Pitching: The Dreaded Thing Most Filmmakers Must Master

Pitching, much like writing, directing and producing, is a huge deal. It is one of the skills that can make or break your project in terms of selling or securing distribution rights. You work hard to come up with an idea. You then write it and with a push, you gather enough courage to actually make it. You’re feeling like you can’t do no wrong and then you realize that you have a film in the can and then what? What do you do when you want everyone to see your project or hear an idea that can help you achieve your goal? According to Stephanie Palmer, author of the book Good in a Room: How To Sell Yourself and Your Ideas And Win Over Any Audience: ” Just Like screenplays are structured around Acts, beats, and themes, pitches are structured around questions and answers”.

What’s my film about?

One of the most important things during the pitch is to tell the audience what your film is about. This comes in form of a logline, which is a 1-sentence version that sum up the premise of a story. It is vital that you understand how important this section is because it is the first step you take to capture your audience. This is when it is important to hone and polish your logline while making it as strong as possible. If you fail to deliver a strong logline, chances are they will think that you have no vision or clear understanding of your own story. An example of a logline is: After going out to diner, a pessimistic young man discovers that his date his a spider creature with the sole intention of eating him, now he must try to survive with the help of his friend.

What other film most look like yours?

As with all panel or producers listening to you, they want to know whether there is a similar project to what you’re pitching. The film business is all about what is working right now, so you want to have a comparison pitch about a film that was successful and recently produced. According to Stephanie Palmer in her article 10 Steps To Writing A Movie Pitch: A Case Study: ”Genre gives context to the story, suggest a structure for the story, and has implications for budget, scope, and potential revenue”. It is a good idea to create a board in which you compare and contrast. You could break it down to genre, Rating, Domestic Box office, etc.…this is a great way to see a pattern that worked before and you could utilize what you discovered and apply that to your own project.

Pitching Do’s and Don’ts

Filmmakers need to know what their films are all about and the genre they need to be in. According to Stephanie Palmer, whenever you pitch, you have to lead with genre and you don’t want to talk about too many characters to the panel. It is also important to take feedbacks in order to improve your project.

One thing that you can’t do is to give a positive opinion of your work. You want the producers to form their own opinions and see for themselves if the story moves them. Always reserve yourself during the pitch. You don’t ever argue with anyone. You don’t like something that someone said about your film, you thank him or her for giving you a constructive criticism. You should always have a positive attitude because you don’t know if your next pitch would depend on it.

Conclusion

One of the most important aspects of pitching is your ability to answers all the questions about your film. It would demonstrate to the panel that you have a clear vision and you should be entrusted in delivering to finish a project.

Links

http://www.chinesefilmarket.com/2014/11/08/afm-2014-day-4-pitch-conference/

http://www.moviehatch.com/index.php/Public/Pitching-Tips/dos-a-donts.html

http://www.thesmalls.com/dos-and-don’ts-making-short-film

http://www.americanfilmmarket.com/sites/www.americanfilmmarket.com/files/Pitching_Essentials.pdf

 

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