Red Rock Entertainment: How to make your pitch unforgettable

In this article, we’ll take a look at pitching your film from the general entrepreneurial point of view. By definition, a pitch, and to be more precise an elevator pitch, is a quick persuasive speech which is used by the speaker to evolve interest in a project. A pitch is supposed to clearly state your ideas and instil enough curiosity to make the prospect (who is usually an investor) want to hear more. Experts say that a good pitch is supposed to be no longer than the time required to ride an elevator from the ground to the top floor in a building (which equals from 30 seconds to 2 minutes).

Before you learn the techniques that will make your pitch unforgettable, remember that very often your pitching won’t happen in the official setting at the investor’s cabinet. You are most likely to pitch your film idea in the line at a bar or during an informal conversation at some film-related event, such as a film festival. So don’t approach your pitch as a presentation. While the purpose is the same, the means will differ drastically.

No formal introductions

Once you say “Hi, my name is Jane and I’m a filmmaker seeking an investor” you can see the interest fading away from the people’s faces. Yes, you need to introduce yourself and state your name “for the record” but never ever fire your need and reason for talking to someone right away. It’s really boring, predictable, and even repulsive. Your goal is to win your prospective investors over, not discourage them right away.

Keep it simple

The idea of pitching equals a teaser in the film industry. You need to heat curiosity and interest of your interlocutor but not open your cards completely. Don’t go into the details unless you’re asked for. Keep your pitch simple and catchy. Your goal is to strip an idea down to its core and ensure that people around remember it. Focus on communicating one core message of your film.

Get to the point and do it fast

Social events don’t allow much time for interpersonal interactions, so you need to build your pitch the way it gets fast to the very point of your talking. Don’t waste precious time with preambles, but give some details anyway. For example, you can insert a couple of sentences to soak the hearers into the world of your film. Is it post-apocalyptic devastation, romantic Scotland in the summer, or a new world of Pandora? Get a sneak-peak of your story. Such facts help investors differentiate between pitches and eventually recollect your idea from the rest.

Use a figurative map

There is an idea that a message map can help you with delivering complex ideas and putting them simple. While the trick works great for presentations, it might not work for the pitch. So instead of actually drawing a map, Red Rock Entertainment CEO Gary Collins advises to make a figurative map unfold in the minds of your listeners. Of course, first of all, you need to carefully design this plan on the paper so that later on you easily go through it verbally. Such a trick allows building a logical sequence of ideas and facts in the investor’s head which, as a result, makes your pitch stand out from the crowd.

Answer the Little Man

Guy Kawasaki, a marketing guru and a start-up expert, designed a theory about a Little Man. He said that one needs to pretend that there is a little man or a woman sitting on your shoulder. And every time you say something he or she asks the question, “So what?” So whenever you talk about anything that seems to be obvious for you in the pitch, ask yourself a question, “So what?” It is crucial that you explain all your ideas with that question in mind. Don’t expect investors to know everything and everyone in the film industry, they might be first-comers here.

Get some facts ready

Even though the pitch lasts that short, you still need to be able to fit a few factual references into it. You may have a couple of words about your prospective target audience or the fact that you already have some financial support (such a fact will instantly increase trust level toward your project). Besides that, when you finish the pitch and get your interlocutor(s) interested be ready that some questions will follow. And as a rule, these will be questions related to the financial side of your film or the cast involved. So get all your factual info in order and learn it to be able to answer any question about your project.

Don’t rehearse excessively

Without any doubts, your pitch must be rehearsed and scrupulously planned. However, it should never sound this way. When you’re presenting your film idea, it should flow naturally without major stops (they happen when you’re trying to recollect some text) and it cannot sound studied. It’s your project, and no one can know it better. So learn the facts, prepare the plan, and then get relaxed, get passionate, and get real. Over-rehearsing your film elevator pitch can and usually will minimize the chances of making a great first impression.

Film pitch is like a film script it should be rehearsed, carefully planned, but always with a note of improvisation and natural flow. Remember the tips you just learned and get ready to sell your film at a high rate!