Pitching

Posted: October 30, 2011 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 14_16, CMP 15_17, CMP 16_18, FdA 11_13
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Pitching is one of those things that is impossible to describe how to do. It is only really measurable by a positive outcome – you sell you idea to the person with the money.

There are basic guidelines, as you will see in the two documents attached to this post. There is advice. But the only way to learn is by experience.

Some people have had amazing success just by talking. Others by dressing up in rabbit costumes. Ridley Scott famously doubled his budget just by having some damn nice storyboards.

The basic thing to remember is you are selling your idea to someone else. So, just like any audience, treat them with respect and never assume.

Be Prepared – you are heading into a meeting, alway know what you want to say. Work through your story – it may not be finished yet, but who cares. Make a synopsis – 1 page of a4, with illustrations, to help you focus on what yo are saying.

KISS – Keep it simple, stupid. If you cannot simplify your idea onto 1 side of an a4 page, it is too complex. Be able to sum your idea up in less than 25 words. Tweet your idea. You can tell a simple story in a complex way, or a complex story in a simple way. In a pitch, you need to be simple and quick.

Time is of the essence – a good pitch should be 3 minutes. If you haven’t sold it in the first 30 seconds, you have lost it.

Have a plan B – always go in with at least 3 ideas. At that point where you have been cut off with a flippant “we are not looking for Sci-Fi at the moment” have your next idea ready – it could be the same idea as the first, but set on a council estate – but have it ready.

Be Flexible – Your idea cannot be set in stone if you want it to be made. (see Charlie Brooker’s Guide to TV). The people you are selling to will always want it to change – show that you can do that, as far as your instinct will let you. The trick is to know what can change while the idea remains your own.

The following is an example of what a proposal and pitch should contain. Remember to have details on the style, the story, similar shows, what it will look like, what it might cost… and why the audience want it.

So, when we sit round the table, we will be pitching to each other. Is the show interesting to us? Does it fit with what we want form the channel? Is it possible in the time we have? Does it work on Bridgy.TV, or will it be a Somerset Film programme? What do we want form our channel, and do we have some shows that will do that?

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