining, A modern day O Henry’s “Gift of the Magi”, an E.L. James’ “50 Shades of Grey” with a moral lead character and roll all these up into one story.
Homey stands for horny old man. It is also a nickname for the brain between his legs. His adventures are his fantasies and actual encounters with strippers, Ukrainian and Colombian women he finds online. Jim is the part of Jim Wish that wants to share the love of Christ. As one person, Jim and Homey wants romance, love, and marriage. He overcomes obstacles of divorce, age, online scammers, and prejudice ending up with the woman of his dreams in Cancun, Mexico.
My idea for Homey’s Adventures started out as a collection of short story fantasies that I shared online. In one of these fantasies, I adapted a Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid movie scene where the Sundance kid forces Etta Place to take off her clothes at gun point.
One of my characters, a Ukrainian named Tat responds: “Wow, I like this story. I was very interested in the problem with the gun. Only now I know it is not real. And so, now I will not give you my clothes. HA HA HA.
Homey’s Adventures is a story of romance with some erotica, Christianity, and lots of humor. Arron Washington of Pacific Book Review says: “How Jim Wish fuses religion with erotica is astounding!”
I wrote the book after encouragement from women online between the ages of 25 to 45. This week it was listed on the featured book list of the US Book Review.
I am no Ernst Hemingway, but I would not mind being the next E. L. James. I have already written over half of a sequel, and I have plans for another sequel after that. All Homey’s Adventures. (Hold up book).
I got the idea of showing the cover of my book from the guy at breakfast that would not stop talking.
Lisa had timed the pitch: “2 minutes and 8 seconds. I suggest you leave out Portnoy’s Complaint and just say Philip Roth without the whining. I also suggest you add something that ties your character to Etta Place. The connection wasn’t clear to me.”
“I could clarify by saying: One of my characters, a Ukrainian named Tat, would-be my Etta Place.”
“Yes, that sounds good.”
“How do you suggest we cut it down by 8 seconds?”
“I would reduce the response by your Etta Place.”
A little after that I ran into Lisa at the beverage table.
I asked: “Now that you know more about my book, would you buy it?”
“I don’t buy a lot of books. I keep focused on the media angle.”
“If it was made into an independent film, would you go see the film?”
“Yes, I find the conflicting inner character development interesting.”
The pitch session was hectic. On one or two of the pitches, I ran out of time. I do not think it helped that I read the pitch trying to get in all the key points. As it turned out Mr. Big was one of the executives that I pitched to.
At the end of my pitch, he did not ask me about my book: “What do you think of MoviePitch?”
I should have been more honest: “I think it is good.”
If I were honest, I would have said that it was hectic.
When I got back to the break room, I ran into Topper:
“Everybody said they wanted to read my book!”
I am thinking; Of course, they did.
I asked: “When Mr. Big saw your Pitch. What did he say?”
“Mr. Big was not one of the people that I pitched to.”
I smiled thinking: I finally had one up on Topper.
He then held up two fingers again.
“When they asked about what I see as a possible outlet for my book. I said Lawrence of Arabia II.”
I chuckled a little on the inside. I wrote my website address on a sheet of paper and handed it to Topper:
“I would really be interested if you get an option on your book. I’ll help you find your room now.”
A couple of weeks later, I got my reviews written by the Hollywood executives. None of them were interested. Some were confused about who my main characters were. Some said my concept was creative. None of them liked my pitch that much.
One of the reviews accused me of writing about the rape of Etta Place. Anyone who has seen the movie “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” knows that it was not rape. It was sexual role playing between the Sundance Kid and Etta Place.
I also received a list of authors that got the most requests for their book. Topper was not one of them. Sorry, Topper, I was pulling for you.
Continuing with the Bob Goff metaphor about the blind long-distance jumper, I ended up on the concrete and not in the sand box. I was learning that writers needed to have the patience of Job. I already knew that I was not a good pitch man.
Please come back next week for the final installment of “Vegas Baby!”
If you want to learn more about Jim and Homey, then please visit my website https://www.homeysadventures.com. You can read the first two chapters of my book for free. If you like what you read, you can buy my book from my website or on Amazon and many other book retailers. You can search for my book online using the words: “Homey’s Adventures” by Jim Wish.