Filmmakers should learn how to write a pitch. It’s an essential skill.
You might find it scary at first to ask upfront for work or money. But this is the first step to gaining a new client or securing funding your independent film.
Pitching for work requires time, effort, and preparation. This article will look at the pitching process from prep to execution, and provide pitching etiquette advice.
Firstly, there are a lot of options when it comes to getting into the film industry. Such as through job sites, Facebook groups, and film commissions. Another way is to contact potential clients directly and write a film pitch.
You could pitch to a company you want to work for, or to a producer with an upcoming production. If you are looking for film crew work, you might contact the HOD of your department. Either way, this process will be through email and you call this method ‘cold emailing’.
Contacting people you don’t know, and pitching for work is a risky business. If not done correctly, you can come across as rude, arrogant, or begging for work (which is never a good idea).
So, sending cold cover letter emails out is not always the best approach. However, if you are going to learn how to write a pitch for email here are some tips on etiquette.
- Use the client’s name e.g Hi Thomas, Hello Thomas Jones
- Politely introduce yourself and your film job position
- Let them know what you want and how it can help them
- Don’t use flashy language, keep it simple and polite
- Keep your email pitch short and attach a link or resume
Also, check out our free cover letter template to help with the correct format.
Secondly, another reason to learn how to write a pitch is for video concept pitching. You might be working for a company, or individually as a freelancer.
In either case, you could be contacted directly by a client and asked to present a video idea. For example, this video could be for a brand commercial or music video.
To pitch a video concept, you will need to prepare a presentation for your idea. Likely, you won’t be the only person presenting their film pitch. With this in mind, spend time preparing your pitch, especially if it is a worthwhile job.
Also, it’s common for video pitching to involve the creation of a pitch deck.
A pitch deck is a series of documents that help your client visualize your idea. It could involve a written project brief, mood board, and video links.
To showcase your concept, you can upload your presentation online or use PowerPoint. Alternatively, you can now pitch virtually through software like Zoom. If you’re practicing how to write a pitch online here are some video etiquette tips.
- Dress professionally, tidy your background
- Do a run-through of the pitch before your present
- Make your pitch deck virtual through slides and video
- Make eye contact, listen to feedback, and ask questions
- Express thanks, and send them a link to your pitch deck
Lastly, although online pitching is becoming more popular, in-person pitching is still prevalent. This is especially true for large scale projects and fund pitching. When pitching, you could be presenting a video concept or asking for film funding.
Either way, you will need to spend time learning how to write a pitch.
Unlike email pitching and even online pitching, a direct film pitch needs to be more of a performance. You need to keep the audience focused and entertained.
Also, make sure you bring printouts of your brief, a screen to showcase your pitch deck, storyboards or any visual materials.
It’s also expected for the person giving the presentation to stand up. If you are uncomfortable presenting, you can ask a colleague to read out the film pitch for you. Here are a few more quick pitch presentation tips.
- Dress professionally, smile, and make eye contact
- Practice and memorize your opening paragraph
- Bring visuals, print outs of your treatment, and create slides
- Know precisely what you are going in for (e.g. how much funding)
- Thank your clients, and ask questions at the end of the pitch
To sum up, pitching can be scary, but this is an important skill to learn. Be sure to research, make a killer pitch deck, and practice your film pitch in advance.
How are you preparing to pitch your project? Let us know in the comments section below.