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SamCaricature-2I learned how to best handle pitches from insurance public relations representatives from watching “The Player,” a 1992 movie starring Tim Robbins as a Hollywood producer harassed by would-be screenwriters and directors. Read on for some tips on how best to approach editors with story ideas.

Besieged with ideas even while taking care of business in the men’s room, Mr. Robbins’ character insists everyone tell him what their film is about in 20 words or less. If the peddler can’t sell the concept that quickly, he’s not interested.

I know it may sound harsh, but I have found this to be a quite effective way to force PR people to not only get to the point, but to focus on why I should agree to green-light their proposal—which, as in the movie business, only happens in a relative handful of instances.

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