Pitching and How To Do It

Day 2 of the IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival and this morning we had the first of our Filmer Forge workshops led by industry professionals. Today’s topic was how to successfully pitch the idea for your film; led by Faisal-Azam Qureshi from the UK.


Qureshi, writer and producer, has plenty of experience with this and gave a very interesting and engaging lecture with top tips on how to approach your pitch, with anecdotes from his life and important do’s and don’ts for succeeding. With only a few audience members having experience with pitching before, but with many budding filmmakers among us, we were eager to hear what he had to say.


Starting off with the basic question – what is pitching? We learnt that when pitching you are not only presenting the idea of your film, but also selling yourself to the client as someone they will be able to work with for a long period of time, therefore it’s important to build rapport with the client as well as just talking to them about your idea. It’s a good idea to do some research on your client before you go in for the pitch, so you’re aware of what kind of projects they’ve worked on in the past.


Your pitch should be short and descriptive but with a hook; summarizing what your film is about but also making your idea stand out! This is what is called “elevator pitch” – something you can explain in 30-60 seconds or 1 or 2 sentences that lets the client know exactly what you’re trying to do with your film.


Another top tip that some people forget when preparing for a pitch is to remember who your audience is, who you might like to work with (in terms of cast and crew) and the genre of the project, in order to give more detail to the client and not have them think you only care about your idea and your idea alone. Similarly, you should always have 2 or 3 other ideas that you’d be ready to present, incase they reject your first one.


To make your pitch more engaging, it can sometimes help to have visual aids such as a mock up of what the movie poster might look like or a ‘sizzle reel’ – this is where you take clips from pre-existing material to create a kind of trailer showing what you want the film to look like or be about – just a different way of presenting your idea to make the client understand your thinking behind it.


In the end, you could even leave an info pack with more details on your film and then always follow up afterwards with a letter or email to keep the conversation going about your ideas. In the end, if it doesn’t workout you’ve got a contact for future projects to come.


Most important: be passionate!! Have passion in yourself and your ideas and you will succeed.


A brilliant talk by Faisal Qureshi today; excited for many more in the upcoming week.