Thursday, June 21, 2007

How to pitch your project
Making the right pitch can get your project a green light
By David Basulto

As many, but not that many, may have seen there is a new reality show called “On the Lot”. Let me start off by saying I am not a reality show fan but this one intrigued me as I am a Learn high-end filmmaking technique with Hollywood Camera Work 6 DVD set');" onmouseout="setTimeout('hideLayer()',500);" class="hotlink2">filmmaker as well. My wife and I sat down to watch an interesting episode. It happened to be about the young filmmakers on the show given a storyline to follow and turning that into a pitch, in one day. I have to say it was entertaining to see these mogul wannabees squirm a bit.

Well needless to say the chances of that happening are next to none. If you have the opportunity to pitch something, I can guarantee it will be either something you own, wrote, or optioned. I have pitched and been pitched to more times than I can remember. It’s truly a numbers game. The more times you do it the more successful you are when the rubber meets the road. Here are my six simple rules to go by when you too are confronted with pitching.

Read and Re-Read
One thing you better be damn sure of is knowing the ins and outs of your Click for the lowest price on dmnobieblankScreenPlay');" onmouseout="setTimeout('hideLayer()',500);" class="hotlink2">screenplay. You would be surprised at how many people come in and pitch a project they know little about just because they think you may be interested. While this isn’t the case with writers it can be with quite common with producers. Know the Click for the lowest price on dmnobieblankScreenPlay');" onmouseout="setTimeout('hideLayer()',500);" class="hotlink2">screenplay in and out. You never know what part of the pitch the person who is receiving the pitch may want to know about further. Where does so and so’s storyline go from there?

Test your pitch

Ok so you know your project pretty well. You have stood in front of the mirror wearing your best bath robe pitching to yourself long enough. The time has come. Find some of your most trusted confidants to listen to your pitch. Make sure not to choose “yes” people. You need some old fashion, brutally honest truth. Ask them what they liked and what they didn’t like. Would this be a movie or TV show they would like to see? Did they get the points you were trying to make? If not, go back to the drawing board. No matter how good you may think it is if you can’t infect someone else with your excitement its time to rethink. Test.

Without a good pitch, no movie will be made.

Believe in yourself
You need to ooze self confidence. Almost bordering on arrogance. Say things like “This is the best thing they will hear this year” or “You can’t pass up this project. Cant you see the poster now?” This is so important. I have heard many pitches where the story was borderline but the pitch was so amazing I took a second look at the project after the person left. Even a quarterback on the worst football team thinks he can win the big game on Sunday. You know what? Sometimes he does.

Be animated
I have found that describing my pitches with a bit of body language really helps build excitement. Don’t get too close to the person you’re pitching to however as most people don’t like their space invaded. An occasional arm movement describing how big the mutant zombie is as he attacks the hero is good.

Visual Aids
I have my best pitches when I can bring something visual to aid my pitch. Whether its photos of locations, renderings of monsters, news clippings or anything relevant to my story I live to bring them with me. I call this my heavy artillery. I have really gotten into previsualization. I love programs like Antics and Family Vacation Storyboard
');" onmouseout="setTimeout('hideLayer()',500);" class="hotlink2">Storyboard Pro to bring my stories to life. I usually render out a media file and load it onto my Click for the lowest price on dmnobieblanksony');" onmouseout="setTimeout('hideLayer()',500);" class="hotlink2">Sony SONY PlayStation Portable (PSP) Core
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');" onmouseout="setTimeout('hideLayer()',500);" class="hotlink2">storyboard segment, or in Antic’s case, an animated scene from my movie. I always get “This is cool” even from the coldest of fish. Both Antics and ToonBoom’s Family Vacation Storyboard
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The common mistake
You may be so excited that so and so at Giant Learn high-end filmmaking technique with Hollywood Camera Work 6 DVD set');" onmouseout="setTimeout('hideLayer()',500);" class="hotlink2">Hollywood Studio has called you in to listen to your amazing pitch that you may forget two very important items: your script and synopsis. How could anyone do that? You would be surprised. I am man enough to admit doing a great pitch and having the Executive ask for the script and synopsis only to see me standing there with my thumb up my butt as I forgot to bring both. Make a sticky; in fact make a few. Don’t forget the script and the synopsis. I usually try to bring two of each. A new cool thing I have seen done is having the script and synopsis on a portable mini drive.

Pitching can make even the strong weak kneed. Don’t let it. The worst thing they can say is no. Ok some no’s may be harsher than other but its still just a no. Remember there are many factors involved other than your pitch. The exec may be thinking “great story but the budgets too big” or “wow I can see Harrison Ford playing the Dad role.” The key here is it all starts with a great story. It’s your duty to be able to pitch this great story. So don’t be afraid, be confident. Now get out there and do a great pitch. Maybe the film gods will be with you that day.