Who doesn't these days?
A friend of mine, a screenwriter who landed the post of a WGA writing intern at a popular TV series, told me the story of his cab ride from LAX to the studio -- in which the cabbie pitched him a script! It's an often retold story, so I rarely tell anyone on a flight to LA or nearby Long Beach that I'm a screenwriter.
But then it happened to me yesterday on the phone. I called a printer in another major metropolis where studios reside to get a quote on photocopying the Top Three Screenplays in the New Hampshire Film Festival Screenplay Competition and delivering them to our judge's office. When the guy on the other end of the phone pitched me his script, I scratched his company off my list. I was not about to give him the job...so he could pitch to our judge upon delivery too. I didn't care how good his prices were. (Actually he was going to charge me more than the service I eventually hired.)
Knowing when and where to pitch to someone is as important as knowing how to pitch. I'll give the guy credit: he had his pitch down cold. But when he asked, "Is this something your company would be interested in?" I could only repeat what I had told him at the beginning of our conversation -- that I am the Director of the NHFF Screenplay Competition, and that he is welcome to submit his script in next year's competition via Withoutabox, but I'm not a company. Rather, I'm just a screenwriter who, like him, would also be interested in finding a studio interested in acquiring my script.
Like great dialogue writing, pitching needs to be about listening first. If he had listened to me when he initially asked, he would have heard that I was not a person he should be pitching to. Or even if I was, I was not interested in hearing his pitch at that moment. I felt like I had dialed into a telemarketer. Resisting the urge to tell him, "Take me off your list!" and hanging up, instead I removed him from my list when I hung up.
So...you want to be a screenwriter? First rule: listen.