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An account on how to pitch, with Luke Walton and Pete Sinclair from The Pitch Film Fund by Silvia Riccardi, ScreenTalk Oxfordshire event organiser, edited by Po Yung.  Access the event handout download below.

Despite the Covid19 restrictions, ScreenTalk Oxfordshire delivered an informative free online event on “How to Pitch: Persuade and Connect” on Wednesday 27th May.

How to Pitch – the why

Luke Walton and Pete Sinclair, The Pitch Film Fund, gave the audience a detailed account on how to effectively present a story, describing step by step the whole process of pitching. The Pitch Film Fund was founded in 2009 and since then it has been offering experience, funding and an international network to train and support original ideas.

When writing as well as describing a story the fundamental aspect to concentrate on is its emotional heart. Why do we care about a story that we wrote? And why should the spectator (and the pitching committee) care about it? Pitching is the perfect way to communicate the compelling reasons why that story should be transferred from paper to screen.

Preparation & Practice

In his presentation Luke Walton, Director at The Pitch Film Fund, underlined the importance of preparation before the pitching session. First of all the pitcher needs to “visualise the story”. They must concentrate on a brilliant way to convey that overall feeling that characterises their idea. To do that, an original tagline (few words which introduce the idea and serve as a hook) and a strong logline (basic description of the plot) help set the scene, as well as a few cinematic references. When talking about preparation, Luke stressed that this doesn’t refer just to the material, the story itself. A smart pitcher also collects as much information as possible on the people who will judge their pitch. Who are they and what do they want, so that the pitch can be tailored to its audience.

Once the pitcher completes the preparation stage, it’s time for practice. To give context, it’s good to lead with genre and “show” the characters who inhabit the story. But Luke also focused on what not to do. For instance, he said it’s better not to give positive comments on the idea. If the pitch is good, the idea will sell by itself. And never give up. The pitcher has to ask themselves why the pitching committee didn’t get it. In this way, they can improve for the next pitching session, learning from past mistakes.

Original post published on Silvia’s Talking About Cinema blog. Thanks to Luke Walton and Pete Sinclair for the handout content.