Courtney LeMarco, the Seattle-based movie and TV producer who founded TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), launched The Big Pitch, a quarterly pitch competition for young-adult minority creatives (18-25) in the greater Seattle area, six months ago.
Initially, LeMarco said, The Big Pitch was incepted as an event where people came to the TLG offices and had their pitches looked over. Higher-ups would additionally offer insights on the industry and what projects were being worked on.
“It’s more of like a networking thing,” LeMarco said.
LeMarco created the opportunity in part because of his own experience as a Black man who grew up in a low-income community with few opportunities for success. He wanted to give young minorities a platform to not only share their ideas but also be provided with invaluable resources to see their creativity through.
But now — i.e., The Big Pitch’s second wave — logistics have had to be rethought in light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and, more recently, the regional and national surge of police-brutality protests.
Rather than have an in-person event, TLG is instead having those interested submit their one-sheet, concept-detailing pitches online. (The deadline is June 22.) After proposals are combed through, 10 finalists will be selected to pitch a TV or film concept to “top Hollywood executive producers.”
LeMarco declined to share specific names as to keep it a surprise to finalists, but noted that some of those chosen have worked on popular projects like the “Fast and Furious” movie franchise.
The creator with the winning pitch will be awarded a $20,000 Service Grant that goes toward their project. The pitch will then be developed in conjunction with TLG. LeMarco said that whether someone is pitching for film or television, expectations are loose — there is no one type of idea that is especially sought after.
“We’re looking for simplicity, number one — we don’t want things that are too complicated,” he said. “But we’re looking for stories that are current and valid. I think there’s a lot going on in the country right now. So anything that kind of incorporates real-life issues that we’re facing and anything that incorporates that, even if it’s scripted or non-scripted, I think that’s really important. Now’s not the time for us to be presenting anything that has a lot of fluffing — I think people want something that’s a little bit more closer to home, and touches the heart.”
LeMarco said that if someone is interested in sending in their pitch but is unsure of themselves, they should, regardless, “do it, because they’re not going to win if they don’t.”
He noted that the way The Big Pitch is designed, even if someone isn’t selected to have their project developed, there’s still an opportunity for TLG to help guide development, and what to consider for next steps.
“I’ve got to where I am in my career by taking risks and just saying, ‘OK, I’m going to do it,’ even if I didn’t know how to do it,” LeMarco said. “It doesn’t have to be perfect; you have to put the time and energy into it. And you’d be surprised at some of the results.”
Eventually, LeMarco would like to widen the reach of The Big Pitch, which for now is catered to burgeoning creatives in the greater Seattle area.
“We would actually like to expand it to a national program where we could start working with young minority creators, because it’s a lot — it’s an issue that’s bigger than just here in Washington, in the Seattle area, in the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “We would definitely like to expand this and bring other corporate sponsors on board and make this a much bigger thing, where we’re actively going out across the country, finding really talented young minority creators and giving them an opportunity of a lifetime to actually have their projects brought to fruition…Obviously, we’re in a very tumultuous time right now, so we have to be careful in thinking about how we want to do that. But that’s definitely the goal.”
For more information, go to https://www.tlgmotionpictures.com/thebigpitch. Those eligible for and interested in submitting a pitch can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.