Pitching has always been a rough way to make a living as a writer in Hollywood.
The process itself is miserable. I know guys who enjoy it, but in my opinion, a writer writes. Pitching is more akin to performance, a separate skill set, and some of the best writers I know have never really been any good at explaining something before they write it, and no matter how many times they have to do it, they never seem to get better at it.
My managers hooked my writing partner and I up with a great pitcher named Todd Komarnicki almost a decade ago, and Todd coached the two of us on the fine art of the pitch. It was a major milestone for us, the moment we went from writers who couldn't pitch to save their lives to writers who occasionally manage to put together a pitch that makes a compelling enough case that someone takes pity on us and pays us just so we'll get out of their office.
In the last few years, though, it's been nigh impossible to sell a pitch unless you had a ton of elements already attached, like a director or a cast or some underlying material that potential buyers could put their hands on. The pure pitch-only pitch was a dying breed, and I've been frustrated by what felt like an industry-wide contraction as a result, as I'm sure many writers have.
Not Simon Kinberg and Aline Brosh McKenna, though. Not after this week.