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Preparing Your Pitch

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/4/2011

Here are a few things to do before you go in and pitch your film to studio executives or financiers.

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    Pitching your film before possible investors or distributors is really just the act of describing your film project in a way that will appeal to their sensibilities and financial incentive. When you are preparing yourself for your pitch you have to get a few things in order so that the potentially frustrating process will go clearly and in your favor. This ends up being the difference between executing a good pitch well or failing your material and vision.

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    Know Your Items

    You need to know your materials before you ever step into the pitching session. Most pitches are the same, especially when you know what you are doing. Anybody can get together the proper materials and know what things they should be saying, but that does not mean everyone can do it well. You are going to be going in with a number of different items to look at, including the company book, production company information, and cast and crew biographies and resumes. You need to know these items better than anyone else because you have to know how to answer any questions about them and know exactly what they will be looking at.

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    Know Your Film

    You can try to answer all of their questions before they answer them, but this may not help you with spontaneity and persuasion. It is best to already know everything about your film so that no matter how they phrase any question you will be able to answer it clearly and within the context of your goals. What this means is you have to look at your potential project from every angle and see any problems that could occur and anything about the film that someone may want to know. If you do not know the answer to any of these questions then you need to investigate it and make a decision. This does not mean you have to know everything about the future creative process or production, but you need to be able to answer everyone in a way that will satisfy them. Go through and figure out four different reasons why this film will be successful in gaining an audience, changing the culture, and being financially responsible as an investment. Make sure you are able to explain what is important about this particular film, what themes it will focus on, and why you are specifically the one to make it and not someone else. Tell them why it needs to be made now and who will want to spend their time and money to see it.

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    Visual Sensibility

    Begin to construct some of the visuals for your film, whether in your head or on a physical medium. If you can explain yourself very clearly then you may just want to rely on your exposition, but if you artists that you trust and can communicate well with then bring in some sketches of items and sets for your film. Both of these things will show that you have a clear vision and that you have to ability to communicate that vision to other creative professionals working on the production. You should think about five to ten specific things that you want to do in production that someone else may not be doing. This shows that you have a particular point of view on the material and are already making choices about how to approach it.

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    The Dress Up

    Make yourself look professional, but do not work too hard. Business casual is the general rule but you really should feel out the company ahead of time. If you are bringing visual or business material you need to make sure that these are as professionally constructed as possible otherwise you will appear as an amateur trying to compensate for their shortcomings.

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    Do several run throughs of the original pitch speech, but do not do it exactly the same each time. You are not there to show them that you can recite a memorized script. The best thing you can do is bring a certain amount of spontaneous energy while describing the details of the film, the visual sensibility, and hitting all the key points that describe how you are going to put together the project in a clear and successful way.