There is never one tried and true way to make it as a screenwriter in Hollywood so learning about how are screenplays pitched at film festivals can be an important point for you. You can try moving to Los Angeles, write a good enough spec script, and get an agent who will try to sell it. You can write and/or direct a short film and enter it into competitions for exposure to your repertoire of work. Or you can attend expos and festivals for what are known as “pitch festivals.”
Pitch festivals are the "American Idol" for amateur screen writers. In front of a panel of representatives from different production companies (Lions Gate, Dreamworks, Really Useful Films, etc.), you are given five minutes to pitch your logline, the strength of the beginning, the sprinkle of the middle and the gist of the ending. In those five minutes you have your chance to give it your all! Afterwards, if there’s a representative who’s interested in your pitch, they’ll make the necessary contact with you. Of course, at these pitch festivals there are seminars and Q&As sessions to utilize your time, including seminars of do’s and dont’s for when your time is up to pitch your screenplay.
But are these festivals worth it? This question could take some serious consideration and research when the festival admissions range anywhere between $250 – $500. And if you don’t live in California, where a majority of the festivals take place, there’s your added traveling expenses to take into account as well. The attitude towards these festivals is of mixed company. There are varying ratios to how many successful pitches are made into deals and how many screen writers are actually signed to a representative. There are also a few unsatisfied screenwriters who have blogged about their first-hand experience at the festivals who have deemed them a waste of time and money.
Of course, screenplay pitches have made their way to the internet as well. Virtualpitchfest.com is a service in which you pitch your script to over 240 Hollywood producers and representatives directly over your computer. You can try their service as a demo or become a member if the site suits your needs. As a further testament to their website, they provide testimonials and a counter of how many script deals have been made and how many clients have been signed on their home page.