1 - Where to Start
Here is how I like to start my pitches. I introduce myself (seems like a logical first step, but so many people forget this), then I tell them the genre of my film (be specific if it is a sub-genre like romantic-comedy) and then the title. Same rules apply if you are pitching a web series, television show, or any other form of media.
I will also describe the tone of my project, so-and-so meets so-and-so (make sure this is something the executive can easily visualize), and finally I divulge the big (hopefully high-concept) idea of my project, something very specific, like "an amusement park for dinosaurs" (Jurassic Park).
2 - Focus on the Big Picture
Don't get bogged down with unnecessary details or subplots (in film and television). Depending on the amount of time you have to pitch, many subplots and characters may not even make it into your pitch. Focus on the most interesting (and marketable) parts of your project.
3 - Just The Important People
Executives might hear dozens of pitches on any given day and there is no way they can remember the names of all your characters. The more characters you introduce in a pitch, the more diluted they become. Focus on your protagonist, antagonist, and anyone else that is absolutely vital to understanding the story. Same rules apply for a television show or web series. Whatever the medium, there are always main characters or stars. Focus on them.
4 - Choose your Words Carefully
Nobody ever purchased a project because it was described as the "greatest story ever told," and using vague terms such as "riveting" or "an emotional roller coaster" do absolutely nothing for you. Be specific and don't hide the good parts of your story/project. You are pitching to an executive who is making a business decision, not an audience. They want substance, not fluff.
5 - Structure Your Pitch
This might take a little bit of research on your part, but it is important to understand the pitch structure of whatever medium you are selling. Feature-length screenplays are usually pitched in a three-act style, where the pitcher focus is on the film’s inciting incident, plot points, midpoint, and dramatic climax.
Television (and web series) tends to focus more on characters and the major arc of the show. Executives want to see that your show can be produced for at least five years, so it is up to you to have an idea that fits that mold. On a television pitch, you would spend time describing the characters, the world, the pilot episode, the entire first season, and a little bit about the next four to five seasons. Again, don’t get bogged down with meaningless detail.
6 - Give them Emotion
Emotion, both on and off the page, sells. Give information about how an audience will sympathize and identify with the main character and their struggle. Tell us how the character is different, unique, and likable (or if they are unlikable, tell us what makes them so incredibly entertaining). Don't just call him "a guy."
7 - Sit Still!
If you are pitching to a live person, your body language and presentation skills matter. Don't bore the executive to death. Be lively, be entertaining, if it's a comedy, be funny! People in this industry want to work with those that they can get along with and this might be your first opportunity to show that you are a not a troll that lives and writes in his mother's basement. This is where practicing your pitch becomes incredibly important.
8 - Don't Hold Back
We all dream of seeing the trailer for our film playing on the big screen, before its release. Many trailers leave the audience with a question or some type of mystery that can only be answered by purchasing a ticket to see your masterpiece. The executive you are pitching to is not going to purchase a ticket, so don't treat them like rift-raft. If an executive asks follow-up questions such as "so what happens at the end," don't respond by saying, "you'll have to read the script." Just don't do it. Because they won't.