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I learned how best to 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.

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.

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