Saturday, June 29, 2013

So You Want to Make a Movie - The Pitch

You’ve caught the bug, and you’ve decided to make a movie. But where do you start? The good news is today there are fewer barriers to overcome in order to produce a film. Thanks to digital filmmaking, the costs have dropped dramatically. In reality, practically anybody can become a filmmaker.

No one article can answer all of your questions or take you through the entire process; however, I want to offer you 20 key steps that will at least steer you in the right direction. Think of these steps as the big picture or the 30,000 foot view.

Step 7. The Pitch

Now that you have potential investors, how do you get them to sign on the dotted line? It all starts with a solid business and marketing plan. Your marketing materials should include a detailed analysis of the current independent movie market, how your film will be successful within that market, and a bio on yourself as well as your team members. You need to think this out. Who is your audience? What is the demographic group you are you aiming for? Can you compare similar successful films to your project? When investing in a movie, there are no guarantees; however, the goal is to give your film a reasonable shot to turn a profit.

There are two questions your investors will undoubtedly ask. Are there any well-known actors in your film, and do you have a distributer. First, getting a well-known actor attached to your project is unlikely because at this point you can’t afford one. You’re not making a big blockbuster so your budget is going to be well below a million dollars. In fact, if your budget is over a quarter of a million dollars, you’re not dealing with reality.

Can you convince your investors that you can attract a well-known actor to your project? It’s quite possible to obtain a “letter of intent” from an actor who has the kind of credits that would impress your potential investors. A “letter of intent” is not a contract. There are no commitments from either party. It merely states that your actor is interested in being in your movie. And, if you think about it, isn’t every actor interested in every part as long as he or she gets paid? Getting a “letter of intent” is not as hard to get as you might think. Find out who represents the actors you are interested in. Send him/her a script and a potential offer. It’s a bit of a fishing trip, but you never know who you might catch. Don’t aim for A-list actors. Put your sights on solid B-list actors, who are on their up or slightly past their prime.

How do you handle the issue of distribution? There’s an old saying within the film industry that applies to your situation. First you make the movie and then you make the deal. It’s never going to work the other way. But there is a way to show your investors that there are some distributors who have an interest in your film. The reality is every distributor will be interested in your movie if they can make money.

Start contacting distributors who work with films that are similar to the type of movie you are producing. Call the acquisition person and see if he/she will read your script. Ask for their input or advice. If you get some interest, they may actually write some script notes for you. There’s nothing in writing or a deal at this point, but by getting a distributor interested and involved in the development process, they get an opportunity to help shape a film that they feel could be potentially successful. Of course, you have to decide how much of their input you will include in your movie. It’s a fine line that you have to walk to keep them interested while maintaining control.

Your potential investors will undoubtedly love a little Hollywood hype and the royal treatment.So give it to them. Hire a movie theater and put together an event to showcase your project. Almost all theaters are available for rental in the mornings. Serve breakfast. Make sure all of your key members are there to do a meet and greet. Have some actors read a few scenes from your movie. Show some of the demo reels from your director and your cinematographer. As I said, everybody loves a little bit of Hollywood, especially in a town that seldom sees any film production.

Now you’ve set the table, and you can pitch your movie. The thing your investors want to know is can you pull this off. You have to convince them that you are an expert in the movie business. At the least, you need to know more than they do.

No comments:

Post a Comment