Film pitch: How to pitch a screenplay?

Film pitch is presenting your screenplay to potential producers verbally. But in recent years, the concept of pitching has become a
phenomenon in script development workshops and film platforms. On these platforms, screenplays are presented to a jury within 5-7 minutes and various awards are distributed to the projects that are liked by the jury.

A film pitch is actually a blend of screenwriter and director statements with the art of speech. Therefore, we recommend that you read our post about the scriptwriter’s statement before continuing with this article: Scriptwriter: How to write a scriptwriter’s statement?

Now, let’s talk about the film pitch in 3 sections; introduction, body, and conclusion.

I. Introduction

In this part, the general advice is beginning with a logline which is a single sentence that summarizes your screenplay. However, in our opinion, telling the story in one sentence is not a method that will attract the attention of the audience. On the contrary, this method has become a stereotypical beginning, since everyone uses the same pattern. Also, why should you try to tell the story in a single sentence when the people will listen to you for at least 5 minutes? In our opinion, what is important at the beginning is to make a personal statement that will attract the attention of the audience. But how?

You’ve heard of TED talks, right? It is a very popular platform that publishes presentations of successful people. Carmine Gallo examined the most successful presentations in his book Talk Like TED. He concluded that the common feature of these presentations is to be personal and emotional. According to this information, starting with a short personal anecdote that is entirely yours and has an impact on you will be the best choice to attract the attention of the audience. Because people are curious about personal stories that they can empathize with. If you do not have such a story, you can talk about an observation that you did. But don’t forget that there should be a link between this anecdote and your main story that you will tell in the second part.

II. Body

In this section, you can establish a connection between your story or your character with the personal anecdote mentioned in the introduction. In addition, you can shortly talk about the story, just like a synopsis. Let’s say, in the introduction part, you talked about the intense feeling you had after an incident. Then, in the body section, you can start telling the main story by stating that your idea is exactly about this emotion. Or you can talk about a person you know in the introduction part and then state that your character is such a person. When you start telling the story, you shouldn’t try to explain the scenes like in a screenplay. In other words, we recommend not using descriptive language. Last but not least, it will always be beneficial to state the end of the story.

You can find the post about how to write a synopsis here: Synopsis examples: How to write a synopsis?

III. Conclusion

After giving brief information about the theme, genre and tone of your story in the conclusion section, you can continue talking about your approach to the subject. So, what does this story from your point of view promise us and what differences will it make? Is your aim to present a new story or tell a familiar story differently? What kind of emotional experience does the story promise? What makes your story unique? Ask yourself questions like this and try to give persuasive and realistic answers.

film pitch
A photo from a film pitch.

That was our advice on the content of the presentation. Now, let’s talk about some topics that you should pay attention to.

Film Pitch

Briefly introduce yourself

Do not forget to introduce yourself when starting to speak. But since time is limited, keep this part very, very short. As we explained before, it is a much more impressive way to get to know you through your personal anecdotes and observations. In addition, if your presentation went well, the evaluators will definitely take a look at your biography. Therefore, instead of talking about your achievements, it would be best to just say your name and what you are doing recently and pass this part quickly.

Interact with the audience

When talking, use expressions that interact with people. For example, you can ask listeners to imagine themselves in a situation related to your story. Then, you might ask a question as ‘What would you do if you were in this situation?’. Of course, by the nature of the presentation, you will not expect an answer from those in front of you, but these statements are very useful to have a connection with the audience.

Prepare well

Film pitch is a really serious job. You have to persuade someone in a limited time. So prepare well for your speech and write a text, but don’t memorize it. Do lots of rehearsals, speech text will remain in your mind.

Do not use notes and images

We recommend that you do not use notes, photos, and videos during the presentation. Because the most successful presentations are the ones that reveal the power of rhetoric. Such materials are both distracting and divide your speech. While using visuals during 15-minute speech can be useful like those in TED, putting images into 5-7 minute conversation can ruin your speech. Despite this handicraft, if you still want to use visuals, the best choice you will make is to use a single image that will be in the background while you speak. However, this image shouldn’t be an ordinary photo found on Google, it should belong to your project and prepared with care.

During film pitch:

  • Use gestures and gestures.
  • Don’t talk at the same pace, lower the pace and increase it.
  • Do not freeze on the stage, take small steps.
  • Do not join your hands and try to keep them above your waist.
  • Speak at chat speed.
  • Occasionally make eye contact with listeners.

Last but not least, on platforms where you will make a film pitch, creativity and the ability to make movies may not always be in the foreground. There are certain trends in these platforms, and projects that address social and contemporary issues and use a politically correct language are somewhat more advantageous. In fact, although it varies according to the world views of the institutions, positive discrimination is made on certain issues on the agenda. So these platforms are not just innocent organizations that try to support art, cinema, and creativity. Just keep in mind.

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Film pitch FAQ

What is film pitch?

Film pitch means that you present your screenplay to potential producers verbally. But in recent years, the concept of pitching has become a phenomenon in script development workshops and film platforms. On these platforms, screenplays are presented to a jury within 5-7 minutes and various awards are distributed to the projects liked by the jury.

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