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Meet Our 2023 Moonshot Pilot Accelerator Fellows: Erin Kathleen

In this Q&A, Erin Kathleen shares how to harness the power of storytelling when pitching to major companies.


2023 Moonshot Pilot Accelerator Fellow Erin Kathleen

Applications for our 2024 Moonshot Pilot Accelerator are open through the April 14 final deadline, so we are taking this opportunity to shine a spotlight on our past fellows!


Erin Kathleen was one of the fellows in our 2023 Moonshot Pilot Accelerator (formerly WWFC’s Pilot Accelerator).


Below, learn more about Erin, including her mindset for pitching to execs and the way the Moonshot Pilot Accelerator grew her contact list.


What drew you to TV writing, and how did you get started?

I'd been writing features for a while when my representatives said it would be good to have a TV pilot in my arsenal. I didn't know anything about writing for TV so the first thing I did was actually start watching more television. I know, what a chore! But then I also read a few pilots and figured out the act structure from there. I had an idea cooking for a pilot and started writing it after first learning what I could. 


What inspired you to write the pilot script that was selected for the Moonshot Pilot Accelerator?

For me, I wanted to have a better understanding of the Irish Troubles and the people I came from. The situation is complicated and there are no easy answers. I didn't want to write a show that didn't address the complexities of the issue or shortchange the struggle. On the one hand, there’s a danger when people are indoctrinated into extremism. On the other side of that, you have people fighting an oppressor. What’s the right way to fight? Is there a right way to fight? DARK IRISH tries to wrestle with the question of whether violence is ever the answer.


What's something you learned from the accelerator workshops?

There were so many things that I learned, but if I had to drill down to my personal essential takeaway, it would be this: you can be memorable by being yourself. You are human, and you are telling a human story. Figure out a way to pitch to the executives (also humans) in the room by connecting with them on this level. People in the TV business value good stories, and you have a good story to tell. Now act like it.


What was your experience with pitching before the Moonshot Pilot Accelerator, and what did you learn from pitching to so many companies?

Before this, I had only pitched a few times before for both features and television. Through the accelerator, I felt a lot more sharp, especially after practicing my pitch so much and then eventually pitching to so many companies. I shed a lot of fear in that process, and each pitch I grew more assured in my story and in myself. Eventually, I was just having fun and being really engaged, which is, I think, the best way to pitch.


My advice to someone doing their first pitch is to take a few deep breaths and remember that somewhere in the middle of your pitch, it's going to start to flow and you're going to forget how important the executives are and you're just going to be telling a story as though you're around a campfire. Try to harness that as best you can — the people you're pitching to will feel the difference. 


How has your career progressed since the accelerator ended?

My list of contacts is now that much longer — and that's everything in this industry. I can email the executives with which I was connected with any new ideas I have. I now have a pretty amazing group of women I can reach out to for questions and moral support. And I have also made strides as a writer. I'm a lot more confident in understanding that I bring value to the table and that my stories are my currency. 


What would you say to a writer who's thinking of applying to the Moonshot Pilot Accelerator?

Do it! You have nothing to lose and putting your work out there is the first step toward success. If you get to be a part of this amazing accelerator, it will make you a better writer and pitcher.


What are you working on next?

I'm currently working on a horror feature, a new thriller TV pilot, a novel, and several short stories. I tend to focus on only one thing at a time, so when I say I'm “working” on something, it means I've started it or outlined it, then set it aside. But I'm usually always thinking about my stories in some way. I consider thinking to be part of the writing process, even if it's not on the page yet.


ABOUT ERIN KATHLEEN

Erin Kathleen's work has appeared on the Black List and been honored by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships, Austin Film Festival, Moonshot Initiative, and the Cinestory Foundation. Erin is drawn to complex characters, social issues, and a tense, twisty atmosphere in all of her work. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.



How to apply to the Moonshot Pilot Accelerator


Apply to the Moonshot Pilot Accelerator by the final deadline of April 14, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. You can submit via Coverfly or FilmFreeway.


All of our semi-finalists will have their scripts read by two industry judges: showrunners, TV series creators, high-level producers, and working TV writers. Read their bios here.


Our 6-8 selected fellows will participate in three weeks of virtual workshops, where they’ll get pitch feedback from a development exec, a showrunner, and a speech coach; experience a mock writers’ room; and meet with an agent and an entertainment lawyer. Read about our expert guests here.


Then, during Pitch Week, they’ll have the opportunity to pitch one-on-one to companies including HBO, Netflix, Starz, Amazon Studios/Prime Video, Gersh, Berlanti Productions, Broadway Video, Level Forward, Element Pictures, Irish Cowboy, Freevee, BFD, and more!

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