This week I pitched my idea of a short film to the rest of my class. I was
very extremely nervous…
I researched some critics that have narrowed down the elements to successful pitching.
In my search I came across Jean Ann Wright who is an animation developer that recently wrote a book titled The Techniques of Script Development: From Script Development To Pitch (2013), which includes important techniques of pitching a script or idea. In concurrence with these elements is Jurgen Wolff and Kerry Cox who wrote Successful Scriptwriting: How to Write and Pitch Winning Scripts for Movies, Sitcoms, Soaps, Serials and Variety Shows.
- Do your homework. Research the company you’re pitching too. Find out what kind of shows/movies they generally promote and sell.
- Research the executive that you’re pitching too. Find out their work and achievements to create personal relation with them.
- Be prepared. Have your logline, treatment and script ready. Also prepare 3 other ideas incase your first idea gets shot down quickly so you’re not wasting the opportunity.
- Rehearse your presentation. Get the timing right, be passionate and believe in your story! Remember to include the title, genre and brief concept.
- During the pitch. Dress in neutral tones, bring in small props to provide visual aids that represent your project. Be confident, relaxed and open with high enthusiasm! Use effective voice and body language. Emphasise the protagonist and it’s plight aswell as relationships so the audience and executive can relate. Know your story and characters thoroughly so you can be ready to answer questions at the end.
- After the pitch write and thank them for their time. Work on new ideas and keep in touch, because most projects are sold through long-term relationships.
But it paid off! My film was selected by my class to be one of the top 8 out of 50+ ideas presented in that day. What an honour!
Who’s pitch did I find the most successful?
I think the most successful pitch in class was Maureen’s pitch. What I found most interesting is that she is most interested in production design, so her idea stems from flashbacks to the 1940’s, a very aesthetically unique and beautiful time.
Her pitch was the most successful because the audience was successfully able to visualise it.
To aid the visualisation of her project, Maureen brought in some old photographs of her family from that time period. The vintage photos were passed around the class and the physical prop really made a huge difference in the delivery of her pitch – which is also mentioned above as an essential element.
Most of the detail in the presentation was committed to the setting and props she would be using in her film. These settings and props became conceivable, as she had already scouted two old 1930s cars she would be using. The passion involved in already scouting for cars and props also propelled her project forwards as I became excited to see what could become of it.
The story of her pitch was extremely relevant for our time. It was about lesbian lovers from the 1940s who gave up their relationship for career and normalcy. Today diverse sexualities are moreso accepted and celebrated even, which is a milestone that needs to be recognised from those that aided it and sacrificed their love for their careers and families.
What did I think of my own pitch?
I pitched a short-film project titled 2 Birds.
After I said my pitch my heart was racing and I was sweating from nerves. I fear that introverts will never be fully comfortable speaking in front of an audience. The only two things that comforted me and made me feel somewhat at ease was the familiarity of the slideshow I had made and also the message behind the story I was trying to sell.
On reflection, some strengths I found in my pitch were that my delivery was confident but relaxed which was less professional but worked for my story and made the audience comfortable with me pitching. Though I didn’t feel relaxed, I ensured my non-verbal communication showed this by pointing and referring back to my projected slideshow, giving everyone equal eye-contact and not fidgeting with my hands. Other strengths were I spoke clearly with a good pace that was understandable. I also wore neutral clothing (dark green button up and black jeans) so as to not distract the audience from my slideshow.
Some weaknesses I’ve since identified were silly mistakes that could have been avoided if I did one of the essential pitching elements – rehearse! I wasn’t sure when to saw the overall theme my story is trying to portray so I said it at the end. In the future I think I’d prefer to say it first to set the audience up with a powerful mindset of positivity towards my story. I also forgot to say WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN THE PLOT. I feel like this is a necessity of conveying the story to my audience.
I will be pitching next week so these are all things I will be taking into consideration next time around.