Monday, February 21, 2011

The Art of the Pitch - Part 1

Whether you’re a director, producer or writer, at some point, you will need to learn the art of the pitch. No matter if you are a low-budget or independent media or film maker, or whether you work in the studio system, you will need someone to either greenlight your project or fund your film or TV project.

How do you get people to do something you want them to do? That’s the basis of the pitch—explaining your idea or concept in a way that’s intelligent, logical, emotional and workable in the shortest time possible. The trick is to do it in a concise manner. The chances are you’re only going to get one shot and one shot only. As you can see, a pitch session can be very stressful.

You can find all kinds of resources and theories on how to do a successful pitch. There’s no shortage of books or information, which can be found online. And I’m sure most of it is fairly good.

I want to share what’s worked for me over the years. I have been in countless pitch sessions whether it’s to raise money or to pitch a program idea to a network or TV station, it’s all basically the same approach.

I’ve nailed it down to five points that’s helped me. By following this formula, you concentrate on the big picture. If you do that well, the small things will take care of themselves.

Number 1

You must establish your credibility. Are you credible? Are you the person you say you are? I can guarantee you that the first thing on the minds of the people sitting across the table from you in any pitch session isn’t about your project or your idea but about you. Can you pull it off? Can you actually deliver on your project?

How do you establish your credibility? In the media business, it’s often more about your perception than about reality. If you want to be a director or producer, then start acting like one. You have to believe in your mind and your heart that you belong in the room. If you don’t believe it, they won’t.

Establish your credibility by being and acting professional. It’s all about how you carry yourself, your dress and your mannerisms. Remember to shake somebody’s hand firmly and look them straight in the eye. Talk with authority. Trust me. You do the little things, and they will add up and make you credible.

Number 2

Confidence. Are you confident in your talents and abilities? No false confidence. Don’t say you are more than you are and don’t promise something you can’t deliver. Is your confidence from God?

Confidence is like a virus. If you project it, it has a way of infecting people. In any pitch session, the people across the table want to know that you actually believe in your project. If you don’t believe in it, they certainly won’t. Do you have confidence in the outcome? Then make your case.

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