NSI Features First – Anatomy of a Pitch

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Our final day of Phase 1 for the NSI Features First program consisted of a full-morning mock pitch session. We were lucky to meet four Producers from some of Canada’s top production companies, who came in for some one-on-one 20-minute pitches.

We welcomed Elise Cousineau from Sienna Films; Sonya Di Rienzo from Whizbang Films; Mark Montefiore from Montefiore Films and Kevin Krikst from Rhombus Media.

So what’s the best way to pitch your film?

Pitching, like all presentations, is about organizing your information and telling a compelling story. As with all storytelling, start with the macro and slowly work your way down to the micro.

The most important tip: Be yourself! You’ll feel a lot more comfortable, they’ll feel more trusting, and the whole thing will go a lot better.

The Pitch’s Flow

1. Introduce yourself, where you’re from and what role you have in this project.

2. Make a human connection. These are human people you’re speaking to, so find something you have in common, ask them about their day, just generally show that you’re not a robot and you’re paying attention in this moment.

3. Provide a brief overview of your filmmaking history. Establish that you know what you’re talking about.

4. Provide a brief overview of what makes you unique as a filmmaker (for us it was Matt’s Social Media expertise and my Marketing background). Establish that you have something more or unique to bring to the table.

5. Provide the title and genre of your project (“We’re here to talk about Synapse, a Sci-Fi Thriller about…”)

6. Give the A-Story logline to your film (one-line sentence, this is what the movie is about)

7. Give the B-Story or supporting logline to your film (another one-liner that supports your A-Story, adds depth to your film and gives another access point for their interest in the story.)

8. Discuss your audience. Who is your film for and what is your plan to attract them?

9. Q&A. The above steps take about 7 minutes, leaving a healthy chunk of time for an in-depth discussion. Some of the Producers asked us more about the story, some about our demographics/marketing, some about production, financing structures etc. This is where you prove that you know your project inside and out.

10. Thank them, exchange cards if appropriate, and establish any next steps as required (do they want to see the script? etc.)

11. Follow up with an email. Thank them for their time. Be a gentleman/woman and don’t sell anymore!

Pitching your film is an essential skill, and one that is easily improved with practice. So don’t be shy, ask a friend to listen to your pitch, and get those wrinkles ironed out.

Hope that helps! If you have any questions or if you have a different pitch flow, let us know in the comments or get in touch on Social Media.

 

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About the Author:

Scott Westby is a Writer, Director and Producer in Calgary's film industry. He's a 2008 graduate of SAIT's Film & VIdeo Production Program, and has years of experience in strategic marketing and content creation for traditional and new media. A Taco/Slurpee enthusiast and a hater of mushrooms.
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Comments

  1. Irene Hamilton  April 1, 2014

    Good morning! My listen and ‘learn’ file now includes –

    ADVICE: Give the A-Story logline to your film (one-line sentence, this is what the movie is about

    ….(I honestly have more trouble with the one-line logline then the entire script!)

    ADVICE: Give the B-Story or supporting logline to your film (another one-liner that supports your A-Story, adds depth to your film and gives another access point for their interest in the story.)

    ….(my project for today and likely tomorrow and the next day, sigh)

    My thanks go out to all of your for feeding my brain.

    The Fly on the Wall.

    reply

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