ASIFA-East Seminar on Pitching with Jim Arnoff

Posted by on Dec 13, 2008 in ASIFA Events | 3 Comments


Article  by Dan Meth.

Last night, ASIFA East sponsored a highly informative seminar on network animation pitching with Jim Arnoff. To a packed NYU lecture hall, Arnoff shared two decades of acquired experience and wisdom as a entertainment industry packaging agent.

The highly energetic Arnoff immediately got the crowd involved by having every singly audience member state their name, experience, and purpose for attending. This exercise had a purpose, explained Arnoff; when you pitch you will need to talk about yourself and you will need to make yourself sound good. He taught us right away that a revealing, confident, and specific description of yourself is vital in any pitch meeting.

Arnoff kept the audience involved for the next two hours, answering every question we could think of. He covered every subject from budgets to body language to hiring a production company.

Here’s just a couple of the gems of advice I picked up:

– Don’t immediately play your demo in a meeting. Establish a rapport first, get personal, figure out if you have any friends in common, or ask them about their family, etc.
– Namedropping is good. Mentioning people and places you’ve worked with increases your value in the eyes of the exec.
– Be able to answer every question. Never say “we’ll get back to you” because you only have one chance to impress them.
– Know the network’s demographic, their own ad campaign, how they want to present themselves.
– Don’t be overly concerned with having your idea stolen (a common worry in the business).
– Your demo reel should be no more than 3 minutes.
– Let there be room for development in your pitch. If it seems too complete, the execs won’t feel engaged.

The pitch meeting contains so many pitfalls of its own that the premise for your TV show is only a  small part of the challenge. Thanks to Jim Arnoff’s lecture, someone in the audience may one day get that illusive network greenlight.


  1. Emmett Goodman
    December 13, 2008

    I’m so sorry I missed this. My biggest worry is coming up with a good premise, so at least I didn’t miss that. But at least the gems are noteworthy.

  2. David Levy
    December 14, 2008

    Hi Emmett,

    I think a common pitfall for creativity is trying to think about a great idea or premise. Just let ideas happen and judge them later. One can’t really create if they are thinking, “this has to be great” the whole time. Just enjoy the process. It also helps to stick to areas of interest that appeal to you…. just like SpongeBob was created by a former Marine Biologist. Write what you know.


  3. Emmett Goodman
    December 14, 2008

    Thanks, Dave.

    I’m actually trying to learn how to do that.