Pitching

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
i think about pitching ideas all the time so i created this forum. I was talking to Jon Fauer, ASC at a trade show some time back and he was saying you dont' want to just have one good idea you are working on you want to have about ten.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0269007/

Anyway, has anyone pitched and idea to a big studio producer? How does one go about this important task?
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
was this topic a bad idea?

was this topic a bad idea?

i was having second thoughts about this topic but i think it is important that we find ways to get our movies made and pitching is an important part, right? is there anybody that has some ideas. I know funding is very important and someone is going to want to hear your idea and your budget...
 

Kandiman

New member
Anyway, has anyone pitched and idea to a big studio producer? How does one go about this important task?

I've pitched to networks a couple of times (I do TV mostly nowadays) and I find that having three ideas is usually sufficient for them to take an interest.

To get yourself on the option block (Can't help you much further than that) the trick is to work a checklist:

  • Appearance: Dress smart. Always attend meetings in a suit. ALWAYS.
  • Ideas: As I said, have around three. But know them inside-out, backwards and forwards and upside down. You'll be surprised what kind of questions you'll get asked: 'Why does that character have that name?' or variations of it have popped up a few times for me.
  • The Delivery: I was once told that if you can't pitch an idea in 25 words it's worthless. Luckily, that's an extremely old rule. The trick is to be confident, articulate and charismatic. If you look and sound like you believe in something, it's easier to make someone else believe.
  • Visual Aids: Bring a script, storyboards, character drawings, costume designs, set designs, video... whatever you can assemble. The more you can provide in advance, the more interest you can garner.
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
the three ideas idea

the three ideas idea

When i was talking with Jon Fauer, ASC
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0269007/

he, said something along the lines of having three ideas. I think he actually said you need to have about ten ideas to pitch. i think he was saying the guys with ten ideas they are working on get the green to do it.
 

Kandiman

New member
When i was talking with Jon Fauer, ASC
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0269007/

he, said something along the lines of having three ideas. I think he actually said you need to have about ten ideas to pitch. i think he was saying the guys with ten ideas they are working on get the green to do it.

While I have every respect for Jon Fauer's knowledge, the problem with his advice is that he's not a writer/director. He's a cinematographer. And I don't know many cinematographers that go to pitch meetings.

I'm say go in with three to five ideas, but have them be fully-developed 'I can get you a script within the hour' ideas. And be fully conversant on them. Know your story, your setting, your characters... your entire universe. And never, EVER pitch on the fly.

If the producer hates the five ideas you came in with, or likes them but doesn't want to take them further, just thank him for his time and leave. Don't EVER panic and go "Well, I have this idea... ummm... it's about a guy... ummm... and a girl and, uh, they meet at a ball game and, uh, well, she's married and he's gay but they end up together and whatever..." because, even if the guy loves it, you're then going to have to pad it out with the details he asks about. Then you need to remember them ALL, go home and write them.

You try remembering a hundred ideas you pulled out of your ass on the fly three hours later when you get home.
 

jodymichelle

Senior Member
Staff member
devil's advocate

devil's advocate

Just to play the devil's advocate -

Pitching is not just about pitching, but about getting a "yes".

What if they don't like the first idea,... or the second idea,... or the third idea,... or the fourth idea,... or the fifth idea,...

Isn't it best to have atleast 10 ideas? What if they cut you off very quickly on all 3 to 5 ideas, and they want more? What if they "ask" for more? Or, after your 5th idea, they say, "give me something else..."

Shouldn't one be prepared if that were to happen?

Having at least 10 ideas not only increases your chances, but makes you look smart and prepared, (maybe smarter and more prepared than others).

Wouldn't you agree?





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Kandiman

New member
Just to play the devil's advocate -

Pitching is not just about pitching, but about getting a "yes".

What if they don't like the first idea,... or the second idea,... or the third idea,... or the fourth idea,... or the fifth idea,...

Isn't it best to have atleast 10 ideas? What if they cut you off very quickly on all 3 to 5 ideas, and they want more? What if they "ask" for more? Or, after your 5th idea, they say, "give me something else..."

Shouldn't one be prepared if that were to happen?

Having at least 10 ideas not only increases your chances, but makes you look smart and prepared, (maybe smarter and more prepared than others).

Wouldn't you agree?





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Thing is, prepare ten by all means. But if the producer hates your first five ideas, what're the chances they want to hear six? Especially if you have no pre-existing pedigree?

I've had the yeses and I've even been told on the fifth pitch 'It's a good job that one was good, I wasn't going to listen to another one.' - Take that for what it's worth.

But like I said, everything I've sold previously is sitting in the optioned file. My current pilot is, I feel, my magnum opus. Ths one isn't ending up in a draw, no matter what it takes.
 
A

Aviya Forest

Guest
Having studied art and illustration, and beginning his film career working as an Art Director, Hitchcock had become a sharp draftsman and visualist, thus allowing him to draw many of his own storyboards to a high degree of refinement.Some might say the boards themselves were works of art. This was the perfect synthesis between the director as storyteller, the script, and the final film.
 

grinner

New member
I don't pitch shows to production companies. I pitch em as a production company. I don't utilize an agent for most of my shows. I literally cold-call networks on my own and, of course, attend all pitch fests I can like NATPE and LATVfestival. I highly recomend buying a seat at the next LATV festival. Consider it a bootcamp for pitchers. You'll attend several seminars that are highly beneficial and you'll get the opportunity to pitch to at least 3 agencies or networks of your choice. In addition, there is a pitch pit bull pen and if you are agressive, you can get much more than 3 pitches in in a day.
 

Kandiman

New member
I don't pitch shows to production companies. I pitch em as a production company. I don't utilize an agent for most of my shows. I literally cold-call networks on my own and, of course, attend all pitch fests I can like NATPE and LATVfestival. I highly recomend buying a seat at the next LATV festival. Consider it a bootcamp for pitchers. You'll attend several seminars that are highly beneficial and you'll get the opportunity to pitch to at least 3 agencies or networks of your choice. In addition, there is a pitch pit bull pen and if you are agressive, you can get much more than 3 pitches in in a day.

While there's nothing wrong, in principle, with cold-calling networks as a producer... I wouldn't recommend doing it unless you can finance a pilot if they ask for one. Of course, that depends on your genre, too. I mean, I can produce a pilot for a documentary for next to nothing, but the show I'm writing and pitching right now... I probably couldn't shoot a pilot for less than $500k... and that'd be a stretch.
 

grinner

New member
Today it's veeery hard to sell an idea. You almost have to come in with a sizzle reel in hand just to be heard. We all have ideas. Thats not what most agencies and networks are looking for today. They want good inexpensive shows. Offer that and you are much better off than folks handing ideas away.
 

Kandiman

New member
Today it's veeery hard to sell an idea. You almost have to come in with a sizzle reel in hand just to be heard. We all have ideas. Thats not what most agencies and networks are looking for today. They want good inexpensive shows. Offer that and you are much better off than folks handing ideas away.

That's the trouble. Everyone wants cheap reality TV, for which I have a single idea - if you can sell it, I'm happy to co-produce. But I write teen drama. And there are only a handful of outlets for that, and getting the right price/style/originality balance is a nightmare. I currently have a half-million dollar an episode (90210 and Gossip Girl run at about 1.2m) show that has all the style and is totally original, just no bites.
 

grinner

New member
Let the buyer worry about the budget. Your job right now is to highlight the pros of the project. They'll always point out the cons. I'd not mention budget in pitching stages. If it comes up, you are veeery close to victory. Be flexible shuold they offer less than you envisioned. You can stick your chest out later on when networks and agencies are coming to you.
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
Pitch fests

Pitch fests

the pitch fest sounds great. did get a deal from them? NATPE and LATVfestival
 

grinner

New member
I've never made a deal on the spot but I have landed deals as direct result of pitching at these festivals. Often, should the person you are pitching to not be a perfect match, they'll refer you to somebody they know who is looking for that exact content. It's not unlike fishin'. The more lines ya keep in the water, the better.
 
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