Pitching is the single most important skill you need to ensure success in the Film Industry. OK so you have the meeting scheduled. Read on to find the difference between a sale and a “No!”
Get to know everything you can about the person you are meeting. Who is she? How long has she been at the company? What is her track record? What has she produced? Who has she worked with before?
Do you know anyone connected with her? Do you know anyone who might know someone who may know about her?
All this information will prepare you as you enter the meeting.
Bottom line - Know your story backwards. Know a one line pitch, a paragraph pitch and the free form pitch. Take three stories only into the room (On rare occasions have number 4 on stand by)
The One line - “It’s Dallas set in Ireland with Horses instead of oil”
I used this one liner. It worked. It got me a deal. It's crisp, clean and precise. (Pedigree - Series Idea sold to David Collins. Independent Producer - Samson Films (I went Down, The Ambassador - BBC TV)
If there is interest move to...
The Paragraph Pitch - “My story is about the MCANN’S, a horse racing family who own a stables in County Kildare, a family business set up by MCANN'S grandfather. The turf is deep in their blood. Prior to the story beginning, the immensely wealthy RIORDAN family, a multi billion pound business empire, decide to branch into racing. JOE RIORDAN is PAT MCANN'S half brother, same mother, different fathers. Total opposites, the families are locked in bitter rivalry.” ( I think you can see the potential inherent here, or at least I hope you can :-)
If interest is not shown go to story TWO one liner. Then Paragraph Pitch that one.
When you get the go ahead. power up into:-
The Freeform Pitch -
This is where you fly, you talk about the characters, their relationships, their hopes dreams and aspirations, you need to know what happens when and to whom - everything - To my mind this is the area where you make the sale, or close the deal or get the commission or the request for more information about the project - this is where you must be cooking with gas, you must inject so much enthusiasm and energy into what you say and do - you must burn your story behind the eyes of the person sitting in front of you. Remember - You pitch yourSELF. So set yourself on fire!
The goal - Get the sale - Close the deal. (Or get as near as you can to a close)
So what is a pitch like. It’s simple. It’s something you already know a lot about. It’s like a Movie in three acts.
ACT ONE - The schmooze and dance of avoidance
You enter and comment on the room. You’re both nervous (Yes really :-)) You chat about what they have been doing. You chat about what you have been doing?
Relax as much as you can, more about this later, it’s very important. You send out enormous amount of information about yourself as soon as you enter a room. Make sure what you are sending out is positive, relaxed, and confident. (Only 7% of communication is verbal! - Be immensely aware of the other 93%! )
Then it comes - The Producer smiles at you and she says, “So, what have you got that we might be interested in?”
ACT TWO - The Pitch Proper
You hit your pitches. Have your three stories ready. You pitch the first - nothing - Panic - You hit the second - No good either - seen it before - you feel the sweat on the palm of the hands - you’re throat is dry. Iced cool water is everywhere and you are not being offered any -you hit number three. Yes! She likes that - you’re on fire - you’ve worked at it and you’re proud, amazed at how good it sounds, glad to be alive and happy as a sandboy!
ACT THREE - The Death Knell Or Glory
Rarely do you hear, No.
What you often hear is, “Thank you so much for coming it was really good to meet up, please let me know if you have anything else you might care to send to us here at *&%** Films”
Sometimes, and only sometimes you will hear the magic words, “Do you have a treatment or a script - Have your agent send me a copy - Here’s my card”
Warning - If anyone says - “How much do you want to develop this idea, write this idea, for this screenplay?”
Never say a Figure. Say ‘My agent will be in touch”
Say this even if you do NOT have an agent. Because if you do get the deal, you WILL soon get an agent :-) This happened to me, when I was initially represented by Bethan Evans at The Agency , London. She closed the deal)
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