Friday, June 30, 2017

Two-Minute Pitch for Roger Seller's "Master of Alaska"





Hey, boss!

What? What? 
Can't you see I'm busy?

No, the snoring makes it impossible

for me to come into the office. 

Why?

Because you insist on sleeping in the nude. 

But my personal trainer 
insisted that it's good
 for my chi!
Chi, possibly. Business, definitely not. Anyway, that "gypsy" fortune telleris NOT a personal trainer.

OK, OK. Murgatroyd, 
I'm putting on my running suit
What's the Big Rush? 

It's Marylyn and you've got a client.

That's cool. 
Who is it? 
Barry Lancet again? 


No, it's a guy named Roger Seiler
Tell him, I loved the Pink Panther

Different guy. 
This one is alive. 
and named Roger. 
Pity.

He says he's got something 
called "Master of.."
MASTER!?  
Is it a Fifty Shades ripoff? 

Don't think so, 
It's called "Master of Alaska"
OK, I'm dressed

but not decent
Quiet. Send him in. 



Nice to meet you, Peter.
Roger.
Whatever. 
How did you come up with the idea?

I grew up in King Salmon, Alaska as the son of a bush pilot. While I was studying film at UCLA, Dad read a biography of Aleksandr Baranov, the first Russian governor of Alaska, and told me, “Roger, when you get out of film school, you ought to make a movie about the Baranov adventure – it's a terrific story.” When I finally got around to this project, I wrote a screenplay but found that Baranov's story was so rich in material that it needed to be developed first as a historical novel. 

So, you ignored your father for years?
Excellent training for Hollywood.
What’s the Teaser Pitch?

This year is the Sesquicentennial of the 
U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia,
Excuse me. 
the Sasquatch? 
Sesquicentennial. 
It's like a Centennial but it's 150 years 
instead of 100 years. 

Too bad, I thought we had a 
monster best-seller on our hands. 
"monster, " get it? 
Ummm, yes. 
Anyway, this year is the Sesquicentennial of the U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia, which never could have happened, was it not for Aleksandr Baranov preventing the British from snatching Alaska away from the Russians and tacking it onto Canada. 

He was sent to Alaska in 1790 to run the place for Tsarina Catherine the Great for 5 years, but everyone sent to replace him died on the way, so he was stuck there for 28 years. During that time, he was shipwrecked, forced to marry a Native chief's daughter to get food for his men, survived a huge earthquake and tsunami that wiped out the main Russian town that he then rebuilt, endured vicious storms and the massacre of his village at Sitka by Tlingit armed by the British, retook the area in the 5-day Battle of Sitka, then thanks to his Native wife Anna's coaching in empathy, made peace with the Tlingit to stabilize Russian colonization, and as a result of all this, become known then as the world's greatest problem solver.
I have a question. 
Didn't Catherine 
ummm... have relations 
with her horse or something? 
That's just a myth. 

Too bad. 
But she was a lusty woman.
Maybe we can expand her part.
OK, who is your hero and 
how does he change in the book?

Aleksandr Baranov, a charismatic Russian businessman in 1790, goes to Alaska as a tough guy ready to take on whatever challenges came his way and ready to use a whip on anyone who got in his way. He soon learned to admire how the Natives successfully dealt with the brutal wilderness, learned how to work with them, and after marrying a young Alaskan in a Native ceremony--a girl he called Anna, he learned from her the art and heart of empathy that enabled him to make peace with the hostile Tlingit.

What in hell is a Tingle-it? 
Never mind. I don't want to kno
Why did you pick this title?

Master of Alaska describes the story of a man who faced and conquered the challenges of Alaska. It's an easy title to remember, and it implies power and drama in a place that most people already associate with adventure.

What’s the logline?

Master of Alaska is the rip roaring saga of Alaska's first Russian Governor, Aleksandr Baranov -- back in the time of Washington and Jefferson -- who faced incredible challenges in a brutal wilderness against hostile Natives who massacred hundreds of his people, and yet, he won the Battle of Sitka, expanded the Russian empire in the North Pacific, and with the help of his Native wife and their daughter made peace with the powerful Tlingit Indians and became known then as the world's greatest problem solver. 
Whew!

OK, let’s cut to the chase. 
Why should I, 
the Rich and Handsome
Movie Mogul, 
buy this book?

It's The Revenant with an engaging story and more depth of character. It's a fresh and unique tale about a fascinating part of history and the man who made it happen that most people know nothing about -- and it will captivate them. 

You wanna get “fame and fortune” with a picture that wins Oscars for Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Picture? Here's your ticket. Everyone who has read this book says, "This should be a movie!" And you should make it.

I will! i Will!
Murgatroyd, 
Marylyn.
Whatever. 
Cut this man a check for a million dollars
You're broke, remember?
I don't care. Use my ex-wife's account. 
This is like the Klondike Bar Gold Rush!
We're going to be RICH!


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

These Honored Dead: A Lincoln and Speed Mystery: Jonathan Putnam's Two-Minute Pitch



Maurice?
Where are you, dammit?

Right out here at the receptionist's 
desk where you told me to be.

Where is the receptionist? 
She quit. Said she was allergic to rubber so
she wouldn't take any more of your checks.

Well, that would save some
money if I was paying her any. 
Nevermind that. Come in here 
and take my lunch order. 
I'm starving!

Sure, but I'm chatting with this trial attorney. 
Don't you want to see this lawyer first? 
He's cute. 
A LAWYER! A TRIAL LAWYER!
Tell him I'm not here. 
Where are you?
Tahiti. Bora Bora. 
The White House. 
Anywhere unreachable.
Why don't you go right on in, Mr. Putnam? 
Don't bother to knock. Moneybags won't mind. 
Umm. Hello. Why are you standing on the ledge outside your window? 
Isn't that where most people talk to lawyers? 
Would it make you feel better if I was really here as an author?
Well, why didn't you say so? 
Just push that chair up 
against the..AAARGHK
What's an "aarghk"? 
Nevermind. Just help me to my 
Herman Miller chair. 
My back seems to be broken.
The salesman said it helps. 
OK.OK. So you're an author--
lemme see the book. 
A Lincoln on Speed Mystery? 
Is this a drug fantasy?


No. that's Abraham Lincoln and his roommate, Joshua Speed.
They were roommates and even slept in the same bed 
for years before Abe ran for President.
So they were gay? 
That's never been proven. 
Proven, Schmooven, 
It's not a problem in THIS town. 
Where did you get the idea? 
As a trial lawyer and a history buff, I wanted to write a historical mystery featuring a famous trial lawyer. Then I learned about Lincoln’s real-life best friend Joshua Speed, the son of a wealthy slave-owning family from Louisville, Kentucky, who shared a room with Lincoln for four years in Springfield, Ill. in the 1830s, before Lincoln married Mary Todd. I thought: what would it have been like to be the best friend of the most famous man in American history, only no one knew yet that he was going to be anything more than a simple frontier lawyer? And what would it be like if young Lincoln and Speed were the Holmes and Watson of the American frontier?
Why didn't you simply call
them Holmes and Watson? 
I think that's already been taken. 
Really? Never heard of them 
but you're the lawyer.  
What’s the Teaser Pitch?
A murder aboard a steamboat forces young lawyer Abraham Lincoln to make a fateful choice on which the future of the nation may hang – if his own client doesn’t first. Booklist says of Perish from the Earth: “An entertaining and well-researched murder mystery…both a mystery and a legal thriller.” Kirkus Reviews adds: "Enough historical accuracy to satisfy a Civil War re-enactor and enough courtroom proceedings to reveal the author as the Harvard-trained attorney that he is. A mystery for history buffs and legal eagles."
I suppose your hero 
is Abraham Lincoln
and not "Speed-o," 
How does he
change in the book?
Young Abraham Lincoln is forced to decide whether to save the life of his law client or advance the ideals of justice he holds so dear. Meanwhile, his real-life best friend Joshua Speed, a born and bred Southerner, realizes that his inborn prejudices have blinded him to many things in his life, including the solution to the murder mystery.
Really? Who did it? 
No. Don't tell me--I'll never read it. 
Why did you pick this title?
“Perish from the Earth” are the last four words of Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address. So the title both echoes the historical Lincoln and foreshadows the stakes that Lincoln faces in solving the mystery presented in the novel.
I thought only Eisenhower 
had a Gettysburg Address. 
What’s the logline?
A murder aboard a steamboat forces young lawyer Abraham Lincoln to make a fateful choice on which the future of the nation may hang – if his own client doesn’t first.
Lincoln and Speed
Buy it on Amazon
· OK, let’s cut to the chase. 
Why should I, the 
Incredibly Rich and Handsome 
Movie Mogul, buy this book?
Murder, suspense, high-stakes courtroom battles, and the young Abraham Lincoln. Real-life history comes alive.
History? I love history! 
Murgatroyd!
Maurice.
Whatever. 
Cut this young shyster a check for...
 Oh, never mind, just leave it blank. 
He's worth anything he wants. 
Does he know it's going to bounce? 
Not yet but
Welcome to Publishing, Mr. Putnam!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tired of Talking About Myself : Skin of Tatoos by Christina Hoag - Two-Minute Pitch

Tired of Talking About Myself : Skin of Tatoos by Christina Hoag - Two-Minute Pitch

Skin of Tatoos by Christina Hoag - Two-Minute Pitch

Ye gods, woman!
How did you sneak in here?
Are you some sort of reporter? 

Well, I used to be but now I write books. 
Is that why you're dressed as a nun? 


It's an old habit; works great with guerrillas and publishers. 
Oooh, a smart one. "Old Habit," huh? 
OK, my heart is beginning to fibrillate. 
How did you come up with the idea?

Years ago, I did a magazine story about gang members deported from the United States to El Salvador. I interviewed a number of these former homeboys in San Salvador and their stories stuck with me. They were essentially fish-out-of-water in a country where they hardly spoke the language. I actually ended up writing not about their lives in El Salvador but what I imagined what had led them to that situation.    
I can understand their situation,
I feel like a fish out of water 
everytime I walk into a bank.
Sort of  washed-out and dry. 
OK, What’s the Teaser Pitch?

Think “Sons of Anarchy” meets “The Outsiders.” A literary crime novel, Skin of Tattoos is about a gang member who wants to leave “la vida loca” but finds his homies offer him what he cannot get elsewhere, from employment to acceptance, but in the end he finds that gang life is all a facade.  It’s also about the struggles of an immigrant family in Los Angeles, and youth coming to accept and forgive their families as flawed people.  
   Gang life is nothing, he should try the movie business. 
Talk about your "flawed people"
 How does this antihero hero change in the book?

Magdaleno, aka Mags, is a twenty-year-old guy who thinks he knows it all—and himself, but of course he doesn’t. Despite his desire to leave the gang, his pride and ego lead him to stay in it. In the end, he finds that this costs him everything and everyone he loves.

Sounds good. I love a happy ending.
"Skin of Tattoos"? 
Why did you pick this title?

Mags’s tattoos identify him as a gang member, but he’s a lot more than superficial markings on his skin. Trouble is, he cannot escape the tattoos and what they symbolize because they are inked into his skin. Getting rid of tattoos is a long painful process, just as Mags leaving his past is a long, painful process.   
Why should he leave? 
Some of the most successful 
people in LA are gangsters.
Never mind, I'm just dreaming.
What’s the logline?

Sometimes your best friends are your worst enemies.
I like that. 
A lot.
OK, let’s cut to the chase. 
Why should I, 
the Incredibly Rich 
and Handsome 
Movie Mogul, 
buy this book?

This is a raw emotional drama about a guy who makes some bad choices, ones that carry high stakes and are difficult to reverse. It’s a story about friendship, love, betrayal and family in inner-city neighborhoods where life is cheap. It’s got plenty of suspense and action, but also heart and pathos

I LOVE it! 
Pathos hung out with 
Aramis and d'Artagnan, right? 
I always liked the way Aramis smelled.
Sign this contract.
No, don't bother reading it,
Just sign it.
Next stop: Billions!

Monday, September 26, 2016

2 Minute Book Pitch for "33" by Jules Smith



WOWSER! Who is this gorgeous women in my office? 

Wowser already left for the day/ 
This is Chauncey. 
Should I call your wife 
and let her know
you have a visitor?


Chaucey! You do that and you'll be eating 
Ramen noodles for the rest of your
 short time in the book biz.

Young lady, that's an engaging hat 
but do you think you could lower it 
and let me know why you're here? 
I mean, besides the obvious, of course. 
(points to well-worn casting couch.) 

(Jules Smith laughs derisively.)
Can't blame an old man for trying.
OK, I suppose you have a book that's 
going to set the world on fire. 

I have an odd penchant for photographing doors from around the world. I don’t know why, but I find doors fascinating; particularly timeworn, weathered doors that have stood firm against the years and been passed through by many.

Some doors stay barricaded; some are always open; some hang on their hinges bearing the tattered scars of life. Doors have stories and so do people.  I felt it was time to unveil the untold stories behind the doors.

Doors? That's not all that odd.
Why, my neighbor up on  Laurel Canyon 
collects photographs of...
Sir!
Your testimony  at his trial
said you knew nothing of 
his little "hobby" with all those 
telephoto lenses!
Oh yes, 
Let's get back to doors, 
What’s the teaser pitch
for this book?  


Think Tales of The Unexpected.  Beautiful twists; the kind that play in people's minds’ and get them to act in unconventional ways because their emotions overpower their logic and reason.  There is nothing quite as fascinating and disturbing as human behavior.

Disturbing? 
That always sells...
Who is your protagonist?

I have many protagonists because this is a book of short stories.  Each one a hero in their own right. Every character in this book will touch something inside you; resonate with emotion and most definitely poke at your vulnerability.  Push buttons?  But, of course… 

Push Buttons? 
Doorbell Buttons? 
Wait, I can see it!
"Death of a Door to  Door Salesman!"
NO 
OK , OK.
No reason to get snippy.
What's your title and why?

I chose 33 as the title for the following reasons:

There are 33 stories.
I wanted a number that worked like a door number on my cover which is a photograph of one of my many door pictures.
A number conjures up a slight sense of darkness, unease, and ambiguity much like the emotions unveiled in my stories.

I  like the ambiguity. 
Then I can sell it to anyone.
What’s the logline?

‘Behind Every Door Lies An Untold Story’

Aint that the truth…

OK, here's the Big Question.
Why should I,  the rich, handsome, 
Book Mogul buy your book 
especially since you haven't  even
lowered your hat so I can see you? 

Because you’re a discerning reader.  Because you adore an Amuse-Bouche with a kick to wake your weary mind.  Because you want to be left thinking and slightly unsettled.


Amuse-Butch? 
I LOVE IT. 
Chauncey. Cut this woman a blank check
We've got our next Big One!
What's that name again?