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BIZ conference 2021 - RECAP

2021: A Virtual PITCH Conference for Musical Theatre


July 16-18; and the week of July 19th

ONLINE via ZOOM VIDEO CONFERENCING


PITCH, PITCH, PITCH!

Audiences are getting ready to come back to the theatre. So producers are asking "What kind of musicals do they want to see?" You want their answer to be: A musical written by ME!

Imagine an opportunity to get a bunch of producers into a Zoom room, all at the same time, listening to you pitch your musical to them. We've created that very opportunity, just for you.

New Musicals Inc. invited dozens of producers from Broadway and regional theatres, large and small, to join us for A MUSICAL THEATRE PITCH CONFERENCE.

Here's how it worked:

Friday evening July 16 -- NMI Executive Director Scott Guy called upon his many years of experience in the world of television and Emmy nominations to give you insight into the pitching process, from the writers' and producers' perspective.

Saturday July 17 -- Participants tried out their three-minute pitchs on NMI staff for feedback that would help prepare them to meet producers.

Sunday July 18 -- Participants pitched to an intimate, friendly group of producers, who will gave constructive and specific feedback on improving the pitches.

Week of July 19-23 -- During the week of July 19th, each participating team got two separate opportunities to pitch live to a wide group of industry professionals. There was be a morning and an afternoon pitch session from Monday to Friday during the week. Participating teams were be pre-assigned to specific sessions.

After the conference -- Following the entire process, all participating teams were given the opportunity to create a web page on the NMI website (facilitated by NMI staff) that included a logo, demo sound file, description and other information about their show (including links to outside websites/materials). These pages were made available to all of the industry professionals who took part in the conference; as well as a much longer list of industry professionals across the country.

NOTE: A maximum of 60 participating writing teams will be able to sign up for the full conference. We are also accepting auditors for the conference who will not get to pitch live, but will still get the opportunity to have a webpage that will be circulated to the same list of industry professionals after the conference.

The PITCH Conference weekend and Pitch Week are only $225 per writing team. Register by June 1 to get $50 off!

Want to make sure you are extra-prepared for your chance to pitch? You can also sign up for Scott Guy's PITCH BOOTCAMP prior to the conference and polish your materials in advance. (Bonus! Conference registrants receive a $100 discount on the regular Pitch Boot Camp price).

See the COMPLETE SCHEDULE below. NOTE that all times are Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).

This Conference is now CLOSED.

Enjoy this RECAP of our 2021 BIZ Conference.


Friday, July 16


7:00 pm to 7:30 pm     Check-in and Technical Help


7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

BASICS OF PITCHING

NMI Executive Director Scott Guy brought his 15-years of working at Disney, NBC, and Warner Bros. into a session demonstrating what makes for compelling verbal pitches, both in the room and electronically.

Confirmed Moderator:
          Scott Guy (NMI Executive Director)



9:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Virtual Reception and Introductions

All participants had a chance to introduce themselves and deliver a 30-second elevator pitch for their project. (Each writing team got to introduce us to one project.) NMI Staff divided the participants into three groups for the next day's pitching practice.

Confirmed Moderator:
          Elise Dewsberry (NMI Artistic Director)


NMI Executive Director Scott Guy leading the Pitch Basics session via Zoom in 2020



An example of some of the technology NMI has already mastered for video conferencing.


2018 Attendees pitching to live and on-camera producers


A 2020 participant's set-up for practice pitching



Saturday, July 17


8:30 am to 9:00 am     Morning Check-in for Additional Technical Help


9:00 am to 11:00 am

PRACTICE PITCHES – GROUP 1

The first group of teams (20 maximum) presented their three minute project pitch for the first time.



11:00 am to 11:15 am     Mid-Morning Break – Networking Break-out Rooms will be open


11:15 am to 1:15 pm

PRACTICE PITCHES – GROUP 2

The second group of teams (20 maximum) presented their three minute project pitch for the first time.



1:15 pm to 2:15 pm     Lunch Break


2:15 pm to 4:15 pm

PRACTICE PITCHES – GROUP 3

The third group of teams (20 maximum) presented their three minute project pitch for the first time.



4:15 pm to 4:30 pm     Afternoon Break – Networking Break-out Rooms will be open


4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

FEEDBACK SESSION

NMI staff discussed and evaluated the day's pitches and gave constructive feedback for strengthening the pitches for future sessions. NMI Staff also split the participants up into three new groups for those sessions.




6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

POST SESSION BREAK-OUT GROUPS

Attendees were invited to "e-mingle" and get to know each other; NMI staff set up special interest group "break-out rooms" as needed.



Sunday, July 18



10:00 am to 10:30 am

Prep for the Day

The NMI staff prepped participants for the pitching plan for the day.




10:30 am to 1:00 pm

PITCH FEEDBACK SESSION #1

All teams presented their pitch to a FEEDBACK GUEST - an industry professional who was prepared to give writers tough love about what is and isn't working in their pitch. These sessions took place in Break-out Rooms so that each group of teams (20 teams per group) presented to a different Feedback Guest in a different Break-out Room. (Each team had an opportunity to present to TWO of the confirmed industry guests.)

Confirmed Panelists:
          Michael Alden (Producer)
          Brian Graden (Producer, Brian Graden Media)
          Heather Provost (Producer)


1:00 pm to 1:30 pm     Lunch Break – Break-out Rooms will be open


1:30 pm to 4:00 pm

PITCH FEEDBACK SESSION #2

All teams presented their pitch to a FEEDBACK GUEST - an industry professional who was prepared to give writers tough love about what is and isn't working in their pitch. These sessions took place in Break-out Rooms so that each group of teams (20 teams per group) presented to a different Feedback Guest in a different Break-out Room. (Each team had an opportunity to present to TWO of the confirmed industry guests.)

Confirmed Panelists:
          Michael Alden (Producer)
          Brian Graden (Producer, Brian Graden Media)
          Heather Provost (Producer)


4:00 pm to 4:15 pm     Afternoon Break – Break-out Rooms will be open


4:15 pm to 6:00 pm

WRAP UP

A final session for the weekend in which the NMI Staff clarified the process for taking part in the LIVE PITCH sessions during the week of July 19th. The teams were split up once again into five different groups. We also clarified and answered questions about finalizing each team's own website page which to contain their recorded pitch, as well as more info about their show including music demos. That webpage was made available to all of the industry professionals who took part in the conference, as well as a longer list of producers, investors, and artistic directors from across the country.




6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Closing Schmooze

The NMI Staff stuck around to chat with attendees, answer questions, and clarify plans for the week to come.

Below is a partial list of the industry professionals who attended the pitch sessions during the week of July 19-23.

The Pitch Panel sessions took place from 10am to 12pm PDT and 2pm to 4pm PDT every day from Monday, July 19 through Friday, July 23. Each team was assigned to pitch at TWO of those panels; but were welcome to attend all of them.

Confirmed Panelists:
          Marleen Alhadeff (Producer, Junkyard Dog Productions)
          Margot Astrachan (Owner, Margot Astrachan Production)
          Michael Baron (Producing Artistic Director, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma)
          Roger Bean (President, Steele Spring Stage Rights)
          Jane Bergere (Producer, Jane Bergere Productions)
          Michael R.  Blaha (Producer)
          Victoria Bussert (Director, Music Theatre Program, Baldwin-Wallace University)
          Cate Caplin (Director/Choreographer/Producer)
          Sean Cercone (President, Broadway Licensing)
          John Coppola (Director/Choreographer)
          Kathy Evans (Founding Executive Director, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat)
          Allison Fifield (Artistic Programs and Events Manager, Philadelphia Theatre Company)
          Marco Gomez (Producer, DOMA Theatre Company)
          Brandon Ivie (Associate Artistic Director, Village Theatre)
          Michael Jackowitz (Founder/Managing Member, WitzEnd Productions)
          Tim Kashani (Co-Founder, Apples and Oranges Arts)
          Joshua Katzker (PiTCH Coordinator/Artistic Associate, The Rev Theatre Company)
          Cody Lassen (Producer, Cody Lassen and Associates)
          Roy Lightner (Artistic Consultant, Red Mountain Theatre)
          Carolyn D. Miller (Co-Founder, Creative Endeavor Office)
          Soren Moller (Creative Director / Producer / Partner at Monday Live)
          Joey Monda (Partner, Sing Out Louise Productions)
          Kevin Moore (Artistic Director, Human Race Theatre)
          Kent Nicholson (Director of Musical Theatre, Playwrights Horizon)
          Ann-Carol Pence (Co-Founder/Associate Producer, Aurora Theatre)
          James A Rocco (Director, Theatrical Consultant, Writer)
          Stuart Ross (Writer/Director/Producer (Forever Plaid, Fun with Dick and Jane))
          Michael Rubinoff (Producer)
          Blair Russell (Associate, Show Shepherd)
          Jen Sandler (Associate Artistic Director, New York Theatre Barn)
          Giovanna Sardelli (Director of New Works, TheatreWorks)
          Matt Schicker (Founder and President, Show Shepherd)
          Christopher Sepulveda (Producer, Apples and Oranges Arts)
          Sara Skolnick (VP of Production, Stageworks Productions)
          Johnna Tavianini (Associate Professor of Musical Theatre, Ball State University)


Panelists Sheldon Epps (Pasadena Playhouse); Padraic Duffy (Sacred Fools Theatre): Matthew Quinn (Theatre Asylum); John Perrin Flynn (Rogue Machine); Jeff Loeb (Pantages Theatre) and moderator Tim Choy (Davidson & Choy Publicity at the 2016 Conference.


Producers Sheldon Epps (Pasadena Playhouse), Tim Kashani (Apples & Oranges), Ken Davenport (Davenport Theatricals), Murphy Cross, and Heather Provost (with the conference registrant’s pitches in hand) - at the 2014 conference.


NMI Staff wrapping up with attendees at the 2016 conference.


ONLINE via ZOOM VIDEO CONFERENCING


The 2021 Conference took place entirely ONLINE via Zoom video conferencing. Participating teams only needed to have a computer with a webcam and a connection to the internet.