Advice on pitching

Pitching for most of us can be a very daunting proposition. Whether you're a screenwriter talking to a production company or a shingle selling your idea to a TV broadcaster or an advertising client the process is always an interesting experience, not knowing whether the concept will be showered in glowing praise and approval or be rejected out of hand. We wanted to look at some universal rules that can help with the unnerving affair.
 


Be clear and concise with your concept and idea

Relax. If you believe in your idea, your goal is for the client to see your point of view, something that won't happen if you're too nervous and talking at 100mph or emailing your basic concept and not explaining it at all. If you're serious about getting commissioned, make sure you know every miniscule detail of your project, as queries are bound to arise and you must come across as competent and confident.

 

Long emails

Unless asked to do so, avoid long, arduous emails outlining your proposal. If you're emailing someone your goal should be to grab their attention. Most broadcasters simply want a short synopsis explaining your story and companies usually look for a brief idea of what angle you're taking and which demographic your project will target. It will be crushing if you prepare a long, detailed overview and put in the whole script and technical specifications only for them to them to say no, sometimes because it's simply too long!

 

Feedback

Try to find out what the client or broadcaster specifically likes about a pitch whether it gets approved or not. It's always prudent to understand what people find endearing about an idea or perhaps what they would change. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to alter or adjust anything but enhancing your clarity of the concept by seeing it from as many different points of views as possible is always a smart thing to do.

 

Digital

Knowing how your idea can benefit the digital age is becoming more and more vital. You have to be able to communicate how your script or commercial could come across successfully through social media and innovative digital concepts. Whoever you're talking to may have ideas already, but regardless it is always good to show you've thought about the bigger picture with regards to who your work can affect and who will want to see it.   

 

Do your research

If you're pitching to any type of company (or individual) make sure you do your research. Find out who they've worked with before, what they've done and what the generally look for by studying their past projects. Most commissioning departments for major broadcasters will have set guidelines on not only how to approach them but also how to structure your proposal, so do a thorough check beforehand on who you are about to pitch to, thus avoiding any confusion or worse still seeming unprepared.

 

Positivity is key

There are countless stories of individuals who have consistently failed and turned out to become leaders of their chosen craft. Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, George Lucas, Quentin Tarantino, Walt Disney and many more all failed multiple times on their roads to commercial success. It is very important to understand that failure and rejection are a necessary part of growth in this industry. Sometimes an idea may not be commissioned the first time or the tenth time but there are other broadcasters and other clients. Keep getting better each time you pitch and don't lose heart.