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The Perfect Pitch Package (Six Tips to Nail a Pitch - Part 2)

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

In our last post, Six Tips to Nail a Pitch we followed our own advice and left you dangling at tip five "Hold A Little Back."

Today's post follows up with the final piece of the puzzle:

The Perfect Pitch Package

After the verbal pitch and discussion, you'll likely (hopefully! luckily!) be asked for your one-sheet and pitch package. Some will bring the whole package with them. Some will only have a one-sheet.

Ideally, you bring the one-sheet with you and have a pitch package ready to email, courier, drop-off or pigeon post as a follow-up. This way, you leave them wanting more and have a chance to make a second impression!

So what does all this look like?

The One Sheet

The one sheet is one sheet of two-sided paper. On the "top" your movie poster - a visual image designed for maximum impact. If a picture tells a thousand words, this is your chance to double or triple the word length of your pitch.

The "poster" will typically also show a Heading, which includes the film's title, the author's name(s), the genre, and possibly the show's length. It may also show a tagline, which is not to be confused with the logline.

There is, of course, some flexibility. This example from a fourth-year film student shows the image, the title, the author's name, and the genre is pretty clear from the title and image:

On the opposite side of the one sheet is where you'll include your Logline and Synopsis

The Logline is the most important part of your pitch. In just one or two sentences, preferably one, you'll capture your film's entire concept. The logline should show who the main character is, what the story is about, and what conflict will arise and how it might be resolved. This is your entire hook and the only chance you have to make the pitch audience turn the page.

 The logline will likely take you longer to create than the rest of the pitch package combined.

You can read numerous examples of succesful loglines online. And you should. One of the more famous ones is that for the film Back to the Future:
"A young man is transported to the past where he must reunite his parents before he and his future are no more."

The Synopsis is a one paragraph overview of your story. Use your logline to outline the paragraph and expand upon the details. In the above example for Back to the Future, the synopsis might read:
Marty McFly, a typical 1980's American teen, finds himself speeding to the past in a plutonium covered DeLorean when he tries to escape the Libyan Nationalists who've killed his friend, Doc Brown. As if being stuck in the past weren't bad enough, Marty's hijinks attract the attention of his mother, distracting her from meeting his father, meaning he may never be born. Can Marty save the day, his skin, and get back to the future by making his parents fall in love, finding Doc Brown in 1955, and creating a way to get home to the 1980s?

The Rest of the Pitch Package

After the initial title page, you pitch package should be anywhere from 5-8 pages long. Use the colors and imagery from your poster to create a visual theme for the whole package. This shouldn't look like a binder of your drawings and scratchings, but be a real, glossy printed, mini-magazine.

You'll want to include Character Breakdowns, summarizing each of your central characters in two to four sentences. Keep it short and snappy, giving a sense of who they are, not every detail of their existance. Focus on traits, flaws, and challenges.

If you've envisioned a particular actor playing this role, feel free to present that information visually. Casting Suggestions should include two or three characters for each role, including an indie or local counterpart to any Hollywood actors. Impress your audience by knowing the actor's agents.

Casting Suggestions usually entail giving "hope to work with" information. But your production may already have a Writer, Director, Producer, Director of Photography, or bankable cast. If so, this Above The Line information should be provided. Include a short biography of each member of the creative team and use their skills to sell your project.

Finally, the pitch package should include a Director's Vision. Or, if no director is yet attached, a Vision. The vision shows your audience that you're invested in making this film come to life. It should provide a description of the visual representation of the film. Topics may include: Themes, Visual Design, Art, Camera Style, Music/Sound Treatment, and more.

These are the basic elements of a pitch package. It's possible to include more, but inadvisable to include less. In the end, the purpose is to sell your film to investors and/or producers and the pitch package is your chance to show that your project is serious and saleable.

 Have your own tips for or questions on producing a pitch package? Leave us a comment!

Many thanks to Brad Gover and the Nickel Independent Film Festival for providing the Pitching 101 workshop that inspired this blog series.

Six Tips to Nail a Pitch

Monday, 29 June 2015

Here in Celtx's hometown, the Nickel Independent Film Festival is a screenwriter and filmmaker's utopia: a showcase festival, awards ceremonies, and workshops all designed around the #proudlyindependent local film community. 

Photo Courtesy Nickel Independent Film Festival, 2015

I was fortunate enough to attend one of their workshops last week and live tweeted the affair for our Twitter followers (search #pitch101 to read the tweets!). This is a list of the things I learned at Brad Gover's Perfecting your Pitch workshop:

DJI Short Script Competition Promises Great Prizes- Including Five DJI-Ronin Ms!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

DJI, the global leader in developing and manufacturing innovative camera technology dedicated to improving aerial photography and video for creators and innovators around the world, has developed a new lightweight handheld camera stabilizer. The Ronin-M can carry camera set ups up to 8 lbs (3.6 kgs)

An example of the power of the Ronin-M was demonstrated by DJI’s ‘Lifted’ short film. Starring Joel Edgerton and shot on the DJI Ronin-M in less than 7 hours, this short film focuses on the most important connections we make in life and the lasting power of creativity.

The Ronin-M is a new, lightweight camera stabilization gimbal built for filmmakers at every level. With a compact frame and unmatched flexibility, filmmakers everywhere can capture shots that would never before have been possible.

To celebrate the release and encourage the creativity and innovation they've built their company around, DJI has announced a short script competition. They've put out a call for writers to submit a five-minute screenplay, centered around the theme of “Innovation,” by July 4, 2015.

Following the competition,DJI will pick five of the best screenplays to produce and screen at an event in Los Angeles on August 13. 

The top 5 screenplays will also receive several awards, ranging from the Ronin-M for the 4th Runner-Up to a selection of professional filmmaking equipment for the Grand Prize: DJI Ronin-M, DJI Inspire 1, Sony Alpha a7s and Paralinx Triton.

What are you waiting for? 

To learn more about or enter the contest: click here
To follow DJI: Facebook

Making Movies and Moving Statistics: Women in the Film Industry

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Focus on: Lady Filmmakers Foundation

Back in 2009, Patricia DiSalvo Viayra released her first short film and learned some statistics about the film industry in the process. Patricia had spent some time hosting, writing, directing and producing local tv and commercials, but Naked Sushi was her first short film.

While Patricia has a varied background in entertainment and film, no one creates a film of any length alone. It was while she was interviewing cinematographers to join her production team that Patricia came to a realisation: "98%, probably 99% of the applications were from men. I ended up interviewing four men and one woman."

Announcing: Insta-search and Media Libraries! (And Aaron Paul)

Friday, 5 June 2015

Yesterday, celtx version 2.78 was released.

We're calling this one Ross's New Best Friend, for no other reason than we want you all to see this:
Ross meets Aaron Paul - celtx staff die of jealousy

And speaking of cool pics - like the one above that no one at the office is jealous about - check out our new image library feature in celtx productions! This is one amazing piece of work by the developers.