a) According to critics what are the essential elements of a successful pitch?
There are countless articles on pitching analysis and the best way to hook the board’s attention. Scriptwriting Successfully states that first, you should know about who you’re pitching to, then to make sure you pitch with enthusiasm and use your voice and body language effectively (Wolff & Cox, 1988). The concept behind this is that why should anyone be excited for your film if you aren’t? These tips are last minute pointers, but are helpful for your audience in gauging how committed you are to your film.
However, this kind of advice is rather ‘self-help’ and doesn’t say much about what a successful pitch should include. Writer’s Store says that the biggest mistake someone pitching can make is that ‘they try to tell their whole story’ (Hauge, 2016). They elaborate on the fact that you may only have 5 minutes and might only get through half of your story if you try to tell it all, leaving out any other details that may be more relevant.
More on details, Good in a Room suggests that you should identify key factors such as genres, themes and structural elements to provide the most relevant information (Palmer, 2016). Both of these publications imply that the board or crowd you are pitching to may not be interested in hearing an A to Z encyclopedia of your film idea, and instead would like a blend of the elements mentioned above. In this respect, you can mention the business side of your film and how it can be successful.
b) What pitch in class did you think was most successful and why?
I particularly enjoyed Alfonso Lizana’s pitch for 5tati0n. I’ve had the privilege of working with Alf on projects prior to Studio 1 and understand the sort of filmmaker he is. I like the pitch for a number of reasons however, particularly the the production value of his presentation and how well equipped he was with different reference images and locations.
Production value wise, I liked the eerie music he played and the visual style of his presentation. Both of these accompanied his film and just by watching the presentation, you could see what sort of film 5tati0n is and what kind of director Alf is. While he eventually turned the music off, I still understood the intent. It also helped that Alf was excited for his film and that you understood that Alfonso was going to make this film regardless of whether his film was selected. That kind of ambition gave me confidence in Alf at delivering this film.
He was also well equipped with reference images and locations he had thought of. He referenced different location images of places he would be able to shoot in, and stated that these places were short film friendly. He obviously also took inspirations from different mediums of entertainment through television, film and video games. Another reason I like Alf’s film idea was because it was bolder than anyone else’s, and contrasted against the numerous comedy short films and lighthearted dramas. His idea was reminiscent of high caliber films and television shows such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lost, respectively.
c) Critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your own pitch.
After reviewing different critics’ opinions and analysis of film pitching it is evident where I went wrong. This is not so much to be cynical about my own pitch, but to be honest of my shortcomings. My biggest criticism was that I went for way too long, nearly doubling the intended length of my pitch. All of the sourced references above allude to the fact that you shouldn’t try to tell the whole story, and instead also talk about different business relevancies.
Another criticism I received was that my concept was not practical. In my story I talked about several different moments where a character would experience near-death moments that would require special stunt training or have safety risks. This is obviously just not possible in a short film of this level. These were my major criticisms, which I have taken into account and wholeheartedly agree with.
I don’t think my pitch was total failure though, as I think I did some things well. One of these things was being able to read mostly offhand and not from a script. I think I engaged the audience more than if I had read word for word from something already set up. I believe this may add a level of honesty and normality of general conversation that was not already present. I also think I had a well set out PowerPoint presentation as I didn’t double what I was already saying with similar text, and instead opted for summarised points and different visuals to accompany what I was saying.
Hauge, M. (2016). How to Write a Pitch in 8 Essential Steps. Writersstore.com. Retrieved 11 December 2016, from https://www.writersstore.com/the-8-steps-to-a-powerful-pitch/
Palmer, S. (2016). How To Pitch A Movie – A Movie Pitch Example. Good in a Room. Retrieved 11 December 2016, from https://goodinaroom.com/blog/how-to-develop-a-pitch-for-your-screenplay-a-case-study/
Wolff, J. & Cox, K. (1988). Successful scriptwriting (1st ed.). Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books.