'The competition that goes on giving' is how Rob McLellan described The Pitch after his winning entry was made into Rahab, a sci-fi short that landed him a Hollywood manager.
And you don’t have to top The Pitch to benefit from it, as shown by previous finalists going on to make feature films, such as Francis Annan’s Escape From Pretoria (produced by The Pitch consultants Footprint Films).
Below is a breakdown of the training, development and awards available through The Pitch. The film industry can be extremely discouraging. We try to be as supportive, candid and helpful as possible – offering an open ear, even if we can’t offer an open wallet.
If you make the top 20 – from whom the judges select the finalists – then you can attend the Shortlisters’ Day, an adaptation masterclass providing insight and skills that will help you well beyond The Pitch.
If your pitch makes the final ten then you will be invited on The Pitch Residential. This is a four-day course in story development and filmmaking, with The Pitch team and story consultants. Hosted at the Low Wood Bay Hotel, Windermere, it is worth hundreds in and of itself, but finalists have most enjoyed the sense of community it delivers.
Taking place at the prestigious National Film and Television School, The Pitch Final will see the top ten entrants pitch in person to a panel of industry experts. The top three entrants are invited back the following day for further discussion before a winning pitch is chosen. There is an evening reception for all finalists, to meet the judges in a less formal setting, plus Q&As throughout the day with film industry faces who offer their advice and experience.
The winning entrant will make their film with The Pitch production team at Reel Issues Films, benefiting from a combination of cash and production support. But that’s not all.
The other finalists who make it to the final day will receive a Pitch Support Award equivalent to £2,000 in training or as a starter fund to make their film with matched funding. This award is tailored to the finalist after discussion with The Pitch team.
We are also pleased to offer The Lucy Scher Award for the most outstanding female finalist, as chosen by the judging panel.
Lucy was an exceptional person, an expert story and script developer, whom we were fortunate enough to have as a judge for The Pitch and to count as a dear friend.
When she died we wanted to honour her memory with an award that further supported an emerging filmmaker, as she did throughout her life.
The Lucy Scher Award offers script development and mentoring consultations with Justine Hart, a screenwriter and story consultant who worked closely with Lucy for many years.
The winner of The Pitch will get to make their short film with a cash budget of £30,000 and further extensive production support.
We want you to have the best possible career boost from this opportunity and to showcase the film – and your talent – to the world.
The process begins with developing the script, either with you as the writer or – if you have another role on the production – in conjunction with you and the writer.
You will be working with Pitch founder Luke Walton and producer Jackie Sheppard of Footprint Films, as well as a story development consultant of their choosing.
Filmmaking is a collaborative process and it is worth noting that winning The Pitch does not mean receiving a blank cheque. We will work with you to ensure the script provides a powerful emotional experience – whether it is laughter or tears, fear or thrills – and serves the richness of the underlying source material.
Once the script is ready we will work with the winner to schedule, cast and crew the production, with the goal of shooting in the summer. The aim is to have the film finished for festival entries at the end of the year and for showcasing at the next Pitch Finals.
The finished film will play at The Pitch Finals the following year and be entered into at least ten film festivals worldwide. The winning filmmaker is also eligible for a career development trip, funded by The Pitch.
Previous finalists have chosen to travel with their film to a useful festival, or to visit Los Angeles and meet with producers and film professionals there. Past filmmakers have met with Stuart Hazeldine, Cassian Elwes, and Ralph Winter and received feedback on their work.
The idea is to take a trip that best suits your needs and development as a filmmaker. Maybe it’s a week in Los Angeles, maybe it’s attending the London Film Festival.
Through this trip, and continued involvement with The Pitch, past winners have gained the opportunity to shadow experienced filmmakers on set, hire managers and agents or have seen their ideas move into development as feature films.
We don’t pretend The Pitch – or any one thing – is the ticket to success in filmmaking. But we want to help you through your journey.