How to pitch your script for TV & Film
So you’ve written a script. Congratulations. Now for the real work. It’s a hustle, no doubt about it. But that’s okay, cuz you’re a hustler
Do Your Research
If you’re trying to get funding for a horror film, don’t bring it to someone who deals exclusively with comedy. The same thing goes for taking your short, animated web series to someone who is best known for their award season drama films. Find an appropriate match, and make sure your project reflects their taste of their mandate. Tweak your project to fit in with their roster if you are close but still a little off.
Networking! Yeah… About That.
The entertainment industry is built on connections, so get out there and mingle! This could be in person, sending direct emails, or hitting up the festival circuit. Make sure you bring a business card with all of your necessary contact info. Make sure you are networking with the right people: research which festivals might show a film like yours, or which networks might show something similar to your TV series. If you’re sending an email, be direct and don’t overwhelm them with your pitch. Offer to send your script, rather than bombarding them with it right away. By networking and speaking to the right people, you’ll get even closer to making the perfect pitch: it’s all about context!
By networking and speaking to the right people, you’ll get even closer to making the perfect pitch: it’s all about context!
Humans are simple creatures. We understand what we know. Make it easy by giving easy comparisons, but be reasonable. Even if you think you’ve written the next Apocalypse Now, dial it back to something a little more modest and realistic.
Add Some Credibility
Adding an esteemed name to the project makes it look all the more enticing. Unfortunately that can be difficult, as most
Keep it Short and Sweet
A pitch can be anywhere from five to twenty minutes, but please don’t go over unless you are asked to. You’re meeting with people who likely have hundreds of other meetings, so make yours short, clear and exciting to leave a positive impression.
Get Organized, Stay Organized
Have your materials with you and make them count,. Does the world need another power point presentation followed by cue cards? No. Write a pitch document containing the essential information: a short and clear synopsis, cast, look-book, budget, director, composer, contact info, and so on. Include whatever you think is absolutely necessary to sell you and your story, minus the script. You can give it to them later when you both have more time,
Write a pitch document containing the essential information: a short and clear synopsis, cast, look-book, budget, director, composer, contact info, and so on.
Stay Cool and Don’t Be Boring
If you smell of desperation, you will be rejected. Be cool, calm and confident. They’ve already invited you in for a meeting, so chill out! You’re idea is great, and they’d be silly to pass. Take your time, speak slowly and stay relaxed. Go easy on the bullshit and heavy on the clarity. Avoid tangents or unnecessary explanations as they can distract from the story: above all, the story is what matters, and if you can sell that then you’re more than half way there.
It’s still about Story, Story, Story
By the end of your pitch, everyone in the room should understand your story. The plot, the point, and why it should be made. Let’s take a moment to borrow from modern radio guru Valerie Geller. To Geller, great radio should reflect one of the following: head, heart, pocketbook or transformation. She believes that the root of human connection can be found in one of these qualities. Think of your audience as radio listeners and appeal to their inner search for connection while you deliver your pitch. Not only will it make your pitch stronger, but it will make your story come across in an exciting way.
Connect your social media to your pitch materials to allow the proof to be in the digital pudding. The more engagement you have, the better your sell-ability is going to be.
Get that Social Media Game on Point!
It is your best friend. Post updates of your production on all possible platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, you name it. Consider sharing short clips of your project, or high quality stills. Connect your social media to your pitch materials to allow the proof to be in the digital pudding. The more engagement you have, the better your sell-ability is going to be.
Conclusion – Don’t Give Up!
The likelihood of nailing every pitch you make is next to zero. Ask any working filmmaker you know. In the event of defeat, don’t put your head down. Keep looking up, because even one missed opportunity can lead to several new connections. If at first you don’t succeed, get your sh*t together and try it again!