Pitching is a process you’ll come across often in film making, so it’s a valuable skill to learn but you may be unsure what to expect from a pitch. All of our finalists will have to pitch, but even if you are inexperienced in this area, it’s worth getting involved in The Pitch because support is provided along the way.
All short film competitions will vary but for The Pitch, applicants are first asked to enter by uploading a 2 minute pitch video to the website. Then, if shortlisted as a finalist, will be ultimately offered a 20 minutes slot to present their film idea and respond to questions from the judges in Pinewood Studios boardroom.
What to expect at a film pitch
I caught up with Hannah Lee (runner up 2015/16) in January to discuss her short film she told me about her experience. “Pitching in the boardroom was so valuable because you can have the best idea in the world but you have to know how to sell it.” Acknowledging that she was still starting off at the time and had little pitching experience, she said, “Not everybody is a salesperson, but you have to learn how to communicate your idea … and put across your unique selling point.”
I also caught up with some of this year’s finalists at the same time, after they’d finished pitching in the boardroom to get their responses.
“Confidence comes through practice, I think,” said Henry Steedman (finalist 2017/18 and 2016/17) who recommended practicing your pitch whenever and wherever you can.
Joe O’Hare (runner up 2017/18 and finalist 2015/16) also agreed, adding, “The key is always how you are going to react in the moment.” Judges, clients, or prospective investors will always want to question your idea. It’s a way of learning more about it and of testing your own knowledge and thought processes.
For Lewis Jackson, (finalist 2017/18), “The most important thing is that I believe what I’m talking about,” and it’s this passion and drive that can help you to focus in on the ideas you want to convey.
As a finalist in The Pitch, competitors will be offered pitching advice, practice and coaching through both the Residential Weekend and the Finalist’s Weekend. It’s these two weekends that will really test and develop your pitching abilities. Natalie Lacey, (finalist 2017/18) told me, “I had no pitching skills before the competition … so I’ve learned a lot!” If like Natalie, you’ve never pitched before, then the Pitch offers the perfect opportunity to learn an invaluable skill.
This experience, whether it’s learnt as a runner up, finalist, or winner, offers the skills that can turn your film from idea to reality. As Harry Lighton (winner 2016/17) told me when I spoke to him at the same weekend, “You don't have an innate skill to be a film maker, you just do it and you get better at doing it.”
Pitching can be a daunting process but, the benefits will far outweigh the cons, with the experience and development that it can offer to your film idea, and to you as a filmmaker. So, work out your story and structure, consider how and where you will film it, look into what your audience will be looking for and what they might question, and practice. You’ll only get better.
Where to pitch film ideas
Please take a look around the website. There’s plenty of hints and tips on our website and The Pitch team are around to answer any niggling questions too.
By Hannah Franklin