The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide: Pitching


Christopher Brennan continues The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide series with a look at pitching your project.

I know it’s not nice to hear it. But these days, knowing how to make a film sometimes isn’t enough. With the competition heavier than ever before, more and more filmmakers are quickly learning that in order to get your film into production, you are going to have to master the art of The Pitch.

But I do have good news as well… It’s actually a lot easier than you might think. That’s why I’ve put together a couple of pointers to help you on your next opportunity to get your project off the ground.

The 9 Essentials Of Pitching

  1. Tell a story– When it comes to pitching, a lot of people get tied up on where to start. Not knowing what to lead with or where to go. First thing to remember is that you are a storyteller. So, simply tell a story. Think about when you tell anecdotes to your friends and colleagues. Well, why not take inspiration from that?
  2. But don’t tell the plot – One of the biggest problems filmmakers have when it comes to pitching is to start from the beginning and explain scene by scene what happens in the film. Don’t Do That! This really is the most common way to lose your audience. Your script will take care of those details. Now is the time to sell the concept, idea and heart of your story.
  3. Learn To Summarise – Learn how to synopsise your film.
    What’s the themes?
    What are the characters’ goals?
    What are the characters’ wants and needs?
    Once you know this, then learn how to sum up your film in 3 minutes. Then 2. Then 1.
    Do you have a Log Line?
    Can you summarise everything in a sentence?
    What is the one word that best describes your film?
    Get to know these things. They will help you construct your pitch into some worth listening to.
  4. Know your audience – And I don’t mean the audience of the film. I mean the person you are pitching it to. Whether it’s a formal interview or a networking event, knowing some background on the other person will definitely make the process go much smoother.
    What is their job? What are they interested in? Where have they previously worked?
    There is nothing wrong with doing a bit of a research on the person you’re expecting to impress… In many circumstances, they would’ve checked out your background anyway.
  5. Practice – Don’t think that you can just roll right up to someone and instinctively nail a pitch every time. Pitches that are well conceived and constructed have a better chance of suceeding. So, rehearse with a colleague. Rehearse in front of a mirror. Rehearse wherever you can to make sure that when your 2 minutes are here, you will be prepared.
  6. Eye Contact – Don’t pitch with your face in a notebook, looking down at your shoes or staring out the window. This person deserves to be treated with respect. Looking them straight in the eye is one of the best ways to show it.
  7. Are there any comparable films? – One way to get your point across is to understand the arena that your story is in. What kind of films would you compare yours to? Highlighting some successful films that relate to yours will not only put your project in good company, but will show that your idea is not only good, but bankable as well.
  8. Have A Backup Project – Sometimes the person in the room is simply not going to be interested in your idea. And that’s fair enough. Maybe you’re pitching a comedy, and they are on the look out for a thriller. If you can, try to have a backup project just in case. You wouldn’t believe the number of filmmakers that ended up getting a deal based on their second project. And if it is possible, try to have two separate genres.
  9. Enjoy yourself! – I know this one may be a bit harder to do than the rest. But it honestly is the key. Pitching is all about engaging the other person. How do you expect your potential investor to be entertained or engaged if you’re not enjoying it either? Most likely, if you’ve scouted it right, this person wants to find the right project. It’s your job to prove to them that your idea is the one that fills their remit.

So there it is. Hopefully some of these points may help you when your next moment arrives. But let’s not leave this list at only 9 points. If you have any other advice when it comes to pitching, let us know. Drop a comment down below, or Tweet me @chrisbrennan_1, and let’s get your next project off the ground.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your next pitch.