We want you to bring us your pitching ‘A’ game. You can find a bunch of helpful material in The Resources section. Or a bit of a steer on what we're after below.
Every year questions come flooding in about The Pitch Film Fund. Here’s a place to get a sense of what you should submit. Below, Luke and Pete from The Pitch team talk ALL ABOUT what we’re looking for.
The Pitch Film Fund currently has £40,000 to spend making two films – most likely at £20,000 each (though we retain the right to use our discretion if there’s an amazing idea that can be made for £100).
This may seem like a lot of money. And, OK, it is. It’s rare for short films to be funded in this way. But we also insist on crew and cast being paid – which can also be rare.
We don’t want there to be any barrier to entering The Pitch – you don’t have to have made a film before, or understand film production in detail. We do want to give you a rough idea of what the money can cover, though, so that you can try to tailor your story appropriately.
So, here is what the production funding is there to do:
£20K won’t do everything. If you require one expensive element then you need to consider what you can sacrifice (without it being the wellbeing of cast or crew!). The challenge is to make your adaptation ambitious but achievable.
Here are some pointers for you as you consider creativity and cost in tandem:
Shooting/Filming days: This budget won’t stretch beyond three days except in exceptional circumstances. That is with a crew of around 20 people. You can have a smaller crew, but you may shoot more slowly if you do.
Running time: Think about how to tell your story in 10–12 minutes.
Script length: If you are someone who likes to write before you pitch (though you don’t have to) then consider that one page usually equates to at least one minute of film.
Camera, lighting and grips (aka equipment hire): Not the biggest expense (that’s people) but it can cost around £5,000.
Cast: Keep in mind when deciding how many characters you create that it costs at least £250 per day per speaking part (pay, travel, food, accommodation …).
Extras: Remember, even if they’re your mates, they’re not free. Just feeding everyone comes at a price.
Licence for that Beatles track: It’s not happening.
Locations: Set the story in as few locations as possible. Every location move during a filming day will cost you time, and you only started with three days!
Environment: Actually, it doesn’t cost the earth to do our part to be carbon neutral. You may find that our environmental policy will save money. More importantly, we might just help save the planet.
So, it adds up. But you don’t have to do all the maths yourself! We are here to help with that. It’s just that considering this stuff a bit up front will help you a lot later.
But this section is called ‘opportunities and challenges’ (not just challenges!), so be assured this overview is about informing rather than limiting, and encouraging creativity and originality not stifling them.
Often the most surprising and fresh films come out of deciding what your limits are. Simplicity and clarity are key – and knowing you can’t throw money at a story can really help you achieve them. You need to drill down to the essential elements of your story – finding the pearl in the oyster.
Now you may be thinking of how to pull off a heist and get extra funds for your film. But finding extra cash, even legally, is not something we are encouraging. It would create an uneven playing field, as some people can access cash – due to background or status – where others cannot. If you know of a backer who may want to help fund The Pitch overall, then please do get in touch! But it can’t be simply for one production.
Please remember, as you read all of this, that you are not alone. The producers at Reel Issues Films – and the organisers of The Pitch – are here to work alongside you. We have a great deal of experience in making short films and will help you every step of the way.
If you’ve any questions about the above, then please email us and we’ll do our best to answer. We’re looking forward to your pitch.