6. Preparing a pitch

 

Wherever you end up in the Media Industry it is highly likely that you will have to pitch projects at some point. On this module you will gain knowledge and experience on how to present your ideas like a professional.  

Here’s a satirical short film created by London-based filmmakers Simon Ryninks and Zak Klein. It takes on a number of filmmaking tropes, including breaking the  fourth wall and the central concept that movie careers are made or broken with a pithy elevator pitch.

 

 

 

 

For CW2 you will need to pitch your FMP idea in 2 ways.

  1. As a mini-pitch (also known as an elevator pitch)
  2. As a proposal presentation

These are called pitches because they are essentially a sales pitch.  The aim is to get approval for production or money from some backers.For both of these preparation is paramount – and a little bit of courage.  The more prepared you are, the less likely the nerves or stress will get you – I promise!

Here are some tips to help you become pitch perfect;

The 4 R’s of Pitching:

1. Review

First breakdown your story and determine its most powerful elements – these are the components of your story that will convey both its emotional power and its commercial potential.  We want to be moved by your story. What emotions does your story reveal and invoke in the audience? Create a character profile listing all the details of your main character/s to help you too.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 2.58.16 PM.png

Things to include:  a compelling description of the main character or hero; the hero’s compelling desire (every story is ultimately about someone wanting something – what does yours want?); and the conflict – the seemingly insurmountable obstacles the hero must face to accomplish their goal.

You might also add things like character arc, theme, access, topicality or your own personal connection to the story.

Also include the story’s context and previously successful films,novels or other media in a similar genre, plot elements and/or audience demographic – these will help you to convince there’s a ready-made audience for your story.

Pick the elements that best convey the emotion your story elicits. So if it’s an action story, the conflict will probably be paramount; if it’s a love story or documentary, the character arc will be much more important.
Here’s an example (it’s clichéd – you can do better!):

“I am shooting an inspirational documentary called Cloudburst. It is about a young, extremely gifted musician who dreams of becoming a symphony conductor.  The only problem is he can’t read music. As a result, no one in the music business will give him a chance.  Yet he ultimately succeeds because of his honesty, optimism, and hard work.”

2. Write

(Ok, it sounds like it does it begin with R!) After selecting the key elements to include in your pitch, you must prepare a script of exactly what you’re going to say.

Don’t overwrite – the biggest mistake made is giving too much detail of the story. Think themes and concepts and character.

Show don’t tell.  One of the most important lessons to learn as a writer or producer. Show your story don’t just tell it. Show us a character, a scene, a developing emotion, a visual example.

Some other elements you could include;

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 2.47.46 PM.png– The time and place of the. Describe the place a little, paint a real picture – what does it feel like, what does it smell like, what’s going on there?

– Introduce your character or contributor. Give us something really human about him or her – really make him or her feel real.

– Describe the character’s plight. What is he or she up against? What is his or her journey going to be like?

– Describe what your project is about. Remember, this means a description of the themes and goals of your project – what you aim to teach or say to your audience – not the detailed script.

– Detail the access/permission you have secured that shows your project is viable (including  contributors, locations or authorities)

– Close with a hook – something to keep your audience wondering what might happen and wishing for more. A pitch that ends on intrigue is a perfect pitch.

 

3. Rehearse

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 4.20.14 PMYou must practice and practice your pitch, then rewrite it and practice it some more. You should read your script out loud so that it becomes natural and conversational. And rehearse with others – friends, family or fellow students. Get feedback from them, encouraging them to comment and criticize. This will really help you!

For recorded pitches the visual elements are really important. Choose visuals that create the look and mood of your intended piece. A horror story has it’s own mood, and an informational post has it’s own mood or tone too.

Pay attention to the beginning – you want a hook to grab the listener – consider different ways to draw your audience into your pitch – perhaps using a clip or some audio or an amazing fact, or joke.

Also pay attention to the audio. Try not to read the script word for word – this kills spontaneity and flexibility. You should speak conversationally (not in a “radio” voice).

 

4. Revelation

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 2.50.11 PM.png

You want to make a connection with your pitch to the listener so it’s really important you convey your passion for the project.  If you are not that into your idea – it will show (so chose another one).

The pitch should end with the reasons why you feel passionate about wanting to make the project. You want to make an emotional connection that will convince us it’s worth watching.  Lure the audience into your story and leave them wanting more…

 

 

 

Further Reading:

How to craft the perfect pitch – http://nofilmschool.com

BBC commissioning website –  http://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/tv/ideas-from-the-public

Greenlight my movie. Hollywood’s Official submission platform for filmmakers. Life’s a pitch & then they buy.     http://www.greenlightmymovie.com

 

 

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