Monday, 23 February 2015

5 Things Your Film Pitch Could Be Lacking

Five Things Your Film Pitch Could Be Lacking

One of my favourite modules in University (there weren't that many to be fair) was Producing and Marketing. I loved learning about how to sell your film to potential buyers and I was fascinated at all the little details that could make or break a pitch.

If by some chance you're reading this and you are not a filmmaker, don't click away just yet. A lot of the points I'll be making can easily be transferred into other creative professions, in which you have to pitch a project to a potential buyer or client.

For those filmmakers who have never pitched before, it can be very confusing to know what your film pitch should include to really sell your idea. The most common form of pitching an independent project these days, is through crowd funding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. This gives you a few options when it comes to pitching, a written pitch, a verbal pitch, a video pitch or a combination of all 3.

You may already have a pitch written up and ready to go and you're wondering if there's anything else you could add or anything you could improve to really make it successful? Below are a few key points my producing lecturer drilled into us when we had to pitch our own scripts.

Reveal the key points of the whole story. This will probably be argued against as there seems to be some debate as to wether you should reveal the end of your story. Personally I think yes. You have to remember that you are not pitching your film to an audience, you're pitching your film to someone who is going to give you money to make it. Those people want to be reassured they're investing in a good strong story and they can't do that if you don't tell them how it ends.

You need to make sure you have identified the key plot points in your script that really make it interesting. Then, when you start your pitch, you will have the most exciting parts of your story ready to entice the buyer/investor.

Make sure you have a catchy logline. A logline is a short sentence that sums up the plot of your film. It needs to be short and to the point, explaining the general premise of what happens. e.g. 'A lonely young small-town girl is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.' - The Wizard Of Oz

What is your genre and what existing films does it resemble? It's essential to know exactly what genre your film falls into when marketing your project, all films will fall into a genre or cross of genres. It helps to think of similar films already released, this allows you to really narrow down your genre. For example, in university I wrote a script about a young woman who believed she was little red riding hood and how that innocent belief began to spiral out of control. I pitched this as a cross between The Game with Michael Douglas, as it had thriller elements but it was also similar to the film Red Riding Hood with Amanda Seyfried as it was also a dark fantasy. 

This just gives people a better idea of how your script will play out and what kind of tone and audience you're trying to target. 

Examples of visual style. This ties in nicely with the previous point. Talk about what visual style you want your film to have, what kind of camera shots do you want to include? Is it going to be all hand held? Is it going to be graded in a specific kind of way? 

Think of directors whose style you really want to emulate and talk about how you would use that style to tell your story. 

Gather a list of FAQ's. This can be from family and friends or you can have a think of what kinds of questions people not involved in your project might ask you. It's always handy to pitch your idea to a family member or friend first and get their feedback. Take any questions they ask and come up with detailed answers, this just makes sure you're covered if your client or investor asks you loads of questions you're not prepared for. 

If you're making a video pitch for a crowd funding site, you still need to include all this information, even if you've already got it written down. The main thing you have to think about when pitching your idea, is to create a visual in their mind. Films are all about visuals, so your investors need to be able to see it clearly in their heads before they can make a decision. 

These are just key points of pitching a film, but what else would you say is important to include in a project pitch? 

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