Pitching your film can be a scary experience. Especially when you stop to think about how many other filmmakers have projects to pitch.
Here’s the quick guide to standing out in pitch meetings and start making films that open doors.
1: Uplevel your pitch introduction
Make sure you’re unforgettable to the person you’re pitching to. They need to know you. Not just your name and what you look like though.
They need to know who you are as a person, as a filmmaker and as a creative.
So create an introduction for yourself in one short sentence.
Example: hey, I’m [name] and I make films about [character] fighting for [goal/dream]
Then stick to it for every single meeting. Whether it’s a pitch to a major producer or coffee with another filmmaker. Now they’re going to remember you for years to come.
The perks of this? Even if they don’t like your idea, they’ll know exactly who you are.
So if a project arrives at their door but it doesn’t have a writer or director (for example), they’re going to start looking for one. Luckily, you and your one sentence intro has stuck in their mind and they know that this project is just the kind of story you like to tell. Next thing you know, they’re picking up the phone to your agent.
2: It’s NOT all or nothing
When filmmakers think of pitching, it’s usually an all-or-nothing thing. You have one shot to impress them with your incredible idea, and that’s it.
But pitching is a totally different experience.
Because they’re never just buying your idea.
They’re buying the idea, the audience, the potential budget and you (which is why that one sentence intro is so handy).
That’s a lot of pressure for just one meeting, which is why pitching is usually a process of many meetings.
First meeting: an informal getting to know you session. Find out what they’re interested in, what they definitely aren’t interested in and get a sense of them. They’re going to be getting exactly the same from you.
Second meeting: project proposal. This is where you introduce a project, and the focus is less on you. You maybe have a script, or maybe you don’t have anything. You might even have a director and cast attached. But this is fairly informal again. They’re getting a sense of the project and (ideally) starting to warm towards it. They’re likely to give you conditions such as, so-and-so for the lead, or a specific director. The best outcome: the meeting ending with them asking to read the script.
Third meeting: this is crunch time. They’ve read the script. You have your presentation prepared. It’s full of every detail they’re going to need to know, from casting to audience breakdowns. This is where they’ll say yay or nay. But luckily, because you’ve dragged out the whole process there are far fewer variables. They’ve already said yes to you, and said a potential yes to your project.
3: Know your audience
This is when you start talking their language. It’s also the step filmmakers skip most often.
Some filmmakers think it’s not important, whereas others just have no freaking clue to how get started on knowing their audience.
It’s broken down for you in The Film Producer’s Checklist.
Or you can 10x that and speak 1-1 with me, where I’ll figure out your audience for you in 30 mins (for free) here >> charlotteproduces.com/call
Audience breakdowns are a huge thing for a lot of different departments. Producers, distributors, sales agents, investors, production companies, casting agents, directors – they all need to know the audience for the film.
Unfortunately it’s not something you can guess at (it’s the fastest way to make yourself look like an amateur) but it is quite easy to research.
Go through similar films to the ones you’d like to make and analyse the audience. What’s their age, gender and location?
Bonus: Memorise your stats
Another factor these big decision-makers pay attention to is your social score. So have a look at your social media profiles and memorise your audience stats, in the same way you did earlier. Where are they from? How old are they?
It might seem vain or unimportant, but it shows you’re aware of who is already interested in you (and your films) PLUS you’re speaking their language.
This is the best way to separate yourself from other filmmakers because it’s still a super new hack.