Step-by-step plan preparing a film pitch

A pitch can consist of three complementary parts: a written story (often in the form of a pitch dossier), an oral presentation (often with a maximal length of 5 minutes), and visual material (a teaser to accompany a plan that still has to be developed, a trailer at the moment that the film has already been shot or completed).

1. Determine the purpose of your pitch

In preparing a pitch, it is important to have a clear picture of the purpose of your pitch. Is it intended to convince crew members to work with you? Is it intended for an audience of potential funders? Or has the film already been made and is your pitch aimed at a channel that can broadcast the film?

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2. Know your public

Make sure that you have a clear picture of your public before you start. What are the participants interested in? Adjust your pitch to that and mention the things that are worthwhile or interesting for your public.

3. Write a summary of your story in ten lines

Make a short synopsis of the film. You don’t need to give away the whole story. Keep it exciting and stimulating. It is important to make clear who the main characters are and what the dramatic development is.

4. Write how you are going to tell this story

What is the vision of the story? And what is/will be the form? Mention at least the genre, style and length of the film. Write down what the target group is and how the film provides what that target group wants.

5. Determine what makes your plan or film unique

It is essential to indicate in the pitch what makes your film or plan unique by comparison with other films. It may be the story, the form in which the story is or will be told, the director’s vision, or certain actors who are taking part in the film. Ask yourself: What is the urgency of the project? Why does this film really need to be made? Or if your film is already finished: why must this film be screened for the public?

6. Make the pitch

Now you know the purpose of the pitch and who it is intended for, you can put the pitch together. Think about what form you want or ought to use. Will it be an oral pitch? Do you want to use visual material? Or is a pitch dossier enough?

  • Oral pitch
    Depending on the intended length, you can be brief or go into more detail about what the film plan is, what the vision of it is, and what you want from your audience. You can show visual material to support or complement your story and stimulate the audience. In that case think hard about when to do it: at the start to immediately draw attention, or at the end as a conclusion or climax of the presentation. It is important to think beforehand about what your audience already knows. Do you still have to tell it all, or have they already had information about the project? For instance, have they already read the pitch dossier?
  • Teaser or trailer
    It can be a good idea to make a teaser for film plans in the making. This is a short film that visualises the film plan. It may be anything, as long as it makes the story or style of the film clear. For films that are already finished, it is often wise to show a trailer during a pitch. This gives a good picture of what the film has become.
  • Pitch dossier
    The reference material of a project in the making. Sometimes conditions or requirements are imposed, but at any rate the dossier often includes the following items:
    1. Title
    2. Genre
    3. Length
    4. Target group
    5. Log line (description of the story in one sentence)
    6. Synopsis
    7. Theme
    8. Director’s vision
    9. Background/cv of the main makers of the film

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