Make It Happen

Film Producing in Wales

Pitch Perfect

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When I was studying for my MA, the Screen Academy ran a pitching competition with three equal first prizes of an all expenses paid trip to the Cannes Film Festival. Entrants were required to pitch a film idea to an industry panel and also explain why they felt they would benefit from the experience of going to Cannes. The second part didn’t seem like it would be too difficult – the first part, though, would be the nerve-wracking bit.

Pitching, like networking, is one of those necessary evils of the creative industries, and as writer or producer, you’ll find yourself pitching ideas to various people a lot of the time. The good news, though, is that you can learn to do it. Here’s a few things I’d consider to be words of wisdom that I’ve had passed on to me.

There’s no Winner and Loser

If you’re in a meeting with someone who is taking the time to listen to your pitch, it’s either win/win or lose/lose. You’re not competing against each other. The person listening to your pitch is most likely going to want to like your project just as much as you do – nobody wants to waste their time. Be confident and enthusiastic and have belief in your project, because they’re going to want to believe in it, too.

Know Your Audience

Who are you pitching to? What do they want from your meeting with them? What sort of projects are they interested in? If you do your research, you hopefully won’t be wasting their time, or yours. Tailoring your pitch for the situation is essential, but be true to your story/project. Pitching something that you think your audience wants (instead of what your project really is) might lead to problems if a relationship develops around the project.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but it definitely makes progress. You’re only going to get better at it if you do it, so pitch your projects whenever you get the chance, as long as you think it’s appropriate.

I’m no expert on pitching. This bloke is, though, and google is your friend.

So what about the competition? Well, I pitched ‘Bangkok Jigsaw’, a thriller about a Welsh lawyer who flies to Thailand to investigate the murder of his backpacker daughter. With hindsight, I’m amazed I didn’t get tongue-tied and call the film ‘Bangkok Chickboy’, which seems to roll off the tongue quite easily. I wasn’t deterred by the fact that I’d made up the plot the night before, and tried to be as confident as I could.

The idea seemed to impress this nice man and this lovely lady, and a few weeks later I was on a plane headed for France with a wallet full of business cards and a brain full of big ideas.

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Written by Matthew Redd

November 14, 2008 at 2:10 pm

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