Sunday, September 6, 2009


My name is David Rielly and I haven't pitched a movie in three weeks.

The legendary Duke Kahanamoku and his wife Nadine in 1966.
Photo taken by my dad Pete during his summer living and working in Waikiki.

In a way I'm disappointed that I couldn't see the Movie Pitch Project through, but I'm also pretty happy that I nearly made it to the six month mark. When I started it at the beginning of March, I had three pretty distinct goals in mind:
  1. showcase my creative ability in hopes of generating attention for me as a writer
  2. create a portfolio of taglines and pitches that would help me land film industry work
  3. energize my blog in such a way that people would get involved as commenters and contributors
My results were mixed.

In terms of number 1, it worked pretty well. Not only did I get a couple of nice write-ups, but it was a terrific portfolio piece for me when being considered for copywriting work. When I started it I was in a real fallow period work-wise, but after a few months things really started to pick up and I could see with my Sitemeter that the people hiring me had spent some time on this blog during the process. It was certainly a nice thing to talk about in interviews and meetings as well.

In terms of number 2, I feel like I wrote many taglines and pitches that I'm proud of. I also struggled mightily to find something at least marginally original/interesting on many many days. Nothing has come of it work-wise, but at least I can point to them with ease should an opportunity arise in the future.

In terms of number 3, I had glimpses that got me excited but otherwise feel I fell on my face here. A handful of designers enthusiastically submitted artwork for pitches, but the vast majority of people I contacted about contributing one-sheet or poster-style artwork never did. A maddening character flaw of mine that's plagued me over the years is my inability to manage expectations. I was overly excited about the possibilities of making this Project something special, and I was overly disappointed when other people weren't nearly as excited about it as I was.

The nail in the coffin of the Movie Pitch Project was, ironically, the best thing to happen to my career in years. On July 2, I started a full-time freelance copywriting job in Santa Monica. After years of commuting from my bed to my desk in 20 paces, I was suddenly spending two hours a day in the car. After years of considering 30 hours a week of freelance a damn good week, I was regularly cresting 60 hours a week and coming terrifyingly close to 70. I was traveling to Hawaii to work with some regularity too- I'll take my third trip there this coming Tuesday.

43 summers later, I was working in Hawaii too... marveling at the roosters and chickens of Kauai.

I'd been giving myself 30 minutes a day for each pitch, but suddenly I didn't have 30 minutes a day anymore. At the beginning of August I cut my sessions down to 20 minutes, but that seemed to add more stress to the process. Pitching wasn't any fun anymore, it was just an item on my to-do list.

I woke up Monday August 17 and stared at my monitor for a few minutes and knew I couldn't write even one more.

It was a tough call, but the right call. My work demands every iota of creativity and energy I have. There's no leftovers for blogging. Nothing.

But it was fun while it lasted...

The greatest silver lining about the entire process is the success that Mrs. Word Player's blog Art Design 3(6)5 has been enjoying, especially being named as one of How Magazine's Top 10 sites for designers for September 2009. I am so enormously proud of her work here, and she is enjoying a lot of what I'd hoped for in my blog. If the Movie Pitch Project becomes the footnote that led, however indirectly, to the birth of Art Design 3(6)5, then I will be one happy writer.


mernitman said...

It was great fun while it lasted - for the rest of us! Best of luck in your endeavors. Trips to Hawaii? Not too shabby.

Matthew Hennessey said...

Hey man, you done good. Glad to hear of your good fortune. I always wanted to go to Hawaii myself. Congratulations to you and Mrs. WP.

Mr. Word Player said...

Thanks amigos. I've only just emerged from the aforementioned intense three month stint writing for Hawaiian Airlines, and the fact that the Pitch Project is over has really started to hit me. Not only is the Project over, but it's time to look for work again... ai yi yi!