It took me ten days to write and perfect my
D.C., I stayed at a hotel called
the Windsor Inn that was the dumpiest hotel I’ve ever slept in. My room was
underground. The so-called “window” looked out into a hallway. The television
I was the second pitcher to arrive at the venue. Soon
all five of us were there, sitting around and twitching. Three pitchers were
women, two were men.
One of the organizers came over to announce the order
in which we would pitch. I was to go last. That meant an extra hour of sitting
around and stewing.
We filed down to the auditorium to check out our
“How does my video look?” I asked Josh, the organizer.
“YOU don’t have a video,” he snarked.
“Yes, I do! I have a two-minute promo that I sent in last
week. It’s an important part of my presentation.”
“It’s not here. Do you have a copy with you?’
I rushed to my notebook and retrieved a jump drive.
Luckily it uploaded quickly.
Things were ready to go, but I thought I would pass
out from fear.
Meanwhile, the auditorium was filling up. I was glad
to be seated on the aisle, and that I had memorized the route to the
bathroom. During the other people’s
presentations, I got up twice and headed to the restroom.
None of the other presentations grabbed me, even
though several presenters had great ideas. Great ideas were being wasted
because of stage fright.
What the hell. I walked to the podium.
“Hello, I’m Laura Valtorta,” I began. “Attorney turned
filmmaker. My project is ‘Queen of the Road,’ a reality television series about
commercial truck drivers.”
My first joke was “These drivers lead exciting,
dangerous, and difficult lives, and that’s just trying to find a place to
park!” The audience (starved for entertainment) roared with laughter.
I smiled into the camera and made my way a few
minutes later to the second joke. “Donna the driver warns me she’s very
conservative, but her wife, Carol, is much more liberal.” Big laughter.
The audience loved my video. Several audience members
came up to speak to me afterwards.
The bad part was, I lost!
The winner was Ann Marie Dinardo, with her show
Heroes,” a narrative re-creation of people taken hostage who talk down the
After the winner was announced, one of the panel
members gave us detailed critiques. He grabbed the arms of me and the winner. “It was
between these two,” he said. “They knew what their shows would be, from
beginning to end.”
The panelists did not find my truck drivers compelling
characters. Jeesh! If my truck drivers
are not entertaining women – I don’t know who can be.
Delivering the pitch was fun, and the cocktail party
that evening was a blast. I met Morgan
Spurlock and a bunch of D.C. film people.