The first time I pitched was a few years ago, and I think, actually I know, I said all the wrong things, even lied, and with guidance from an experienced business associate. Since then, I’ve created a set of rules to live by when pitching. You live and learn as “they say”. I realize there’s no right or wrong way to pitch your project, but if your pitching, you have to look at yourself in the mirror everyday and ask, “what am I offering to the world”. Often, we ask “why am I not getting what we want or deserve?”… Change your state of mind, and the energy will follow.
There are only a few factors in pitching that every creator needs to have locked down in her/her heart and brain. They work coherently together. Without these three factors, there’s very little opportunity to launch your film project.
There are several items that technically belong in the pitch of a project. The story, the genre, the characters, the arc and the hook, the simple identification of the value and any assets like name talent you may have attached. Technically those items need to be part of the pitch and pitch deck. At the center of it all is a verbal communication of all that, but understand you are always pitching to another human being(s). We can all tend to forget that aspect, but keep that in mind and at your heart center.
In order, here are my top three rules:
#1) Be honest
#2) Believe in your movie or project or service
#3) Know your project: story, characters, world inside and out
#4) Understand the market your project will be in
“The Pitch” is then curtailed to the person you are speaking to. Are you pitching to investors? Are you pitching to a market buyer? Are you pitching to other producers? Understand the points that appeal to the individual by doing your homework with research and write out your points. This isn’t a formal format of pitching by any means. I’ve read books, taken workshops and watched many pitch sessions myself. I’m fully aware of the business around pitching. It takes advantage of the fact that we are all fearful of saying the wrong thing. It’s human nature. You will say the wrong thing. The point is, just get past that point and get out there. Practice makes perfect, but perfect is not where you want to be. Perfection will stop you in your tracks. It’s the enemy of accomplishment. Passion is contagious. “Practice your passion” , share it.
Take every opportunity you have to get in front of others to pitch.
A few years back, I had a business associate who helped me to craft a pitch in front of a very large group. Most of my experience was in intimate conversations one on one. I took the advice blindly. I crafted a well organized speech. I practiced as if it was a monologue. When it was my time to answer questions, I found myself stuck on responding and made up those answers. Not a place you want to find yourself. Nevertheless, it felt like a performance. And the highlight was the lesson learned. Always be honest, my number one.
In my own experience as a co-creator and writer of a series, I had pulled together two producers and a director with a pitch alone. Looking back on that time, in my heart I knew having those three individuals on board my project would give credibility and expand the connectivity of the project for it to move in the right direction. It gave it long legs, fast to get into a production stage with seed funding. That part I could envision from the very beginning. In my approach, I clearly remember loving the story while describing it. I could see the growth and future with them on board, and furthermore, I was convinced the journey belonged to us as a team. Those thoughts were embedded in my conversation and pitch. This is my number two, believe in your project. Use your heart and mind together.
It’s a given that you have a complete script, with a character breakdown and a treatment with synopsis of the story. It’s not an idea, but a script written in complete form from start to end. I had someone approach me with an idea just the other day. The time invested to complete a script can be extensive, and when pressure is on to finish, it can be very excruciating to finish or get finished when the pressure is on. The chances of having a successful movie or project, starts with a well crafted script. You have to know the world within the script and the characters that contribute to the story. Strong characters will change the lives of people when they watch and connect to the film. The characters are the heart and soul of the story. This is why it’s vital to know your project inside and out. This will allow you to envision the right partners, creatives, investors, distributors and market audience. It’s crafting the puzzle and how to put it together. My number three and four.
It’s never easy to launch a film project, but create the rules for yourself to pitch by, restructure your purpose and get out there!