Most of my career has been focused on istening to pitches for new films and books in my role as founder of Michael Wiese Productions. I would guess that I have heard ten thousand pitches. I’ve put together this list of Things You Can Do to Bring Power and Success to Your Pitches.
Rehearse your pitch imaging that you are in the producer’s office. (Try to imagine their actual office with a neat desk, chairs, awards, and posters from the producer’s films on the wall. See yourself healthy and energized, making a great pitch. See the producer laughing, smiling, and listening deeply. Even though you may have never seen the actual office, this imagination exercise will give you confidence.)
Your objective is to create a connection with the person being pitched. It’s not only about the script, but is about working together.
Don’t start pitching before you’ve made a connection. If he or she isn’t present, (like talking on their cell phone) then you are wasting your time. Wait until they are available and ready to listen.
3. Be a mind-reader.
Get into the producer’s head and gain an understanding of how his or her worldview (their likes and dislikes, their interests, etc.) Know in advance where you have common interests.
Your overall objective is to have the producer like the script and take the next steps. Stick to your agenda.
4.Increase the value
Ask the producer ‘how can I increase the perceived value of my project?’ You may garner some good ideas from this but even if you don’t, you will have brought the producer into a creative exchange. (It honors them, acknowledges their wisdom, and gets the ball rolling.)
5. Don’t be intimidated
Don’t be intimidated by the power, fame, or wealth of the producer. In actuality, they need a project they can say ‘yes’ to. Remembering this will keep you focused on maintaining your personal power.
6. Stay in the “now”.
Use body language to energize the space. “Own” the room. Secretly throw out your power to every corner of the room. Control the space.
7. Don’t talk too much.
Do a short one- or two- minute pitch including the title, genre, log line, and any attachments. DO NOT TELL THE WHOLE STORY. Short and pithy is better. When you see that they’ve got it, stop. Wait for them to ask questions. You want to draw them into asking questions. When they do that, that’s an indication of success.
8. Be humble. Be grateful.
Research who you are pitching. Use Google and IMDB. Identify what you like about his or her work. Being truthful, praise their work.
Make sure your project fits the kind of films that they produce.
If you can’t answer a question, write a note and tell them you’ll find out, then do so and call them back.
10. Don’t submit derivative material.
11. Create a ‘leave behind’
Create a ‘leave behind’ (a poster, a book, a CD, tchotchke) that will remind them about your project when you’re gone.
12. Know your project inside and out.
If you are pitching with a partner be sure you are both working off the same page. Contradicting your partner looks amateurish.
13. Dress for success.
Better to be overdressed than underdressed. Being well groomed says to them that you are serious about wanting to make a good impression. It shows that you are already successful.
14. Most of all, have fun.
Listening as I have, to pitch after pitch, I have come to realise that the best way to bring Power and Success to Your Pitches is to exude happiness.
Michael Wiese presents his acclaimed Pitch Cinic at Raindance.